back to article Apple on the lookout for one million unlocked iPhones

About 27 per cent of the iPhones sold in 2007 are being operated on unauthorized wireless networks, according to research released today. That works out at about one million handsets. The unlocked phones are used largely in regions where the must-have device isn't officially sold, according to a report issued by Bernstein …


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  1. retroneo

    Wrong- latest firmware not unlocked

    Jailbreaking enables third-party applications that aren't loaded through the iTunes Store.

    Software-only network unlocking (that doesn't require the device to be opened) hasn't been achieved for the last two versions, 1.1.3 or 1.1.2

  2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Enigma Version II

    What sort of people would want to pay extra every time that Apple issue an update?

    I can't imagine a million users would want the hassle. Something is odd about all this.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    who wants the jesus phone anyway...

    The silly price that it costs to own the "must have phone" in my opinion makes you silly for paying the silly price...

    the fact it costs still a price to have a unlocked jesus phone, that you will end up with a brick because of a silly update, leaves you with a silly looking expensive "jesus brick"

    its silly....

    i'll stick to my nokia... thats in my coat !!!!!

  4. Mark Issacs

    Small Wonder- They're surprised by this?

    Apple cut their deal with AT&T. Fine. Happens that in my area AT&T is the WORST carrier out of the unholy trinity of Sprint, AT&T, and T-mobile. I signed a contract to buy a piece of hardware. Where I get the service is my business. NOT APPLE's decision to make or profit from. I don't try to tell Apple where to buy their hard drives for THEIR products, do I?

    When I bought my Miele Washer and Dryer (another premium priced product) I paid over $3000 for them. And Miele didn't try to tell me who to buy my electricity from! (They do recommend a particular brand or brands of detergent but that's based on a real technical consideration regarding standard detergent over-sudsing and flowing out onto your floors.)

    When I bought my Sub Zero Fridge - they didn't tell me who to buy the power from to run the damned thing! Nor did Wolfe do so regarding the gas for the stove. Even BMW didnt' tell me where to buy fuel for the car!

    Who does Apple think they are in the general scheme of things? Love the products but this kind of corporate arrogance and greed is intolerable even from a spoiled brat-grown-up like Mr. Steven Jobs! My Gawd - has he been so wealthy for so long that his head is so deeply imbedded in his arse that he can't pull it out and see reality! People shop for the best price and service and when you're dealing with radio waves it depends on where you live and where you use your phone. We want our pricey phones to actually work and work well. Is that too much to ask? The choice of carrier makes a huge difference by area. It's not something that he can reasonably dictate to the American Consumer!

    Unlocking it makes sense for me and countless others who need the phone to actually work reliably in their area. AT&T was previously Cingular and their network isn't all that great in most of the US. Their service tends to be pricey and mediocre at best! Also, IMHO - their customer service is generally arrogant, badly trained, and bitchy - and that's if you catch them on a Good Day! Heaven help you if you call them on a "bad day!"

    In Europe the cell companies share each other's towers and settle up at the end of the month in terms of who carried which number of customer minutes for whom and out of what tower. It's transparent to the user, and the end result is service that is INCREDIBLE compared to the crap cell service we're offered here in the US at premium prices - and now this damned company thinks they're going to dictate to me from whom I can buy my cell service? BULL!

    The solution is simple. Open up the iPhone for all carriers. Hell, even make a model for Verizon and Sprint if you wish. More product sold means more revenue for most companies - or doesn't that work for Apple? Funny, it's worked for every company from Henry Ford forward in time. But maybe Apple is different. Or at least they think they are! Apparently Job's infamous "reality distortion field" has caught his own better judgement in it's field of influence! Pity.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not lost revenue

    These people clearly bought these phones with the idea of unlocking them. If these phones had not been unlocked then the people would not have bought them. Therefore it is erroneous to suggest that Apple lost revenue by these phones being unlocked.

    Sure, Apple make more money on locked phones and less on unlocked phones, but selling an unlocked phone for less profit still beats selling nothing.

  6. Glenn Gilbert

    Greed's their biggest sales challenge

    There's no doubt that the phone is incredibly desirable albeit in it's first generation limited functionality guise. One wonders what it will be like in its third or forth generation. But the prices are out of this world. Strangely enough, the capital price for the phone isn't the real issue; it's the lousy contracts due to iPhone/Apple tax.

    Apple are in a quandary; more unlocked phones around the world just 'spreads the love' and hooks more people. A sale of an unlocked phone doesn't necessarily equate to loss of ongoing revenues as many people cracking these phones wouldn't buy one with a contract due to cost and/or lack of provider choice.

    It's one thing to make money; nothing wrong with that. This just looks like greed is one of their biggest barriers to success. Maybe it's all just textbook economics?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I understand but it's still wrong in my view.

    I understand Apples view. But I don't believe that If I choose to buy a product it becomes mine. I should be allowed to modify it if I choose. Put that up against the need to modify it then it's going to get modified by a percentage. I don't own one because I can get one, but as it stands being so tied up , I'm not likely to buy one. Not to mention I've always used Pre-Paid phones. My mother has the same view. She wants one but wont use it without it being Pre-Paid. Something I doubt will happen somehow.

    Jail-Breakers have the following needs as previously outlined:

    • Only one carrier available. (We don't all like the same carrier, this amounts to iPhone monopoly.)

    • People such as myself are not able to buy one yet. I will have to no-doubt pay more and wait longer. (That would be a pretty strong motivation to me.)

    • More software wanted and/or needed. (This reflects a want and/or need which is not met by Apple.)

    • People are creative and like to contribute. (Apple are not allowing people to contribute to the product. Apple seem to have forgotten about the real Apple community that likes to dress up THEIR Apple products.)

    It's sad to me that the Apple culture is dying along with Apples success. I've been an Apple product user since I was a kid. First mac I used was an Classic. Now the company seems generic, it's only saving grace is design (software and hardware) the culture seems to have been sterilized.

    They say as you get older you tent to dislike change more and more. Steve Jobs would seem to be showing his age...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    I hate Apple's monopoly and greed!

    I hate apple's monopoly business model / greed and every other company who does the same.

    When reading the article, I was glad that "unlocking" iPhones apparently looses apple profit. Steve Jobs is a $£!&*^ greedy rich b*****d who doesn't care about his customers and just wants to profit as much as possible!

    If you want something that does everything the iPhone does and more buy a PDA with built-in phone functionality! ....probably cheaper too!

    In the UK my mobile phone is locked to Orange, but it is the only reliable service in my town and also reasonable value for money so its OK.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Serves them right for this illegal practice of restricting the phone to one provider, I hope both 02 (and AT&T) and Apple have lost a lot of support, customers, units and money from taking this poor buisiness monopoly approach!

  10. Dana W

    Locked for a reason

    AT&T had to do serious changes to their network to support visual voice mail.

    An unlocked Iphone can't use this feature, its a big part of WHY they have the two year lock in. They had to invest in the requisite network changes to make the network fully iPhone compatible.

    As to network choices, AT&T is really good here and I already had it. I wouldn't have changed providers to AT&T for an iPhone anymore than I would have changed toT-Mobile for a Sidekick, despite wanting one.

  11. MacGyver
    Dead Vulture

    It's mine

    I don't care what a piece of paper says, If I buy something with my money, it belongs to me. The government can make whatever laws they want, Apple or whatever company it may be can say whatever they like, but if I give them the amount they ask for, and they take my money, the deal is done, it's mine. Someone needs to get the rights of consumers given back to us. It needs to be nipped in bud now, hell, it needed to be nipped seven years ago. Epson has already proved that companies can and do dictate laws that govern free citizens, they sue people for refilling their cartridges (under the DMCA). We wouldn't tolerate GM or Ford or Seat putting a key-locked oil cap on our cars, or making a deal with Exxon or Esso so that only their nozzles fit into our gas tanks, but they will if someone doesn't put a stop to the business practice of locking devices. Businesses need to either give people want they want, or get out of the way. We apparently need clear laws stating that things we buy belong to us, and what we do with them is our business, and attempting to put artificial limitations on something should be against the law.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark Issacs

    Sheesh dude - you left out a few brand names there..

    Do IWC prescribe which arm to wear your watch on?

    Gucci which colour socks for your loafers?

    Issy where to wear the cologne?

    Wally which harbour to moor your yacht in?


    (sorry, rude I know, but couldn't resist - I'll leave now)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Reality for Apple

    Good to see Apple can't dictate everything to every market!

    Over here in the UK, it seems only Mac fanboys have bought them and are tolerating the contract terms. We are used to a mature mobile market where there is almost always up to 4 networks with fairly good coverage in your area all with the same phones so they can only compete on price and service.

    I think everyone agrees that the Jesus phone is nice, but at what cost.

    Its a phone Steve!! I want to use it like the string of nokia's and motorola's i've had before it. ....and thats why i dont have one.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Phone is a Phone is a Phone - or is it ????

    Am I the only one left in the world that uses a mobile as a telephone - you dial a number (or punch a number) and the person you are phoning answers the phone or they do not answer the phone.

    All this "keeping up with the Jones's" getting more functions etc etc is money down the drain. Buying a phone that does everything but make the coffee is daft economy - apart from the risk of loosing it, dropping it or worse still getting mugged for it.

    Buy a cheap totally unlocked mobile to use with any pre-paid service carrier worldwide - hell, buy two. Entering into a locked contract where they have you by the short and curlies is pure madness.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Companies should learn to suck it up just as much as work forces do.

    Sadly there are laws in place to protect regional price fixing where as there arn't to protect regional jobs. Unless you're a French Farmer.

    Not that I have a problem with manufacturing goods in poor places, it's just that I don't see why I should pay £150 fro my iriver clix 2 when an American pays £90 and a Japanese person pays £100.

    Same with the iphone, sure the Company want us to use it on their blessed network and puirchase it via sanctioned Vendors. But why the f--k should we?

    O well I need the first coffee of the day.

  16. Craig Collier

    and it continues...

    theres a simple answer to all this, get a decent phone.

    this is like a mercedes car, some people can afford it, and fine, if you want to spend £30,000 on something to get to work fine. I'd prefer to pay £400 for my car, and spend the rest on having a fulfilling life, similarly, an iphone does nto make you happy. Cheap phone bills do however, so i'm sticking with whatever the UK carriers are prepared to ive me for free. Most of the time, thats a fully functional unlocked phone with 3G, replaceable battery and upgradeable storage.

    seriously, why is everyone getting so upset about this? nobody is slagging off ferrari for making expensive cars now are they?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Caveat Emptor

    You pay your money and you take your choice. You know the network restrictions when you buy the thing and know the risk you take if you unlock it.

    Do I think it's over priced and over restricted? Yes.

    Would I buy one as a result of that? No.

    Simple. Don't bleat Apple are evil - they are just in businessness to make money. But equally don't have all the Apple fan boys come out and bleat how somehow they are "more open" than their "evil" enemy Microsoft. All through its history Apple has operated a top to bottom monopoly over their products (with a brief dabble at making the OS available for OEM in the days Jobs was not there). This is neither all bad nor all good: bad because it limits choice, good because it makes it easier for them to get products to market. Good for shareholders as it increases margins, bad for consumers as they cost more.

    Live with it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple business model was based on a fallacy

    If Apple hadn't come up with an overstated idea of their popularity and thus tried to screw the carriers (who, in turn screw us) they would have left off the revenue part which depends on the phone being locked.

    I would go as far as estimating that Apple may have sold almost twice as many phones if they hadn't been so greedy - worse, now they started it they have to keep it up in order not to upset early adopters.

    The phone is a piece of art - but nobody in their right mind buys art at the price of freedom. Simple.

    Result: Apple has modelled profit on the need for the phone to stay locked (which is not even possible in every part of the world) in much the same way as DVD sales were assumed to be protected by CSS. Stupid.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it obvious

    If you bought an un-locked jesus phone and knew that patches were going to turn it into a brick - simple don't install the patches. What we have out there is 1 million un-patched fanboy phones.

  20. Daniel Bennett

    RE: Wrong- latest firmware not unlocked

    Wrong, Latest firmware IS unlocked.

    Whether or not it has been officially released yet I don't know.

    A mate of mine shown me his iphone unlocked latest firmware :)

  21. mike

    MacGyver is right

    if i buy something its mine il do what i want with it use it on any network if a phone. If I buy music il do what I want with it that includes sharing it if i wish either with friends or my radio shows (both over the air and internet).

    It wont be long before you buy a TV but have to watch one channel all these restrictions are simply crap.

  22. Robert Ramsay

    Occam's Razor

    Isn't it easier to consider the possibility that Apple has massively overestimated the number of phones it has sold? Or that (as the Reg has previously pointed out) the great majority of those 1m missing phones are still sitting in warehouses somewhere (presumably next to the Ark of the Covenant) ?

  23. John

    It's my phone

    I'll do what the hell I want with it.

  24. Lickass McClippers

    What did they think was going to happen?

    Honestly. The more draconian you get, the more likely people are to kick out, and do exactly the opposite.

    I'd wager that if they'd left out the lock-in, etc, more people may well have bought this piece'o'pish...

  25. Anonymous Coward

    The Wider Global Picture

    Unless you have first-hand experience, it is genuinely difficult to imagine how things work outside of the country you live in.

    I have lived in the USA with its woefully immature Cellphone network and business practices, in that country the Apple/AT&T deal makes some sense as it at least something of a “norm” to have certain handsets locked to certain carriers.

    In Europe, things are very different as we have the most mature mobile phone networks on the planet, competition is fierce and every handset is available on every network carrier, normally the latest top-of-the-line handsets are given away for free when you sign up for a 12 or 18 month contract, you even get a free upgrade to a brand new top-of-the-line phone when you renew your contract. Apple simply failed to appreciate that the markets differ as much as they do. Sadly, this is very typical of American organisations breaking into foreign markets, clearly this wasn’t researched well enough and the whole project was approached with the old fashioned American model still considered the norm by Apple. This has led to the iPhone missing projected sales figures by a huge margin as thousands of potential iPhone users snub the expensive contract deal and pick up the latest Nokia/Sony/Motorola handsets for free instead – Who can blame them?

    Then there are the emerging markets. This is an area that is widely forgotten by 1st world companies, they know its there but typically they have very little control over how it works. Walk into a Cellphone store in Dubai, Hong Kong etc etc and you can pick up an iPhone off the shelf, packaged as new and completely unlocked. In countries like these you buy the handset completely independently from the cellphone contract (normally handled by the State telecommunications company) so you can pick any handset up anywhere, completely SIM unlocked, even at your local supermarket. I know this, because I used to live in Dubai and I picked up my iPhone there, currently it’s running on the Vodaphone Network in the UK. Remember, these are wealthy states, In Dubai you can barely move for diamond studded Ferraris and Rolex watches – it’s all about the bling – and the iPhone is a huge hit, everyone wants the latest gadget. So, you buy your unlocked phone, you insert your local SIM card and you turn it on, no activation needed, it just works, it’s even covered by a local Apple warranty.

    Some people might wonder where the extra million iphones have got to, but Apple certainly aren’t they know exactly where they are, even if they don’t “officially” sell iPhones in emerging markets… Yeah, right.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mine's unlocked

    Has been since the day after geohot posted the HW unlock. So why is mine unlocked? I live in the UK but spend one week in the US, one week in China and occasional trips elsewhere in the world every month. No way I can afford to use ANY network operator from ANY country on ANY phone with the roaming schedule I have. I use a contract in the UK which gets me a nice shiny new phone, free, every year which keeps the kids very happy as they get the latest handsets. I use prepaid in China and the US.

    The irony is that I use O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US. Frankly the need to unlock is driven by the greed of the operators not Apple. Before I had my iPhone I still needed to get my handsets unlocked to work on any network. This typically cost £20 well less than Apple charge in France but this is not something new that Apple have introduced.

    Until the network operators understand that we live in a global world and they stop gouging for their services people will NEED to unlock their phones. Once the iPhone hype goes away we won't even be talking about this any more...

  27. Darren B

    Buying on contract <> owning phone

    Take a contract + phone out with any network in the UK and you do not own the phone (even if you fork out £200 to start off with) you are buying it on HP. Look at 3's model where the contract is one price per month and then the handset is another price per month.

    Same goes for any mug who gets a free PS3/TV/Trip to Mars with their phone, add it up and you still end up paying for the freebie over the life of the contract.

    The Networks do not hide this fact.

    If you want to put a phone that you can do what you like with then you have to buy it outright first via places like Expansys or Nokia Shop online.

    If Apple have decided not to sell the Jebus Phone in the US and other territories without contract (where laws permit this practice) then it is their beeswax.

  28. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    You actually buy a brick...

    .. plus a *license* to use the software on it. Once that principle is established, the licensor is free to make up whatever conditions they like.

    Yeah, I know.

  29. Jolyon Ralph

    Ipod Touch

    What annoys the hell out of me is that Apple have the same restrictions on installing 3rd party applications on the Ipod Touch that they do on the IPhone - it needs to be jailbroken before you can do this, and then updates will stop your third-party apps from running.

    No contracts with AT&T or O2 here, just simple bloody mindedness from Apple. Want to use someone elses software? You can't until we tell you it's ok.

    Jolyon (who wouldn't swap his jailbroken ipod touch for anything right now. best little portable media player, web browser and now thanks to 3rd party apps - MSN/ICQ/Google Chat/IRC client, SSH client, portable Web server with apache and php! etc, etc, etc.)

  30. Steve Medway

    Want an unlocked iphone in the uk? You must be mental........

    If the latest firmware really could be hacked to create a fully unlocked iphone in the UK you'd be mad to try it.....

    Why you may ask. Simple data rates are soooo huge here that it would actually be cheaper just to give in and go with O2 iphone tariff.

    If you read the small print of most of the uk data tariffs (including the 'all you can eat' ones - which arn't really because there are still caps) and you will find that the it's only port 80 traffic that's included unless you go for an uber expensive, uber-tier tariff.

    All the talking an iphone does with the network could/would be charged for. Much the same as people who have been raped by roaming mobile charges when they've taken their US handset abroad.

    That's not to say that O2 iphone tariffs are 'good value', but the TCO of an unlocked iphone in the UK would be higher than a locked one in most cases. Which is even less reason to go out and buy one.

  31. Duane Caton

    Can't wait till...........

    the new phone comes out (I am betting April 08)- I woun't get one, I'll be too busy laughing at the complaints from the folk who spent all that money................... ($100 voucher anyone?)

    p.s. I added the year in case folk wanted t get picky about it.

  32. Chad H.

    @ marc issacs

    you forget that some iPhone features, ie visual voicemail, are network dependent, unlocked iphones won't be able to use it.

    Lockingsometimes does make sense, it allows the guys making the handset and the guys running the network to come together and design extra features as one.

  33. Frank Bough

    Mr "Not Lost Revenue"

    Has it occurred to you that the upfront price might not actually cover the cost of the device? If that's true, then every unlocked sale represents a real LOSS to Apple.

    There's only one way out of this for Apple, sell an unlocked version of the iPhone separately, and exclusively from their own website and Apple Stores. If they've promised too much on exclusivity, then they won't be able to do this at all.

    As for who'd want one? I would, and the only reason I don't have one now is that I don't want to pay for it twice.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Serves them right

    Apple tried to overhype a sub-par handset by creating market demand artificially (by signing exclusive agreements with certain cellcos). It backfired. Serves them right.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "a subtly striped double-breasted wool suit by Canali Milano"

    "When I bought my Sub Zero Fridge - they didn't tell me who to buy the power from to run the damned thing! Nor did Wolfe do so regarding the gas for the stove. Even BMW didnt' tell me where to buy fuel for the car!"

    Holy crap, it's the man from American Psycho! Posting on The Register!

  37. Kenny Millar

    The missing matter...

    I think that due to the way the phones are sold, I think a significant number of people will have bought the phones, took them home then failed the credit score to activate the phone.

  38. Anonymous Coward


    I love the way everyone goes on about the iPhone being to expensive when they can get phones for FREE. No.. you can't, they don't give you "free" phones unless they are the really really basic ones, otherwise you pay for it, plain and simple.

    An N95 on Orange lowest tariff is £249.99. The only way you get it "free" is to pay £55 a month!! Hardly free.

    The closest comparison, a £35 tariff for 18 months the same as the basic O2 tariff, it'll still cost you £89 to buy the phone.

    iPhone, 200 mins, 200 texts, free data including wireless Cloud access

    N95, 800 mins, 100 texts, £8 a month extra for 30 mg data bundle

    iPhone = £269 + £35x18 = £899

    N95 = £89 + £35x18 + £8x18 = £863

    so the iPhones a rip off because it costs £36 more than its nearest competitor??

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  39. Shakje


    "Sure, Apple make more money on locked phones and less on unlocked phones, but selling an unlocked phone for less profit still beats selling nothing."

    Not true. The RI Ass. of A has consistently proven that ANY illegal download is a lost sale, presumably the same applies here.

    @Dana W

    Stop. No doubt you will play down your fangirlism as a joke, as usual. However, it's firstly, Apple's fault for releasing a feature that isn't supported by other networks (while ignoring features that are supported by many other phones). Releasing it into the wild, if there was the desired uptake, would lead to networks adopting the necessary technology quicker, as a whole. By buying a Jebus phone you are automatically accepting that you are buying a product with less features than similarly priced products, losing one more wouldn't affect purchasing.

    Re: Ipod Touch

    "What annoys the hell out of me is that Apple have the same restrictions on installing 3rd party applications on the Ipod Touch that they do on the IPhone - it needs to be jailbroken before you can do this, and then updates will stop your third-party apps from running."

    This is Apple's UAC, yes, security is good, but the final idea is significantly flawed.

  40. Whitter
    Jobs Horns

    Wrong sales model

    What Apple want to do, but haven't the balls to say, is that the phone is there's. You rent it and the license to run the software: you don't buy the phone.

    That howver does not match the market expectation / sales channels, and they sure as hell don't have a return policy that you'd need to support it. But that's what they want, so its about time they started to sell it.

  41. Lozzyho
    Jobs Horns

    @Gavin Taylor

    No you're not the only one. The day I buy anything from Jobs' Emporium of Shite Tat is the day Satan goes ice-skating to work.

    Nuff said.

  42. MarmiteToast
    Paris Hilton

    How do they operate?

    In the UK when you buy a phone you sign the contract and activate it at the same time. Don't like the contract? Fine, but you aren't getting the phone at the reduced rate, you can pay full retail which is £600+ for a top end Nokia.

    Why can't they do the same at AT&T? Then even if you unlock it you still have the contract and you're still going to be paying Apple. Is this some cancellation grace period law in the US I'm missing?

    PH angle?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gavin Taylor

    try one, you might like it. That is, if you can fit it into your very large handbag...

  44. Anonymous Coward

    RE Prices

    Don't know where you get your figures from. I didn't pay £89 for my N95, it cost me nothing. So by your gigures that takes the cost to £774

    and what do i get for my money?

    A 5 megapixel camera with flash, video recording capability, group sms, gps, ngage functionality coming soon through a free upgrade, 3g internet if wifi isn't available, do I really need to go on?

    All in all, far more for my money than the jesus phone

  45. storng.bare.durid


    Err... Nokia 1610 ftw?

    Bloody 'eck mine got run over by a lorry ... bit scratched up but ... still works.

  46. Bill Norrie

    @Gavin Taylor

    I'm in total agreement with the comments made by Gavin - never owned anything "i" and never will !

  47. Simon Elliott
    Thumb Up

    Better still

    Buy a cheap contract phone and get an iPod touch. Then you get most of the benefits of the iPhone and a cheaper deal.

  48. BatCat

    @Gavin Taylor

    If you're so utilitarian with your gadgets, how come you have a "Smart Phone"?

    Surely a Nokia 1110 (SIM free £30) or similar would be adequate for your telephony needs rather than the overly functional Sony Smart Phone when all you do is make calls and send the odd text?

    There you go, I've saved you a few quid next time you come to renew your phone contract. No need to thank me ;o)

    I think you'll find you're in a minority when it comes to people who have to do stuff on the move, nobody wants to carry a bag load of electronics around with them when they're traveling. On that basis, I'm holding out until the (n)Gen iPhone is released that will do everything my N95 can do, but with the cool iTouch UI and big screen. And, if the Apple bean counters are reading this, I'd happily pay upto £500 for such a device, network lock free. I understand exactly how the maths works behind phones on contract, so I'm happy to pay for the phone out right and pay for the network services separately.


  49. Guy Randall
    Paris Hilton

    You pays your money and makes your choice

    Hello fellow readers.

    No I don't wear gucci loafers or black turtlenecks or drink starbucks, but I do own an iPhone.

    For the record the best Mobile 'Phone' I have ever owned was a Nokia 6310i (which I wished they would reintroduce), but the best multimedia/email/phone/web browser I have ever used is the iphone. Why because it works, yeah it sometimes a bit slow and occasionally it seems to hang, but no more than any other handset I have ever owned. Is any other handset worth paying this much for. Not that I have found so far!. It is the only phone that I can take music/Movies/photos/email on the road with that also synchronises to my outlook and dot mac email account (out of the box and ready to use in 10 minutes). Yes! so it perfectly fits my needs and I am happy. Even paying £35 a month, my blackberry 7230 used to cost me more.

    If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club, if not naff off and stop saying I shouldn't have mine.

    Paris, because she is better looking than either Steve or Bill and you'd rather spend time with her than a penguin or that amanfrommars fellow.


  50. Anonymous Coward

    Hack the SIM not the phone...

    Latest approach to running the iPhone on any network is to hack the SIM card, so it doesn't matter what f/w the phone is running and you don't have to open the phone to do it.

    It works a bit like chipping a games console, a wafer thin PCB and "mod chip" piggy-backs the SIM card and fools the phone into thinking it's an O2 (or whatever network) SIM.

    Where there's a will, there's a way - as the saying goes...

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gavin Taylor

    You watch movies on your laptop? Primary function of a laptop is playing movies is it? Guess you wouldn't use it for anything else then since it obviously couldn't do more than one thing well huh? Oh, but then your probably reading this on your laptop as well. Probably write documents on it as well? Play the odd game eh?

    So you use your laptop to watch videos, listen to music, play games, surf the net, write emails and thats fine.

    An iPhone user uses his iPhone to watch videos, listen to music, play games, surf then net, write emails and hes a moron. Sound logic there buddy.

    Bet you've got a fax machine, a printer, a scanner AND a photo copier at home as well huh??

  52. William Bronze badge

    RE: wow

    Some really bitter people out there. Last time I checked no-one was forcing any of you to buy an iPhone. There are plenty of other networks available and handset manufacturers you go for. I really don't see the point in getting worked up about "how the system is against yo" and the drum banging brigade claiming their rights supersede all others.

    If you don't like the network Apple have partnered with, then don't buy it.

    If you don't like the fact you are not legally entitled to hack the phone, then don't buy it.

    If you don't like the price, then don't buy one.

    If you don't like Apple products in general, then don't friggin buy them.

    No-one is holding your family hostage until you do you know. Grow up and relax a little, some of you guys are heading towards high blood pressure and coronary heart disease... Time to take a reality check I think.

  53. Tom Kelsall

    Screw the iPhone

    I bought an iPod Nano two years ago and it's crap. I hate iTunes and I hate the fact I can't just drag and drop sh!t onto the player like I can with just about ANY other player. So I haven't bought anything Apple since. iPhone? Why would I buy one? I get more features as standard on my Samsung G600 for a MUCH lower price and on a better value contract. I wouldn't buy an unlocked one simply because the phone, while it's pretty, is UTTER SH!T. It's only a "must have" for the looks and the user interface - when you realise what it can't DO, it's just a brick anyway. I don't want one and never will.

    There are even other phones out there now coming out with similar touch-based interfaces which have all the missing features. iPhone? Stick it up yer arris. This is a non-debate as, if what the world is saying is true, then this business model will fail and the iPhone will become another BetaMax/Dragon32... dead in the water because of a poor business and marketing plan.

  54. Jared Earle

    Marmite Phone

    Post about the iPhone and every tw@ and his horse will come onto the comments section, myself included, to fight their corner. What is it about the Marmite Phone that garners so much friction?

    I have one and realised that if I weren't on a flat data tariff, I'd be paying £70/month just on surfing/mail. I travel up to three hours a day to and from work on public transport and hammer the bandgirth an awful lot.

    Yes, I have a decent camera to take photos and a laptop for movies, but I can be almost certain I won't have them on me at any given time.

    The iPhone isn't for everyone, but for those of us for whom it is, leave us alone. Come on, it's just a phone, albeit a good one. No-one is forcing you to want one, let alone buy one.

    @AC: IWC on the left.

  55. xjy

    Unlocked phone = lost sale NOT

    This is like Micro$aft and Windows. Lots of armwaving about how terrible the "piracy" is, but lots of behind-the-scenes glee at how the piracy makes market share even more formidable. Every pirate user is someone who is locked into the system, and will be hard to move away to any competitor. This is the "dark matter" in the computer universe that prevents Linux from expanding the way it would if there wasn't any freeloading. Russia, China, India.

    And MS and Ballmer are always ready to give their poison away for next to nothing if it's necessary to stop say a national or local government from going open source.

    It's also like the Catholic Church. No sinners - no Pope.

    The dialectic of light and dark.

  56. Shell

    @ AC

    Of course when you buy an iPhone it is yours. You can do what you want with it. But Apple don't have to support it. If you choose to modify any device you own you cannot expect the latest updates for that product to work - how could they possibly support all the modification you could do?

    I've not jail broken my iPhone. I'm happy to wait for the SDKs to come out and smarter ppl than me write cool tools for it, without risking the stability of the phone or it's usage on the O2 network.

    The iPhone is a consumer device, like an iPod, not a techie toy. So long as it remains a relatively sealed box, Apple have complete control over the UI and in turn the usability (for all of Apple's woes, they are very good at this). The instant the iPhone becomes another device cluttered with poorly designed apps (Nokia phones, from a usability "user experience" point of view).

  57. Lozzyho
    Jobs Horns


    "Of course when you buy an iPhone it is yours. You can do what you want with it. But Apple don't have to support it."

    You didn't think about that one before you wrote it, did you? Does the Apple update say "No I'm not updating your iPhone because you've modified it"?

    No, it doesn't. It goes ahead and DELIBERATELY turns the expensive device into a useless brick, just to punish you.

    I don't think the people who mod an iPhone would complain if Apple JUST refused to support the mod. That's not what the class action lawsuit is about...

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @shell - Of course it is yours to keep

    Which is why when you go back to them after one month and cancel your 18 Month contract you don't have to pay for the remaining 17 months to keep the handset.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I feel dirty

    I saw an El Reg article with "iPhone" in the title and clicked on it.

    Then I read the comments.

    Then I posted one.

    The human condition's a bitch.

  60. peter

    RE:Hack the SIM not the phone...

    I think the same way, but they had some problems with the latest firmware and are remaking lots of the SIM unlock cards for it.

    This isn't the jailbreaking , just fools the phone into accepting any sim card so you can use it as normal. 6th Gen is 1.1.3 , only up to 1.1.2 so far.

    The PCB is a bit thick but sits in front of your SIM card and spoofs AT&T i presume.

    Important Information for existing orders: We have previously informed customers that we will be receiving the new 6th generation unlock cards for iPhone. This is the reason orders are held is because the manufacturer informed us recently that the 6th generation cards contain severe software glitches.

  61. Mectron
    Thumb Down

    try looking at the right place....

    In the sewers for example. where all Apple products belong.

    But it migh be simply that most of those iCrap where sold to peoples who had no cash left to activate the phone after paying such a grosse overprice for a inferior over hyped piece of rubish.

  62. Robert Long
    Paris Hilton

    Cheap phones

    I'm still using my Siemens A55 which cost 20 quid. The reason I'm still using it is that I've not seen anything better at any price. Anyone that pays three figures for a phone is a retard.

  63. RW

    Milton Friedman Rises From the Dead

    "Don't bleat Apple are evil - they are just in business to make money."

    Or, as Milton Friedman put it, to maximize shareholder value, the consequences be damned. This idea that making money excuses or justifies any kind of behavior has to be stamped out.

    It's time to insist that corporations' first responsibility be to society as a whole, in the broadest possible sense, secondarily to their customers and employees, and only third to their shareholders. IOW, Apple would have to be ethical and honest, even if doing so cramps Steve Jobs' style and reduces his profits. View the loss as the cost of benefiting from the laws that create the legal fiction "corporation."

  64. david

    Pretty and Stupid

    When one showed off iPhone, he got a Wow; when his friends found out the contract locked into, he got WOOWs. It's quite amusing. You got the bragging right; and your friends got the right calling you stupid behind your back.

  65. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    is this the key to sdk

    18 84 58 A6 D1 50 34 DF E3 86 F2 3B 61 D4 37 74 :)

  66. Waldo
    Jobs Horns

    And you did not guess this might happen!!!!

    "being operated on unauthorized wireless networks"

    So sue me!

    To paraphrase:


    Well sir, we will sell this car, but you can only drive it on the roads we authorise"

    PAH HUMBUG. get a life Apple, stop being a greedy, control freak.

    WE are the customer NOT you....

  67. J
    IT Angle


    "Has it occurred to you that the upfront price might not actually cover the cost of the device?"

    I remember reading somewhere (here on El Reg, I'm sure) that someone had disassembled a Jesus Phone and come up with a bill of materials of around $200 or something like that. So probably yes, they would still profit a little (I wonder what would marketing and distribution and etc. costs be per phone).

  68. This post has been deleted by its author

  69. Henry Blackman
    Thumb Up


    ... O2, in the UK, just changed the tariffs. Not that they where *that* bad anyway, but they've just tripled the minutes, and 2.5'ed the texts for the same prices. Check out

    In other words, now the tariffs are actually very competitive, with UNLIMITED data via Wifi-The Cloud and EDGE, it's pretty good.

    Less for the complainers, to complain about!

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    People still use phones?

    Hi all,

    I "accidentally" left my nokia in France last summer, and didn't get it back till last month. I had been without my phone for all that time, and guess what?

    I discovered I never "needed" on in the first place.

    I used to think "What did we ever do without mobiles..", bollox, all they do is stress you out, or cause accidents on the roads.

    Try doing without one for a while, you will be richer and happier I guarantee it.

    p.s.: feck Steve Jobs, which I write from my lovely ibook with it's brand new upgraded OS -- whatever its called, the one after tiger. Phone's suck arse.

  71. Anonymous Coward


    I'm on orange too but at least in the UK you can pay the service provider to unlock the phone for you.

  72. Ed

    @Darren B

    Damn straight. If Apple only wants to sell the phone on their insane terms that's their business. We don't have to Obey The Jobs!

    I for one would rather buy something that does the job I need it to do without hacking or re purposing. If that means you're suck with some slaptard carrier and contract that you don't want to use, then don't buy the phone. Pretty simple.

    If BMW wouldn't sell me a car without signing a contract that said I'd only put gas from Exxon in it, I'd laugh and them a buy a different car. (Not that I'd ever buy a BMW anyway, and I'm not so shallow that I have to tell the world the brand names of the products I own.)

    If you sign the contract, you deal with it. No sympathy from me.

  73. Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait until Friday

    O2 are issuing new tariffs on Friday, so everyone will have to recalculate all their "I love it" and "I hate it" sums again, and we can go around and around and around and around all over again.

  74. William Bronze badge

    At waldo

    "WE are the customer NOT you...."

    Indeed you are the customer and as such you are not forced in any way to purchase an iPhone. Were you not aware of this?

  75. Anonymous Coward


    The reason we pay more in the UK is the cost of import duty not because someone thought hey lets screw the British more than everyone else and the Japanese more than the US different taxes cause this not artifically modified RRPs.

  76. Joe M

    @Gavin Taylor

    Good on you Gavin! I'm with you too.

  77. daniel
    Paris Hilton


    HTF does a top of the range mobile phone cost more than a mid-range laptop PC?

    WTF does a pay as you go phone cost more per minute than a subsidised phone that contains airtime+handset "repayment"?

    PH, as she seems to take as many people for a ride as Apple...

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I didn't take the time to read through all 9000 responses to el Reg's latest nugget on the iPhone, but several things struck me while I was scrolling through the list:

    1) If apple wasn't receiving kick back from AT&T on subscriptions of this thing then they'd only be concerned about selling boxes and not which carrier the PAYING CUSTOMER went through.

    2) Someone attempted to defend the lock-in to AT&T as a way for AT&T to recover ramp up for some new service, associated with the iPhone. OK, obviously, as the technology matures, certain portions will spread across to other phone manufacturers, either through partnerships with AT&T or Apple. As a potential customer, my first response would be "Not my problem, AT&T". And based on their quality of service, or lack there of, in my personal experience, I'd be one of the first people who'd want to stick it to the bastards.

    3) I think Apple is being really myopic about forcing the customer to lock in with AT&T, because based their projected sales, the statistics based on "hacked phones" and the lack luster sales in Europe, the only people Apple are screwing is Apple and their shareholders.

    Personally, I think their over rated but hey, money is money...

  79. Glenn Gilbert

    New prices

    Amazing: it's like O2 have listened to their [potential] customers and are finally giving a much better deal.

    The only question now is have they changed their eye-wateringly expensive international data roaming rates - £7.50/Mb!

    Hmm, I wonder if this will finally get the iPhone moving in the UK.

  80. Anonymous Coward

    idon't iwant ione ithankyou

    ino, inot ifor ime

  81. Anonymous Coward

    International iphones

    i-phone articles really seem to bring out the fanboys dont they. From my perspective living outside the US/UK/Europe I cant officially purchase the iphone here so without an unlocked phone Apple would have missed out on my business. I have no trouble believing there are 500k plus i-phones unlocked around the world.

    And obviously my i-phone will only turn into a brick if I let it. Its not hard to turn off the update notifications and even when you get nagged each time a new version comes out the update is still optional.

    The i-phone has its issues (no removable battery being the worst) but on the whole it is pretty good and much easier to use than my wifes N95.

  82. Anonymous Coward

    granny smith

    The whole thing is based on the assumption that apple is telling the truth about the numbers.

  83. MacGyver
    Thumb Down

    BMW won't tell you what road to drive on.

    BMW won't tell you what road to drive on, but if I change the oil myself, and I want the "Service Engine" light to go off in my BMW 316i, I have to go to an authorized BMW service center to make my car dashboard not look like it's in need of service soon, it's not like my Saturn, where I just hold down the Oil service reset switch. I know everything is ok, but forget trying to sell the thing without paying them off to reset it.

  84. DanBe

    In Belgium...

    In Belgium, it is ILLEGAL to tie a good and a service, a mobile phone and a carrier.

    All phones must be unlockable.

    Thus, we have no official iPhones in Belgium...

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All I know is that...

    Everyone I know here in the US with an iPhone has an unlicked one. But then, I work (and most people I know work as well) in the IC industry where the folks are too sophisticated to tolerate the Apple Group Think way of life.

  86. Ken

    Wow, what a bunch of whiners

    Let's see if we can summarize...

    "I bought something, I can do whatever I want with it." hmmm...I can buy a Porsche, but I can't do whatever the Hell I want with it. I can buy a gun, I can't do whatever I want to with that either...

    "Apple is evil, they sell stuff and make money while doing it." It's called capitalism, if you missed the last 80 years, it won, deal with it.

    "It must be illegal if I don't like something about it." The reason I hate reading the editorial page on any newspaper in the US.


  87. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark Wills

    "So, now I'm using my 5 year old Nokia 6310i, and very happy. Battery lasts twice as long two! It does what it says on the tin, don't need all those fancy features."

    Apart from maybe a spell checker, eh?

  88. Dana W

    @ Shakje

    "Stop. No doubt you will play down your fangirlism as a joke, as usual. However, it's firstly, Apple's fault for releasing a feature that isn't supported by other networks"

    Bad old Apple going and innovating like that! Don't they know Apple does not innovate? They only make shiny gadgets that go bing! Everyone here says so! How dare they? :)

    "By buying a Jebus phone you are automatically accepting that you are buying a product with less features than similarly priced products'

    Ok where do I get my real web browser, "No I do not count IE, I'm partial to security" my real internet, none of this web for pocket devices stuff" My roaming Wi Fi? My full video and audio player, all in a device small enough to put in a shirt pocket? And sealed enough so daily use or a drop of coffee does not stick a key?

    Oh yes, I had so many choices! I'm obviously being taken terrible advantage of. In Europe the phones may all be AI super beings, I've heard it here that all Euro phones are super. Fine. But our phones here in the states are frankly not great. In eight years of mobile phones I Finally have one that does everything I actually want, flawlessly and elegantly. Yet simply by having it, and enjoying it you paint me up as a cultist?

    I'd have been happy with a Symbian phone, as the only American I ever knew with a Psion 5 I loved Epoc "Symbian" and I used it till it fell to pieces. I'd buy a Symbian phone in a heartbeat if it did what I wanted. Or a Linux one. I run Linux too remember?

    I'm still trying to get a Psion 7. Or even another Psion 5. Am I a Psion fangirl too?

    I'm going to try this one more time, now listen carefully. JUST BECAUSE I BOUGHT AN APPLE PRODUCT DOES NOT IMPLY A CULT WORSHIP OF STEVE JOBS. I like what he is making NOW. I did not like it pre Tiger. And if it changes in functionality or security I will buy something else I like better.

    Show me a good non windows dependent 160 gig multi media player the size of an iPod for a reasonable price. I'll buy that. I don't like iTunes either. Show me a phone that meets MY needs better than the one I have now I'll buy that. and no the Nokia N95 does not. Poor screen, jumbled mechanical buttons, dreadful layout. And Bulkier too. I didn't like it. Pity, I like the OS.

    Again, and listen carefully THIS IS NOT A RELIGION. I will seriously look at any Non Microsoft product. I gave Microsoft 15 years of my life, they gave me acid reflux and migraine headaches. A strong experience based detestation for Microsoft products does not make me an "Apple Fangirl" or whatever smear you find it trendy to give to people who simply tire of buying YOUR pet brand name.

    I have spent fifteen years building and supporting Microsoft Home systems. Both professionally, and as a hobby. I quit. If You want to se a "fanboy" may I respectfully suggest the bathroom mirror?

  89. Mark

    Gavin, you are not alone

    I have a cannon A40 and Olympus e500 for photos. I have an iRiver HDD player and iRiver iFP flash player (so I do have something with an i in front), I have an alcatel mobile and I have a cheap laptop.

    Oh, and for anyone who thinks hayden is right (I think he's being silly, not serious), if I'm buying a license to use, when you stop me using it, can I have my money back? Only fair.

  90. This post has been deleted by its author

  91. Paul

    why can't the operators be honest and make it a rental agreement?

    to me, buying a phone locked to a network is pretty much like signing a rent contract... in which case, why don't the operators just do this? phone locking to SIM or network is bad bad BAD - it's entirely contrary to the whole spirit of GSM - why bother to have a removable SIM at all if the device which takes it is a prisoner of the network?

    the honest thing to do would be to rent the handsets. this would prevent people tampering with the operator's handsets, and have the additional benefit of unused phones being returned to the operator where they will not be wasted gathering dust in a drawer, but could be refurbished and sold to 3rd world countries or recycled efficiently!

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dana

    What did Apple actually "innovate"? Hell, I had a gprs enabled iPaq, a couple years before the iPhone was ever released... I could connect to the internet, cellularly or via wifi, receive my mail and if it wasn't against corporate policy, I could have gotten one with a camera.

    BFD. It's nothing more than an iPood with a few bells & whistles.

    Apple has don't nothing revolutionary... They just polished things up a little bit and stuck the screws to its own customer base.

  93. Dana W


    All that noise and you never answered my question.

    Who can give me 160 gigs of very portable non windows multi media player for a comparable price? Or even for more money? Nobody? Welcome to innovation.

    You also didn't provide a phone to fit my requirements. If Apple does it and no one else can compete in a market share its innovation. Thats what innovation means. And here in its home the iPhone sells.

    And the ipaq didn't have a full web browser. Or a screen capable of using one. At least the Nokia N95 does not expect me to use Windows mobile!

    And High end movies or media on your ipaq? Right, less machine and bulkier for as much or more money.

    Im still waiting for the phone that would be as easy, light and well equipped, pity all you did was scream "Apple sucks" even harder to the smaller and smaller crowd of Apple bashers. Next time try being on topic. But thanks for playing.

    And you think we are sheep for being fed up with crap... Anything but Microsoft.

  94. Anonymous Coward


    'Who can give me 160 gigs of very portable non windows multi media player for a comparable price? Or even for more money?'

    Archos 504 160GB Portable Digital Media Player and Recorder

    Weighs 11.5 ounces, is non-microsoft and supports many more formats than the ipod classic, larger screen, replaceable battery and for LESS money. Didn't look very hard did you Dana. You are such a fangirl and so anti-ms you are BLIND to anything else.

    As for your rant 'where do I get my real web browser, "No I do not count IE, I'm partial to security'

    What does the iphone ship with? would that be Safari? and you think that is secure?

    I smell the fetid droppings of a large bovine creature

  95. Tim
    Thumb Down

    Re: Prices

    "I love the way everyone goes on about the iPhone being to expensive when they can get phones for FREE. No.. you can't, they don't give you "free" phones unless they are the really really basic ones, otherwise you pay for it, plain and simple.


    iPhone = £269 + £35x18 = £899

    N95 = £89 + £35x18 + £8x18 = £863

    so the iPhones a rip off because it costs £36 more than its nearest competitor??

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."

    Hang on!... N95... SIM FREE = £360, NO CONTRACT. Just slap in a PAYG 3G SIM if you like. No monthly fee.

    That's one hell of a lot cheaper than the iPhone at £899!!!!! (especially if you are the kind of person who will use it for VoIP, WiFi mostly).

    And that's the real point. The iPhone costs as much in retail value as the retail (SIM free) price of any other phone BUT you are forced to take a contract on top. That's the real rip off.

  96. Dana W

    And I'll look for it

    "Archos 504 160GB Portable Digital Media Player and Recorder"

    Sounds fine, if its not a tank it may well be my next MP3 player, Thank you. I'm serious, I'm more than happy to look at non Microsoft alternatives

    Nope, I looked, its HUGE. How am going to put that a shirt pocket? Its a tank.

    And if you want to tell me IE is more secure than Safari, well all I can say is I'm sorry this thread will die before I get a chance to laugh at your expense a little more.

    "Blinded by my hatred of Microsoft? LOL right. I simply don't by junk. I don't eat McDonalds Hamburgers either. Life is too short to buy crap.

    Oh yes, the ONE browser exploit you linked to for the iPhone was patched within a week. How many thousands of IE exploits are there? :)

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