Apple may be hard at work creating the one phone to rule them all (around the world), if this latest patent application is any indication. The filing, first submitted in April of last year, describes a software-based method of determining carrier rankings, allowing owners to browse through a database of network-specific features, such as voice and data, to determine their best fit and sign-up for service. Ideally, this future iPhone set-up would come courtesy of a truly global phone, packing all the necessary radios and software to surf along the globe's wireless frequencies sans extra SIM cards. Rumors of an open handset have been circling Cupertino for a bit, much to the dismay of operators who fear the move would diminish their function as the industry's gatekeeper, shifting power to consumers. Certainly, Jobs and co. have a high hurdle to overcome if this purported world phone is to ever become a reality. In the meantime, why not just snag an unlocked device?

[Thanks, Neil]