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The iPhone unlocking software in action  (Source: Engadget)
iPhoneSimfree frees the iPhone to accept SIM cards from other walks of life

In less than two following the release of the iPhone, hackers were finally able to crack open the carrier lock on the Apple device to free it from its AT&T shackles. iPhoneSimfree.com made claims during late August that its software would unlock the device to run on any compatible GSM carrier. Those claims were verified as Engadget ran its iPhone unit on the T-Mobile network.

After several delays, the iPhoneSimfree software is now available for purchase. Currently, four online retailers in the world hold licenses for the unlocking software: Wireless Imports in the US, iPhoneWorldwideUnlock in Australia, 1digitalphone in Germany, and iPhone4arab in Saudi Arabia. Current prices for a single unlocking process range from $50 to $100.

Although an unlocked iPhone can run on any able GSM network, certain special features associated with the device may only be available on AT&T’s service. For example, visual voicemail will not appear on unlocked iPhones running on T-Mobile, as the feature is an AT&T network-specific feature.

For further details on the software iPhone unlocking solution, Engadget has posted an HD video detailing the entire unlocking process from start to finish.

The iPhoneSimfree method of unlocking is completely software-based. For those not afraid of a little wetwork, George Hotz, a 17 year old from Glen Rock, New Jersey, has discovered and documented a way to unlock the iPhone using a mix of internal soldering and software. For Hotz’s inventiveness and bravery, he scored three new 8GB iPhones and a Nissan 350Z.



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RE: I'm no lawyer...
By TomZ on 9/10/2007 5:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
That's right, Apple wins with the unlock - they can have their cake and eat it too. They get paid by AT&T for exclusive access, then design in primitive security figuring it will quickly get broken, and then voila, the iPhone can be used on other networks without Apple technically violating their agreements.

In my view, AT&T should go after Apple, since Apple is, through lax security, violating the spirit of the exclusivity agreement. Whether that idea can survive AT&T PR calculations in another question.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By spluurfg on 9/10/2007 6:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong... Apple loses since they are very likely getting a cut from the new contracts. This will also be the case in Europe, where Apple will be taking something like 10% from the monthly bill, and mobile networks will not be permitted to subsidize the phone.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By TomZ on 9/10/2007 7:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
No, you're assuming that all these people would have signed up with AT&T if the phone was more securely locked to their network. Probably most of the people doing this don't like AT&T's network and/or have a strong preference for a diffrent carrier.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By spluurfg on 9/18/2007 7:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm assuming that -some- of these people would have signed up with AT&T and thus Apple lost some revenue that they otherwise would have gotten.

This is akin to the statement that people who pirate music don't cost the record industry anything because they wouldn't have paid for it anyway. This is too strong a statement, as some of them probably would have paid for some of the music.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By daniyarm on 9/11/2007 12:48:59 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is totally f***ed in Europe. If they use their US business pracitices there, they will get fines up their a**. There is no way iPhone will fly in Europe with the same restriction as US, European commision will eat them alive.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By theapparition on 9/11/2007 9:42:14 AM , Rating: 2
From what I've read, Apple makes NO money from the contract, that's all AT&T's. Apple makes all their money from the sale of the device. So unlocking the device to increase sales is only in Apple's best interest. They don't give a damn if you ever activate your phone, as long as you buy it.

TomZ is right, AT&T should look long and hard at their contract with Apple.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By spluurfg on 9/18/2007 7:04:36 PM , Rating: 2
In that case the practices in the US differ from those in Europe, where Apple will be taking a cut.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By kamel5547 on 9/10/2007 6:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
Apple loses out on shared monthly revenues... likely a larger profit now that the price cuts have come.


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