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Apple’s iPhones are being unlocked at alarming rates

The trendy iPhones are being unlocked left and right.  What does unlocked mean?  It means being able to use the iPhone with any phone carrier (i.e. Tmobile, Verizon, Sprint) and within any international market.  Currently, the iPhone is being offered solely through ATT and within the United States.  So, it is not officially authorized or set up for non-ATT or overseas markets.  However, where there is a will, there’s a way!  Many programmers or determined phone users have unlocked many phones.

Apple has reportedly sold 3.7 million iPhones at the end of 2007.  However, only 2 million units have been activated through ATT.  That leave 1.7 million iPhones missing!  This discrepancy has certainly affected Apple’s stock price, bringing it down 34% since the beginning of the year. 

Insiders say that up to 1 million phones have been unlocked, especially in nations like China where Apple has yet to put a footprint.  These unlockers need to know about basic engineering and skilled enough to know which chips are connected to the phone carriers’ satellites.  Is this illegal?  Not really.  As long as ATT is the only subscriber for iPhones, then hackers are allowed to use the phone with other carriers.  This is because Apple has treaded the shallow waters by creating a quasi-monopoly with ATT, but has stated it is providing iPhones via ATT first, and then will open up channels to other phone carriers.  Since the FCC is not so thrilled about this alignment, they are not going to be aggressively pursuiting iPhone hackers.

Furthermore, it may be argued that Apple is the overall winner here.  Apple is being hyped up internationally where it hasn’t put an effort into a iPhone presence.  Also, there is a buzz here in the US by this underground unlocked craze.  Once again, Apple is the rebel and gossip of the computer gadget industry.

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