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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 melgross on 9/10/2007 5:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
Jobs said, a while ago, that they wouldn't try to stop it. ATT is another matter though. They are the ones who sent the lawyers.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By rsmech on 9/10/2007 8:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
Then why did Apple demand a contract with a service provider if they didn't care to uphold such contract? Verizon was smarter than I thought. If Mr. Jobs feels he wouldn't stop it I think AT&T should feel free not to pay off of service contracts since Apple has the power to limit it.

Basically it comes down to the fact that if it's legal to unlock your phone then there is & never was such a thing as an exclusive carrier. As such the contract seems frivolous. Besides Apple probably doesn't care about the contract, it's the media hype that matters. Sell an image not the product. Let the press see how important you are to be exclusive. They couldn't have paid for a better ad campaign then the free one the press has given. That matters more than a contract.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By Hare on 9/10/2007 11:34:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then why did Apple demand a contract with a service provider if they didn't care to uphold such contract?
Because they get a cut of the bill and most people don't unlock their phones. Unlocking is a niche market and this way Apple could sell a) the AT&T exclusive package and b) unlocked device to enthusiasts still being "AT&T exclusive".

Some might argue that this way Apple can address two markets. Those who are willing to take AT&T with the iPhone (majority of AT&T customers) and those who refuse the operator deal.

I personally don't think Apple cares too much about the unlocking.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By rsmech on 9/11/2007 7:52:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because they get a cut of the bill

You are stating the obvious. If they don't care about unlocking it should also hold true for ring tones. So why are they making any attempt whatsoever about blocking custom ring tones. Where is there consistency in Apple policy?


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By Griswold on 9/11/2007 4:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
AT&T will give Jobs a swift kick to the nuts if he doesnt do (technically) anything to prevent this. They have a contract after all and its meaningless if this unlock is good for apple or not - its not good for AT&T.


RE: I'm no lawyer...
By DEVGRU on 9/11/2007 12:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
Then why should Apple care? I think as far as Apple is concerned, its a win/win for them. Sure they might get a cut of the AT&T contract side, so they might not make AS much if a new iPhone is sold without an AT&T contract - but they're still selling the iPhone; which means revenue (for Apple) via accessories and iTunes, and more market penetration for the iPhone overall.


"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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