Apple’s Control Over Sprint’s iPhone 4S Launch Revealed

After months of rumors, Apple finally confirmed last week that Sprint was going to be offering its latest handset. This Friday marks the first time that the carrier will have partnered with the Cupertino company on a major product launch.

Working with Apple generally means working for Apple, and it looks like Sprint is going to find that out this week. BGR has revealed some details surrounding Apple’s rules for the carrier’s first ever iPhone launch, and they’re pretty intense…

“Apple, or an independent contractor, not Sprint, will be coming to all corporate retail locations to set up the iPhone 4S displays in the next few days, most likely Thursday. We’re told that Apple and the company’s team gets to choose where the iPhone 4S displays will go in each store, not Sprint.

After the displays are installed, it seems that the stores will close for the rest of the day to give the locations time to prepare for Friday’s launch. We are told iPhone 4S devices will be shipped overnight to retail store locations on Wednesday, and all employees are under strict orders to not open any of the iPhone boxes or related materials. In fact, Sprint has communicated to employees that Apple’s team will be there on Thursday, and if any boxes are tampered with or opened, employees “will be fired immediately and walked out of the store.”

The details aren’t surprising. Apple is more hands-on with carriers than any other handset maker in the business. Typically, a phone manufacturer will send a representative out to retail stores about once per quarter, if that.

In fact, it’s surprising that BGR says that iPhone 4S packages will start arriving at Sprint stores on Wednesday. For the Verizon iPhone 4, retail locations didn’t receive drop shipments of the device until launch day, an hour before opening.

I guess these are the perks that come with making one of the most sought-after smartphones in the world. You get to call the shots. Why do you think iPhones don’t ship with tons of non-removable, carrier-specific apps like Android phones do?