New Apple patent filings show the company's secret plan to launch iPhone should its deal with AT&T fall through and new technology for conference calls.

The patent application is generating huge interest. It confirms pre-iPhone speculation which claimed Apple to be considering launching itself as a virtual mobile network (MVNO), purchasing air time from mobile operators in order to put iPhone on its own network.

The company even patented a technology which would have meant whenever a user made a call with their iPhone their call would automatically be routed through the cheapest available operator. Naturally, Apple didn't choose to pursue this route subsequent to reaching its deal with AT&T.

The second patent - revealed by AppleInsider in a report last night - explains a method by which participants in a conference call can be put into virtual positions around a virtual room in order to improve the clarity of the call.

"When a conference call is initiated, participants would be presented with a graphical user interface on the iPhone for use in managing the virtual locations for the plurality of participants," AppleInsider explains.