updated 09:20 am EDT, Wed October 17, 2007
Analysis firm Pipper Jaffray believes that Apple will be missing a marginal amount of revenue from the sale of unlocked iPhones when it reports quarterly results for its fourth (September) quarter on October 22nd. A Piper Jaffray report estimates that Apple sold 1.05 million iPhones in the September quarter (for a total to date of 1.32m including June), and further speculates that Apple receives $3/month for every AT&T subscriber that buys an iPhone, and $11/month for every non-AT&T subscriber who purchases an iPhone (with AT&T service) over the life of the 24 month contract. Hence the firm estimates that Apple will report AT&T revenue share of $10.6 million for the September and June quarters combined.
The firm also believes that somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent of the iPhones sold in the September quarter were sold to be unlocked and used with wireless carriers other than AT&T. They go on to postulate that if 5 percent of iPhones sold in September 2007 were unlocked (53,000 in total) the total revenue would be reduced by $330,000. "Ultimately," said the report "it is clear that the iPhone unlocking does not have a meaningful financial impact, but it has the potential to cut significantly into the revenue sharing income if iPhone unlocking becomes rampant. That said, we believe Apple is working to disable unlocked phones so that the problem does not become widespread."
Users can now unlock iPhones running the latest v1.1.1 firmware, despite warnings from Apple that its v1.1.1 update would likely damage (i.e., "brick") phones that were unlocked to run on non-AT&T networks. Following the public release of the first "jail-break" hack for iPhone v1.1.1, iPhoneSimFree has released an updated version of its unlock software for v1.1.1 users that not only works with the v1.1.1 firmware but also can restore "bricked" iPhones, according to the team.