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Apple: 250k iPhones sold to unlockers

updated 08:30 pm EDT, Mon October 22, 2007

250k iPhones for unlockers

Apple estimates that 250,000 iPhones were sold to people who had the intention of unlocking the mobile handsets so that they could be used with wireless providers other than AT&T, with which the iPhone is locked into a multi-year exclusive contract. The estimate came from Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook during Apple' fourth quarter earnings conference call, where the firm also revealed that it had sold about 1.4 million iPhones to date. On October 17th, hackers posted a working iPhone unlock for Apple's latest revision -- iPhone Update 1.1.1.

The talented individuals have created a means of once again removing the iPhone's dependence upon Apple's exclusive cellular carrier, AT&T, by enabling the device to work with any SIM card -- the small storage medium that retains all the data of a particular wireless subscriber. The latest unlocking method comes after slew of curious iPhone owners set out to obtain read and write file access to the devices, while some reached a further goal of unlocking the handset for use with non-AT&T cellular service.

In late September, Apple issued a warning to iPhone owners about unlocking their phones and then released an update that removed filesystem access and disabled most hacked devices, effectively 'bricking' affected iPhones or rendering them useless.

by MacNN Staff





  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Correcting Inaccuracies..

    It may well be worth noting that the commercial unlock method, from iPhoneSIMMfree, worked well, and did not affect iPhones ulocked with it -- as the free unlock by a bunch of rushed and self-important hackers was the cause behind tons of iPhones getting bricked (and *not* Apple's firmware update, per se).

    As it turns out, iPhoneSIMfree was also the first solution to again work on the 1.1.1 iPhone update, and also the first solution to actually reverse the bricking of iPhones rendered inoperable by the 'free' hacked unlock. Once a jailbreak existed for 1.1.1, iPhoneSimFree quikly released instructions and an updated version to allow 1.1.1 iPhones to be unlcoked.

    As far as I am concerned, $60 well-spent, and well worth it, especially considering that most kids clamoring for a 'free' unlock seem to have no problem spending $400 on the phone, and a ton more money on accessories. Keeping things in perspective, particularly if you depend on a functioning phone, the measy $60 they charge is well worth the lack of aggravation, if not the added benefit of working with a professional outfit.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Whoopie frakin' Doo

    So you spent $60 for your unlock. yay....

    You seem to be proud of that, There are hundreds of thousands who spent nothing and they are enjoying their iPhones just as much if not more.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How many more...

    ...iPhones would Apple sell to those who couldn't or wouldn't pay for AT+T services if they allowed unlocked phones...?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: how many more

    At $400 a pop, another million, if not more. At twice that (what Apple would claim they would need to charge to make up for the lack of long-term income), probably not many more.

    But how many would they sell if they sold versions through all the carriers (Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile, etc) rather then locking themselves into just one?

  1. broohaha22

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "But how many would they sell if they sold versions through all the carriers (Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile, etc) rather then locking themselves into just one?"

    Question is if they would have been able to get the iPhone out in the form they wanted had they opened up to all the carriers. I think they had to concentrate on just one carrier so that there would be an incentive for that carrier to alter their network in order for the iPhone to work in Apple's terms (i.e. visual voicemail).

  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Exclusive reasoning

    Okay it's a secret so don't tell anyone:

    The iPhone is an exclusive device so that Apple can push unlimited data plans, visual voice mail etc on the carriers and locking in is only an obligation while they are under the deals.

  1. jdonahoe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    exclusive,ok, but 5 years

    I agree that AT&T gets first crack at iphones with their contract agreement to Apple's terms. But did Apple have to make it 5 years exclusive? Two years exclusive would have been golden to show the other carriers the error of their ways and sweet for AT&T. I agree with testudo, Apple could have sold tons more if they had opened the floodgates after a shorter exclusive/test period.

  1. pt123

    Joined: Dec 1969


    visual voicemail

    What is the big deal with visual voicemail? Are there that many people avoiding bill collectors?

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: visual voicemail

    I don't have an iPhone and so don't have visual voicemail, but I wish I did. And I am not avoiding bill collectors.

    If I have 7 new messages and I am waiting for one important one, I don't want to have to d*** around with the unimportant ones. It is that simple.


  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: re: visual voicemail

    I may be an example of someone for whom a data plan would never be used, and I never exceed $20/mo in mobile charges, but could/would use the other features of an iPhone, and so Apple would only be gaining by unlocking as I would never be a customer otherwise...

    Visual voicemail may be very useful for some, but I would probably never even bother with regular voicemail in the first place...

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