back to article Apple's iPhone numbers do not add up

Analysts looking at both Apple's results and those posted by AT&T - Apple's iPhone partner in the US - have noticed a large discrepancy in the figures. Apple says it has sold 3.7m iPhones in total. AT&T says it has sold 2m iPhones, and European operators are believed to have sold between 300,000 and 400,000 handsets. Which …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge


    If they're talking about shipped to store sales or sales of the phone to end users.

  2. Greg Ayres

    Too expensive and too easy to unlock....

    Rather than drop prices in European markets and risk further unlocking/exporting, perhaps the best way to stimulate sales would be to offer the first three months free or six months half price on O2. This might even tempt people with a few months left on their current deal and would certainly provide an incentive to activate with O2 rather than unlocking and going on a different network.

  3. GoatBoy
    Jobs Horns


    Or Apple just make shit up for the analysts. Volume shipments aren't audited by the, er, auditors, and even if they were, the big audit firms aren't too keen on actually having to check the figures in return for their fee.

    Apple managed to cheat the stock option system for years, so why not do the same with volume shipments.

  4. Greg

    Hold up

    "However, at the company's most recent analysts conference, Apple executives re-iterated that they expect to sell 10m iPhones by the handset's first birthday, in June."

    Hang on a second. Their possibly dodgy numbers aside:

    3.7m sold so far (according to them).

    2m on order for the first quarter, assuming this order hasn't been cut.

    1.2m for the second quarter leading up to June.

    3.7 + 2 + 1.2 = 6.9m.

    Am I missing something? I'm just a programmer, so business processes aren't my thing. If anyone can explain where the rest of that 10 million is going to come from, I'd love to know.

    If Apple end up bolstering these statistics by filling a landfill, I'll be irritated.

  5. alphaxion

    small question

    Ok, time to show my noobishness when it comes to mobile phones.

    Whenever someone buys an iphone they have to get it with a contract as well, right?

    So how could a person jailbreaking their iphone have an affect on the reported number of phones sold as well as affect the money apple get (since they will, presumably, still be paying the contract for the iphone and thus apple plus the contract for the network they moved to which seems a bit silly, 2 contracts for the one phone). Not to mention that an unused/bricked iphone in someones house is still one that has been sold with the contract that has to go with it.

    Or, does the money only start getting removed from your account upon activation of the iphone? which begs the question, have you violated the contract by never initiating it?

    the only way the discrepancy could really exist is by apple counting how many they have sold to their "partners" while their "partners" are only counting the number of those units they have shifted, meaning the missing 1.3mil of them are sitting on shelves awaiting someone to love them.

  6. oxo

    What about Apple's own stores?

    Presumably they aren't included in the AT&T figures ..

  7. Steve Evans
    Jobs Horns

    @Giles Jones

    I'm with you on that one.

    Given the kicking Apple has been receiving for low sales, they are bounded to be quoting "shipped", not sold.

  8. Dana W
    Thumb Down

    The Fox news of the tech world strikes again!

    In further unbiased Register tech reporting, Apple eats babies and tortures little fluffy kittens!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is a flop

    Its too expensive. Everyone who wants one as one by now. Can't see Apple selling 1.5m iPhones per month unless it finds 6 new markets based on Euro sales over 2 months.

  10. Thom White
    Jobs Halo

    Unlocked exports?

    Today's New York Daily News features an article about 2 guys who stole 800 iPhones which were to be delivered to Hong Kong - where they are very popular.

    If there is an international trade in unlocked iPhones it would certainly explain /some/ of the missing phones.

  11. Chad H.

    could it be...

    just a possibility here, could apples figure include applestore sales, whereas at&t's only include their direct chanel? I haven't looked at all, so maybe it doesn't... Would be helpful if the actual metrics on the figures was shown.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Well, almost

    Umm... I think you'll find that Apple have always said 10m iPhones by the end of 2008 - rather than in the first year - which at least gives them another 6 months to make up the slack.

  13. David H

    Of course...

    If Apple/O2 were to offer a PAYG option for the UK iPhone (with a reasonable data tariff) then I would buy one without hesitation - it's those expensive contracts that are most offputting.

    I did see someone using one on a train recently (and yes it wasn't an iPod Touch), so they are out there. Somewhere.

  14. Greg


    Have you even read any of the articles around here that slag off Vista, Microsoft and anything associated with the two? El Reg are equally cynical about everything, not just your Lord and Master, Mr Jobs.

    This is a completely factual story. Would you like to show how it's biased?

    Ruddy fanboys (girls?).

  15. Rick Lesniak

    Version 2?

    I wonder how many potential buyers are waiting for Version 2? I know I'm not interested in V1, but I'm ready to consider V2.

    If Greg is right about Q1 and Q2 projected sales, then that represents a pretty steep drop. Apple can't ignore that, so it tells me that they need to come out with V2 long before June if they want to maintain sales momentum.

    People seem to be complaining about the slow pace of firmware updates for V1. That's another clue that Apple had moved on and is focusing resources on V2.


  16. Ross


    Ok, let's being by stating the obvious - El Reg gives *everyone* bad press. I'm guessing you're a Mac kiddy tho and enjoy the battering MS gets every other day.

    With that out of the way, the article states 3 main points, and all are from other people, so they are not El Reg hack conjecture.

    1. Analysts have pointed out that iPhones shipped (as per Apple) > iPhone contracts sold by AT&T/O2

    2. The size of that discrepancy would (to the analysts) indicate large amounts of iPhones aren't being used on the networks they are locked to.

    A quick aside in how business works - your share price is not what your business is worth. It;s what everyone else *thinks* your business is worth. If you tell everyone that you are going to shift 10mil phones and make $x/month in recurring contract revenue on top of that then ppl think "wow, they are going to be worth more money in the future" so the share price goes up. Then we find out they aren't going to make that amount of extra money, so we see a "correction" and the shares drop to reflect that belief.

    This is why analysts are looking at the number of iPhones shifted compared to contracts signed. It's not to have a dig at your precious Jobs, it's to see if it's worth buying shares or not at the current price. It's not *all* guess work you know.

    Anyway back on topic...

    3. Apple says it plans on selling 10mil phones. The figures don't look strong enough to support that, so the analysts point this out.

    The iPhone is a nice phone, there was crazy hype about it for aaaages before it was announced, but it's badly priced.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    missing iphone

    Another possibility is they have a quality problem. my iphone touch screen broke after 6 days!


  18. Dana W


    I like my iPhone, best phone I ever had. I even own a Macbook Pro.

    But I can barely see getting an iPhone at our prices. For what you pay there, even I would not buy one.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dana W

    Hang on. You're accusing El Reg of being biased for quoting a 3rd party?

    They gave you the numbers. Does your (new) math add up? Can you make sense of it all? If you're so biased, what do you make of the whole thing?

  20. Not That Andrew
    Jobs Horns

    @oxo - Use your noodle

    AT&T's figures are based on phones registered with their network, the only legal service provider for the Jesus Phone in the US. So it doesn't matter if you bought your iPhone from AT&T, an Apple shop or Joe Bloggs on EBay, if it hasn't been unlocked you will be using AT&T in the US. NOW do you understand?

  21. Dave Harvey

    Or are they being used just to show off?

    A few weks ago I encountered a kid round here with an iPhone (who definitiely wouldn't have had the knowledge/skills to unlock it), but who made the pretence of using it.......on Gower, where O2 (unlike all the others) can't be bothered to provide any signal at all!

    So, perhaps some are being bought merely for "pose-value"

  22. Adam Reiniger
    Paris Hilton

    Whatever people say...

    I have an XDA orbit, and I love the phone, is lovely. But... I've seen the jesusPhone, and it looks good. Damn good.

    SO before the June bday, when my contract is up, I'll purchase one. Must be good news for apple, 1 less to sell to reach that 10m target.

    Choosing Paris Hilton here, for simple reasons: like the jesusPhone, most of you probably really want it, but won't admit to it.

  23. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns


    That's "Same Old Shit" from Apple of course, just like the big lie about Stevie not participating in the Stock Options Fix scandal and of course the continuing lie that Apple products are bug and flaw free (20 year of online documentation on going, proves that).

    Apple is a scummy marketing company that MAKES NOTHING, designs little and bribes their many hacks in the media to constantly beat the positive product drum and never mention things like the mega flawed G3 / G4 iBook world wide debacle.

    The iPhone and other recent products like the Apple TV are flops, get over it Apple Kool Aid Drinkers and Hack Media.

  24. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    The reason is simple

    The reason is simple they have included the sales figures of the cheaper better and more versatile Mainland Chinese Clones made at the same factory !

  25. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Sigh.. let's read the article, peeps...

    The words say:

    "Apple says it has sold 3.7m iPhones in total. AT&T says it has sold 2m iPhones, and European operators are believed to have sold between 300,000 and 400,000 handsets."

    So: total sold through every channel, including off the back of a Hong Kong lorry: 3.7m. Of that, AT&T and the European operators have sold (say) 2.4m. Therefore Apple has moved 1.3m through other channels (possibly including warranty replacements, since we're talking marketing numbers).

    As Greg noted, there are allegedly up to 3.2m phones in the production pipeline for the next 6 months, which makes some kind of sense based on the sales of the last 6 months. But that still leaves us with a grand total of 6.9m phones _built_ by June, when Apple is claiming it expects to have sold 10m.

    Which suggests that Apple is planning on selling phone futures!

    In other news, good to see that Apple Fanbois are still well represented...

  26. Anthony Hulse

    The lessons from Enron are....

    You don't lie to the SEC, not if you want to stay out of gaol. If Apple have stated "sold" rather than "shipped" they must actually have the cash for each of those handsets otherwise the Board are in big trouble. I agree with the posters above that the missing 1.3 million sales will likely be through Apple's own retail network in the US. I don't think AT&T are including them in their numbers.

  27. James Looker

    Dodgy facts

    Remember, unlike Microsoft, Apple announces products sold, not shipped.

    It was 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008.

  28. Danny


    I have to disagree with you that El Reg is biased. Over the last couple of weeks I have informed them of a story about Steve Jobs snubbing one of the faithful at the Mac Expo, showing his true colours, i.e. a tosser who thinks the little people are beneath him

    A story that Apple are being sued once again for patent infringement over the iPhone

    A story that MS software has been found to have fewer vulnerabilities than open source, but MS take a while longer to fix problems

    None of these stories has made it onto El Reg, yet we have stories about 'the stunning MacBook Air laptop' despite it being a severely lacking over priced pile of crap.

    How exactly are they being biased? Or is it just that you have one of the permanent 'Protect Apple Fields' than fanboys seem to come equipped with?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about iPod Touch + Phone?

    Forget the iPhone, look at the iPod Touch. THAT is one hell of a Wifi micro browser with email on that device. It's a damn site cheaper once you take into account the contract.

    it has the same zooming browser, with two fingered touch zoom, now the maps too, video replay on a watchable screen, music of course, plus the usual stuff. i.e. it has all the sweet stuff the iPhone has.

    Add a separate telephone and you have something comparable to an iPhone but without the lock-in and with the ability to split the two, e.g. lend your phone to your wife and hang on to your browser/movie viewer/MP3 player yourself.

    I reckon iPod Touch is taking a huge chunk out of iPhone sales. (I have one).

  30. Alexander Hanff

    Everyone going on about Apple Stores

    You just don't get it do you? --ALL-- iPhones sold in the US irrespective of where they are sold, are sold with an AT&T contract and consumer have the choice of activating the contract or not. So what is being said here is (and quite legitimately) AT&T are reporting significant differences in the number of consumer signed up to iPhone contracts compared to the number of phones Apple is claiming to have sold. Which is exactly why there is reference to the unlocked phone market in the article.

    Secondly, the same is true in the UK. If you buy an iPhone you have one option; O2. You can buy from 3 different places (O2, Apple or CPW) but you can only use it on O2's network. However if the phone is unlocked and never activated on the O2 network then O2's figures won't tally with Apple's either.

    The important thing here is Apple has signed deals with the network providers to take a fairly substantial cut of their revenue as a result of getting exclusive rights to iPhone customers. If a large portion of these phones are being unlocked this seriously undermines Apple's return and may even *potentially* turn the iPhone into a loss leader for Apple. I say loss leader because the phone is already failing to meet projected revenues which means only one thing; either stop producing it or cut the price.

    I suspect rather a large number of UK iPhone sales are not real sales and have in fact either stayed in the storage room in O2/CPW stores or have been dished out to O2/CPW sales staff and managers to try and promote the gadget and increase sales through increased exposure. This is of course bad news for everyone involved in the deal, but great news for us Apple haters, of which I am proud to be one.

  31. Ivan Headache

    @ heystoopid

    Is this the same chinese iphone my brother bought in Dubai only for it to stop working before he got it out of the shop?

    @ Malcolm Weir and others

    Apple say 10 million by the whatever date it is - you all seem to forget that there are some other countries in the world (with rather large populations) where the iPhone will be going on sale in the next few months. They are obviously not planning to sell those additional phones into the current markets (Especially in those where the uptake has not been particularly good).

    And finally. I now know 2 people that own the phone. One is hacked and other isn't. The hacked one will be unhacked when the lady's voda contract runs out next month.

    Incidently, the hack is unusual - it involves a very skinny, flexible pcb with a single exceedingly tiny microchip on it. It is positioned in the sim card holder before the sim card is inserted into the phone. Without it the phone reports "invalid Sim card"

    With it in place it reports "welcome to Voda" Anyone know how it works or where to get it?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @Too expensive and too easy to unlock....

    Let's also add "too useless to own" like the usual drivel that Steve-Airhead-Jobs feeds everyone.

  33. Andy

    Forget about the June thing

    Apple said 10m by the end of 2008, which they're (more than) on track for if you crunch the numbers. I bet unlocking rates are much higher than they're willing to let on, though.

  34. Dan
    Jobs Horns


    I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has their own proprietary way of counting that differs from the base 10 system everyone else uses.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Splendid, what.

    Good to see the Nerd Rage surrounding the eyeFone hasn't abated yet.

    I bought one because it looks nice. I couldn't care less about the feature set. I'd wager your phone looks like it was squeezed out of a dog's arse. Bet you're dead proud of that, aintcher?

  36. jeanl

    iphone mistake made by Apple

    Apple made a serious mistake sign the dead end contract with only sole provider in each continent and also shouldn't limited to GSM only. The delay produces lots of opportunities for competitors times to better products to compete before iPhone saturate the market. Remember Apple 1 & Apple ll vs IBM clone n microsoft DOS?

    Steve Jobs and team probably let recent success over crowded their mind couldn't see straight.

  37. Dana W

    No sense of HUMOR! And a few silly assumptions.

    "El Reg are equally cynical about everything, not just your Lord and Master, Mr Jobs.

    This is a completely factual story. Would you like to show how it's biased?

    Ruddy fangirls."

    Seriously people, loosen UP! I was making a JOKE. I expect El Reg to slam Apple, they always do. Windows and Linux geeks hate Apple, no shock.

    As to my "Lord and Master" I also run Linux, and unless Apple starts letting me buy PARTS, my next new machine will be another Linux box.

    I didn't get a Mac because I though they were perfect, I got a Mac because after 15 years of crap I was sick of windows, and there is NO future in Vista. I didn't feel Linux was up to my needs at the time, this is changing rapidly.

    I'm drifting back to my Linux box, my Mac is mostly for games and fun. My Linux box does the gruntwork. And my next PC will probably be another Laptop running Linux. You assume most Mac uses are technical incompetents, and that most are blind devotees. Want those? Go talk to Vista proponents. There is where the real "kool-aid" flavor is these days.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @Hold up @Version 2 & @Too expensive

    I am tempted to say, do not get confused with truth in a marketing message.

    However, only way for all these to be true is that

    1. iPhone market is elastic (that is cheaper it is, more will buy)

    2. iPhone version 2 is in the works that has both more desirable features (like 3G), and cheaper to manufacture to meet #1.

    3. Business friendly (i.e. Blackberry Enterprise) to get additional subscribers who is already paying $100+ per month.

    And if I were apple, why would not do all of the above? And since when did Apple pre-announced anything?

  39. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    Discrepancy is iPhones "sold" as "Product Placements"

    Apple is the KING of "Product Placements" in TV shows, Cable shows, Movies, Commercials and of course all the THOUSANDS that they "sell" GIVE TO Media Hacks to BRIBE them to drop the Apple, iPhone, etc. name, every chance that they get. Guys like Walt Mossberg, Leo Laporte, the hacks at Barons, Wall Street Journal, CRN etc. are bribed whores for Apple PR in this way. I heard for a fact that Rush Limbaugh was given 50 iPhones to give away and use personally, so he constantly drops the iPhone name on the radio broadcasts.

    It was too funny when one of those "Product Placements" iPhones on the Cable show "Nip Tuck" was being used UPSIDE DOWN through the whole show! The same thing happened on CSI Las Vegas.

    I guess that all those "missing" phones are those "FreeBee" bribes. Apple ain't stupid ... just a Crooked Company

  40. Valan Chan

    Their in the rest of the world!

    In Hong Kong their are two kids(13ish) in my class alone who have iPhones. My cousin has another. I have seen about 20 shops selling them, within a few shopping centres.

    My guess is that although iPhones may not be so readily available in other parts of the world, I do not think they are that hard to get hold of.

    1.3M is not so big if you remember that the world is larger than North America and a few countries in Europe.

  41. AJ

    Apple Should Sell Handsets Only...

    ... Unlocked so we can use on any network!

    If they are at a reasonable price I bet they will see their figures shoot up for the amount of phones sold. People do not like to be dictated to and told which network they must go with and we certainly dont like being ripped off.

    This was apples BIGGEST mistake, if they sold contact phones at a decent & discounted price, and unlocked phones for the price they are now they would of sold millions more as customers want CHOICE!!

  42. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Some real world figures

    Sales in Germany (Europe's largest single market) since launch have been 70,000 units. Sales in France have been higher (70,000 in the first month) probably because it's the only place to buy an unlocked one legally. Apple probably prefers the sales in Germany because they're earning on the contract as well.

    Somehow it's difficult to see those sales picking up without considerable drop in price of both phone and accompanying contract. We're moving towards € 25 for mobile flatrates (VoiP excluded) which is a reasonable price for UMTS and less than 50% of what Apple wishes people to pay.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    " Mac is mostly for games ..."

    Because there are so many games for Macs right?

    A Mac would be the last thing i purchased if i wanted a games machine.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    apple user != fanboi

    i'm getting slightly irritated by the opinion, oft-peddled here that anyone who uses apple products is some kind of vacant air-headed tech bimbo who's only interested in pose value or making fashion statements.

    at the risk of sounding like the person who despairs when the obscure band they like 'sells out' and tops the charts, may i point out that many of us have been using apple computers since before they were 'fashionable'. i've personally been on the apple bandwaggon since way back in the system 6,5 days. it's been a long, bumpy, often frustrating ride and - whilst i'm no fanboi. there's plenty that's risible about apple, the corporation - i'm glad to see that apple's years in the doldrums seem to be over, at least for now.

    so, just coz the rest of you have belatedly realised that 'computer' is not synonimous with 'plastic dell box', 'operating system' is not synonimous' with whatever bug-ridden version of windoze happens to be current and the term 'software' encompasses a wider field than that covered by microsoft-bloody-office, it doesn't really give you the right to disparage those of us who learned to think for ourselves long before you lifted your heads from mamma gates's saggy corporate nipples and looked around you for the first time.

    and the iphone?... a beautiful piece of underpowered hardware with too much baggage (in the form of the tied contract) attached for me to be interested. which is why i'm typing this comment on the handy QWERTY keyboard of my sim free nokia E90. fanboi i ain't!

  45. Steve Renouf


    Of course, if you live in France, they're available unlocked anyway - as it's a legal requirement. Subsequently,

    I suspect a lot of people from the UK are sneaking over to France to buy unlocked ones to bring back to the UK to use on any network...

  46. Dana W
    Jobs Halo


    "Because there are so many games for Macs right?"

    Believe it or not, four out of five games I play are out for Mac. Mac gaming actually exists now. Its been growing for a while. The few new PC games I can't get are of the "bang and splatter" type. Who cares? If I want to shoot a gun, I'll go to he range. Way more fun.

    Yes, I miss the new Sam and Max, but I'm not going to run Windows to play ONE game. Games are not that big a part of my daily life. And these days thats about all PC's are good for. The geek switchers I know like to call PCs "Wintendos". If I want to game that bad I'll buy a console. My computer is a computer first and a toy second.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most hyped phone in history and does not sell well

    European sales figures are just too low. All that free advertising and they only sell 400,000 iPhones. How the hell are they going to sell the more expensive 3.5G version? The Nokia N95 without so much hype has sold in higher number in Europe, 1.5m units per quarter at the last count.

  48. OrsonX

    between a rock and an iPhone

    Apple are making life very difficult (for me, not themselves).

    My Voda (UK) contract will shortly run out and I would LOVE an iPhone. Trouble is although the iPhone is very desirable it is a bit feature short, so what I really want is the iPhone 2 (thinner, with GPS, 7 MP camera, VGA screen). So instead I am found contemplating spending £250 for the 16Gb Touch..... but I know as soon as I buy one Jobs will release the iPhone 2...., so I can't bring myself to buy my Touch...

    trouble is, I won't be able to bring myself to buy the iPhone 2 either, as it will undoubtedly be £400 on £35/month (x18) on non 3G (duh?) O2, I mean, c'mon Apple! Throw me an iBone.

    So I will end up with nothing!

    By choosing only 1 operator per country Apple prevent a price war and are able to keep the price inflated..... selling fewer more expensive units as opposed to lots of cheaper units. Thus making it more desirable, thus making me want one even more..... grr!

  49. elder norm

    Please people

    Boy, people here talk about facts then proceed to get them all wrong. :-)

    Apple plans to sell 10 million iPhones by the END of 2008.

    That means 4 million so far is a good start.

    Sales are sales. Keep in mind that sales are taking place world wide and some are not registered cause they are jail broke.

    Apple just reported the BEST quarter ever. 22 million iPods, 4 million iPhones, 2.3ish million computers.

    Complain, bitch, screw with numbers all you want, Apple is moving forward. Check back in again in another year and compare numbers now and then. That is all that matters. OH and one more thing, those of us who enjoy Apple products will continue to enjoy them over the next year. Enjoy Vista. :-)


  50. Anonymous Coward

    Don't give up Dana

    There are a lot of assholes who comment on ELReg I have had to deal with them a few times myself they aren't reading what your writing they are only in it for the bashing, especially with Apple stories. On the other hand they are quite right Apple fanbois make them look like a bunch of philosophers if you haven't dealt with an Apple prick try it sometime it will open your eyes. Anonymous because I want to be.

  51. BatCat
    Jobs Halo

    2/3 of iPhones hacked....

    I surveyed a representative sample*** of iPhone users in the UK and found that 2/3 of them are running a hacked handset on a network other than O2 that were bought and never activated.

    Personally I'm in the 16GB iPod Touch + Nokia N95 phone camp. I'll get an iPhone as soon as the 16GB ( or preferably 32GB ), 3.5G HSDPA with video capable 5Mp autofocus camera comes out - along with a hack to run it on Vodafone. Unless the fabled blue-tooth activation hack is discovered for the iPod Touch before then, in which case I'll stick with what I have.

    *** Sample was 2 work colleagues and 1 client staff member. ;o)

  52. Chad H.

    @ Dana W

    Couldnt you use Boot camp or Paralells?

  53. Chad H.

    @ Alexander Hanff / flop brigade.

    Alex: Thats not what the article says. The article says AT&T have SOLD 2m, not activated 2m, SOLD. Hence my call for further information on the metrics. The way the article is worded makes this key difference in choice of words very important, and leaves it open to being interpreted whatever way someone wants to bias it.

    As for those of you who say its a flop, go look at the article showing the iPhone to be the most used phone on the web. The iPhone has a specific market segment (heavy mobile web users) which its hitting better than any other manufacturer.

  54. Sol Kahn

    Unlocking != Easy

    Unlocking is not so easy now. The phones currently shipping have no software tool for unlocking the phone functionality ("baseband"). You can activate/jail break to get the rest of the functionality but no calls. Oh well, sending mine back.

    Oh, and you don't buy a contract when you buy the phone. You buy the phone from apple and then later sign up with the phone provider via iTunes. This can be bypassed using the software work arounds.

  55. Steve Evans

    @Steve Renouf

    I don't think many brits are nipping over to France to get unlocked iPhones, cos I don't think many people are bothered about the iPhone at all! All the massaging of the sales figures can't hide this!

    I was in an O2 shop on their launch night, I used the late opening as a chance to get some free parking and buy a microSD for my phone before going on a trip, and the O2 shop were the cheapest high street source.

    It wasn't exactly busy!

    Sure the iPhone looks very flash, but as a phone it is seriously lacking in features the European market has come to expect. Plus the idea of actually having to buy a phone *with* a contract is just so last century!

    It's just a case of Apple not understanding the difference in market (or maybe just not caring).

    However, the iPod touch is a completely different story. The UI is gorgeous (as it is on the iPhone), but the product is an mp3 player with added browsing, and it does everything very nicely. I suspect that as the iPhone is only a barely passable phone, people that like the UI will now just buy an iPod touch and stick to their free Nokia phones with real MMS messaging and good cameras.

  56. oldfartuk

    Technofashion slaves....

    Personally, I dont see the attraction. I use a 7 year old Nokia 3310.........its does what it says on the label, it makes phone calls when you're moving, I dont want it to do anything else........

  57. Jason Pepper

    @Sol Kahn - cracking iPhone is easy..

    Personally, I think the discrepancy is a combination of all of the things discussed, but definitely one of them will be phones that are not registered.

    I have one I bought in the US for $400, and a Hong Kong TurboSIM clone from Ebay (£30).. so for £230 I have a working 8Gb iPhone running on any network I like.. and it was very very simple..

    Downgrade to 1.1.1


    Upgrade to 1.1.2

    Insert TurboSIM + SIM


    Seems a damm site easier to me than unlocking a BBerry..

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Bash, bash, bash

    As an Apple user and fan, yes fanboi if you insist. I Tend to look for the Apple stories first on El Reg. It always makes me laugh, when I read the comments page associated with the give Apple write up, it is flooded with MS bores. They all sing the same old desperate song about their hate for Apple, Hate for Steve Jobs, Hate for Fanbois........ Blah, F**king blah.

    If they hate Apple so much P*ss off and read some MS related articles about how perfect vista is, how MS never suffers from Virus,worms or trojans. Maybe there is a story about how MS never crashes and how the OS is so stable. Go stand around the water cooler and discuss how the latest MS machine requires only 1 1/2 desks space to fit it all on and in, how the next laptop promises to be thicker and even less attractive that the average telephone directory.

    I am fed with the MS crowd constantly finding their way in here and dragging the point away from the thread just so they can squeeze in a little Apple bashing. You don't find funbois going the MS comments pages and getting all twa**y about things.

    Mind you if I had to sit and look at XP or vista all day I guess I would be miserable, surly and jealous too. Never mind You can all go to one of the increasing amount of Apple stores at the weekend and press you noses against the glass!

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    how dare you

    Excuse me Register, but why are you always so negative about Apple. Everyone knows Apple an dits products are super special awesome.

    Here, in the Apple Brotherhood, we refer to your journalists as RP's (Repressive Personalities).

  60. Ascylto


    My iPhone suits me perfectly. It does what I what it to do ... elegantly and simply, just as a phone for me should do.

    With one exception ... o2 ... whose coverage in many areas is just plain cr*p.

    Apple got it badly wrong. They didn't do their market research properly to discover what any phone user in the UK could have told them ... we DON'T like expensive phones with expensive contracts. we're just not used to them.

    That's why Apple's Americans have been over here wondering why the US model didn't work in the UK. They probably paid a lot of dollars to a market research company to come up with conclusions which were WRONG.

    When I tell people that the US Americans pay for incoming and outgoing calls they are amazed. Rightly!

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    i smell

    corporate bullsh!t

  62. Dr Patrick J R Harkin


    "When I tell people that the US Americans pay for incoming and outgoing calls they are amazed. Rightly!"

    May not still be the case, but when I was in Denmark some years ago I learned that you pay from the second you pick up the handset, not the second you're connected. You're using the line, so you pay for it!

  63. Shakje

    Re: Bash, bash, bash

    "Mind you if I had to sit and look at XP or vista all day I guess I would be miserable, surly and jealous too. Never mind You can all go to one of the increasing amount of Apple stores at the weekend and press you noses against the glass!"

    No. I'd try to move and find they'd stolen my jacket and replaced it with a lump of white plastic.


    There are actually many uses for Windows PCs. We code for them almost exclusively, because our clients like Windows Server, and also because it's a lot easier to use Windows code in C++ etc. than having to learn smalltalk. Third party APIs we use are Windows only, so our choice of platform is severely limited. While I am, in fact, a Windows "fanboi", I appreciate that you get what you want and need. Personally, I enjoy gaming (the non-Sam and Max type), and if you tried some of the popular PC games you might find you like them. I occasionally play WoW (although I can actually seperate it from my life, and don't NEED to play it) and it IS fun, whatever your inherent views.

    It is a fact that gaming on the Mac is pretty limited, it has improved, but it's still awful, and the main reason is DirectX. I don't know about anyone else here, but I do enjoy coding DirectX apps. On top of this, converting apps written in C/C++ code written for consoles is a lot easier to transpose to c++ code in a Windows environment than SmallTalk. Just my experience anyway.

    Since I'm a Windows coder, and a decent Windows coder at that, I use VS2005.

  64. Law
    Jobs Horns

    @ Dana

    Fan-girl reaction aside, your headline is one I would love to see in any publication!! ;)

    El Reg - please, for the love of all that is unholy - you must use this title in the next headline about Apple's evil ways!

    Gawd bless El Reg, for you are the bastion of sarcastic reporting I have come to know and love. I pledge my allegience to you now and forever!!

  65. Daniel B.

    re: bash, bash, bash

    ... And thanks, Paul, for reinforcing the idea that Apple fanbois think that non-Apple users are all MS users/fanbois. Mind you, I have used Macs since the Mac Plus, System Software 5, HyperCard 1.2... We old school Mac users actually think that Apple has lost its way. Which is why my last Mac is a pre-iMac Performa... Which has survived at least 4 PC's and 3 laptops.

    I currently use Linux, as that's what covers most of my needs. The only use for my winXP install is tor Starcraft, and Blackberry syncing :)

    Oh yes, the same BB 8300 that I'm using to post this comment while stuck in Mexico City's traffic. OTOH, my coworker's iPhone's useless and collecting dust, he hasn't cracked it for fear of bricking it (and stuck with the no-software-unlock firmware.)

    Guess who's enjoying more... ;)

  66. Alex Rose

    @elder norm and all the other fanboys

    A large number of people on here are claiming NOT to be fanboys. Then ruining it by referencing MS (Dana) and Vista (you). That immediately shows you are a fanboy as you i. bother to defend your product choice in the first place, only fanboys are that insecure ii. feel the need to reference MS product rather than simply defending your own choice, only a fanboy would feel the need to defend their own choice by rubbishing someone else and iii. most importantly you immediately assume that people who don't like Apple must be using MS, there are other choices out there and you all look particularly silly in defending your choice of a PHONE by rubbishing other peoples (supposed) choice of an OS.

    Fanboys in all camps please f*ck off and die.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Hell

    Well this is all very nice - the same old Tried argument. The story itself was not bashing Apple really it was reporting possible problems with the sales of iPhones. Does it really matter? You folks with your unlocked phones are ripping Apple off so your not good customers, and so one day they might release a patch and brick your phones................

    The Reg bashes everyone so forget the old bull about "you love M$" read some more stuff and acquire a life guys.

    I don’t own an iPhone; it does not do what I need it to do. 3G is missing, a good camera (+4 MP), picture messaging etc. etc. But I can see the attraction.

    At least it looks good.

    It’s the extreme reaction that some of you Apple people give to these stories. You all look daft. Take the fire wall being switched off on the OS after the upgrade. My local Apple man told me that "anyone who doesn’t check to make sure their firewall is not on is stupid. They are the kind of people who drive with no breaks in a car."

    That’s fine for all the nice IT professionals out there but I am an ordinary user and I expect it to work. You can bang on about M$ not working but I didn't change from Windows 98 till XP Service pack 2 and I may well wait till Pack 3 (the way this new bag is going).

    The only gripe I have with Apple is that iTunes is not an upgrade unless I have it already. So why oh why does the Apple upgrade tool insist on try to install it every time it checks for a quick time upgrade. Yeah its only a tick to remove and not install but why have it ticked...............

    (Oh and I have heard the old gag about "well it is an upgrade if you don’t have it, cause its an upgrade from media player yak yak yak" its tired give it a rest...........................)

  68. Dana W

    you get it!

    "Fan-girl reaction aside, your headline is one I would love to see in any publication!! ;)"

    Congrats for being the only person to read enough to realize I was making a JOKE!

  69. Dana W

    @Alex Rose

    "A large number of people on here are claiming NOT to be fanboys. Then ruining it by referencing MS (Dana) and Vista"

    So you are saying If I say Microsoft Vista Sucks, than I am a Mac Fangirl. Then a lot of Linux users are Mac Fanboys too.

    How Many people who are Microsoft FANS like Vista?

    I like that despite claiming repeatedly to a mixed OSX/Linux household I'm a blind APPLE fangirl. :)

    See Logic, spurious.

  70. Anonymous Coward

    iPhone in France

    Actually, the iPhone is not unlocked in France, and has an exclusive contract with Orange. Let me summarise this is a chart to show the difference between UK, US, France and Germany:

    UK - O2 exclusive - 18 month contract (

    US - AT&T exclusive - 24 month contract


    FR - Orange exclusive - 24 month contract


    DE - T-Mobile exclusive - 24 month contract


    Well looks like the people of the UK get the best deal on the iPhone !!

    Dig a little deeper into the contract details, and well, looks even sweeter fo UK consumers.

    Two of my friends have the iPhone now, and I must say they are VERY happy with it. I would love one, but am tied into a contract with my current phone with Vodafone.

    Like everyone else, I'm very unhappy that the iPhone is stuck to O2, and probably the single biggest reason (even more so than the cost) that the iPhone has not achieved anywhere near as high levels of unit SALES as the N95. Cmon Apple - this is a Global marketplace you are playing in - unlock the iPhone and allow its use across any network.

    Seriously, I have read so may rumours about the "Version 2" of iPhone, and well, who knows.... all I know is that as soon as it comes, I will be first in line for it whatever network it's on !

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