Mix: MVNO, IPhone social networking, In-Stat

A recently-published Apple patent application suggests that the company has done extensive research into becoming a mobile virtual network operator, allowing iPhone users to deal exclusively with Apple for mobile services and billing. The patent, called “Dynamic Carrier selection” and filed on Oct. 10 2006, covers a system that would allow the iPhone to use whichever carrier’s service was available in the current location, automatically switching to networks offering cheaper bulk rates to Apple.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has posted an article detailing an iPhone-based social networking application being developed by a currently-unnamed startup. The native application would allow for proximity-based profile browsing and networking, letting iPhone users see other iPhone owners nearby, as well as their profiles, possibly facilitating face-to-face interaction. The developers also claim to have found a work-around for the fact that third-party iPhone applications can’t run in the background.

Arrington says to look for a launch “when the iPhone app store opens this summer.” [via MDN]

According to new research from In-Stat, the group expects digital music sales to account for 40 percent of all music purchased worldwide by 2012. The research shows that digital music sales represented 10 percent of the total worldwide music market in 2007, up from six percent in 2006.