Trust was a big part of the story behind AT&T's deal with Apple. The country's biggest phone company was a sclerotic mess of assets. Its shrinking landline business produced the majority of revenue. Its play on the future was a glitchy, hodgepodge cellular network cobbled from deals past. It couldn't pass up, as Verizon reportedly did, the chance to usher in the smartphone era with the man who had reinvented the computer and the music industry.

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