AT&T CEO lets it slip: 3G iPhone is on its way

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that Apple is working on a 3G model of its iPhone set to debut next year.

Apple has a habit of trying to keep things under wraps. However, with that company partnering with others more often these days, and with those others apparently having less stringent policies on talking about future products, the curtains may be coming up prematurely on some of Apple's plans.

Case in point: At a dinner for the Churchill Club in California, where he was apparently seated next to reporters from Forbes and Dow Jones, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that Apple was working on a 3G model of its phone set to debut next year.

Stephenson did not provide further details, other than to say it would come "next year."

But this is the first confirmation that development of a 3G-capable model outside of rumors from Apple enthusiast sites. The CEO also called Apple a "critical" partner, and said that the iPhone may be the first of a new business model for cell phones in the future that are sold for a profit right away instead of heavily subsidized by the carriers themselves.

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