German iPhones Unlocked by iTunes

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MacNotes.de (German) provides early notes and experiences from customers who have bought unlocked iPhones in Germany.

The first SIM-unlocked iPhones went on sale in Germany on November 21st with a considerable (600 euro) premium over the usual SIM-locked iPhones. "Unlocked" simply means that the phone is not tied to any one network provider (such as AT&T or T-Mobile) and can accept any SIM card.

The unlocking process is as follows: You simply buy a regular iPhone ("locked") and pay the additional premium (999 euro total). Your iPhone's IMEI number is recorded and sent to Apple. After 24 hours or so, Apple's database is updated. At this stage, once you connect your iPhone to iTunes, the iPhone is automatically unlocked in a process that is described as taking only "seconds". You can then proceed to sync your now-unlocked iPhone with iTunes. The firmware remains at version 1.1.2 after the unlock. The process raises a number of questions and also opens the possibility of unauthorized unlocking solutions to become readily available.

The sale of unlocked iPhones in Germany was forced by a temporary injunction against T-Mobile, and could potentially be overturned at a future court date.

Regardless, Apple is required to offer unlocked iPhones in France after 6 months according to French law, so the infrastructure must remain available in iTunes. The iPhone will launch in France on November 29th.


Article Link
 

thevofl

macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2006
191
160
I say sell them unlocked here in the US as well. They can sell them for $1199. Being an AT&T customer, it will be interesting to watch the reaction.
 

redkamel

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2006
432
28
holy shnikes!!! 999 euros!!! I cant believe people will buy it (probably wont)! I BARELY bought it at the first price! the 399 is acceptable...but 999 euros!!! (blink blink) thats more than a macbook in the US!!! Steves gone mad!
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
I sort of wish that the iPhone was always sold unlocked and never on any carrier, but at a more reasonable price point. I suppose that they would not have sold as many iPhones that way, however, since we Americans can't seem to grasp the concept of unlocked phones...
 

brianbobcat

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2003
162
12
Illinois
IMEI Numbers?

So does anyone think Apple is tracking IMEI numbers so that unlocked phones don't end up stateside without AT&T? My friend has T-mobile here and doesn't want to switch, but does want an iPhone? Would it be illegal for him to bring a phone back form europe and use it here with T-mobile, of course without the Visual Voicemail, ect?

-Brian
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,268
3,410
So does anyone think Apple is tracking IMEI numbers so that unlocked phones don't end up stateside without AT&T? My friend has T-mobile here and doesn't want to switch, but does want an iPhone? Would it be illegal for him to bring a phone back form europe and use it here with T-mobile, of course without the Visual Voicemail, ect?
I would guess that the IMEI is cross-checked against the Apple database with each iTunes sync, and the phone gets locked if it's not an "authorized' IMEI.

That's just a pure guess... but it makes sense.

arn
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
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My friend has T-mobile here and doesn't want to switch, but does want an iPhone? Would it be illegal for him to bring a phone back form europe and use it here with T-mobile, of course without the Visual Voicemail, ect?
At this stage I'd wait and see what happens with the French phones.
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
I would guess that the IMEI is cross-checked against the Apple database with each iTunes sync, and the phone gets locked if it's not an "authorized' IMEI.

That's just a pure guess... but it makes sense.

arn
Why wouldn't they allow it? It's unlocked. Once it's unlocked, you can put any SIM into it.
 

LastZion

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2006
569
3
Why wouldn't they allow it? It's unlocked. Once it's unlocked, you can put any SIM into it.
Exactly, thats why they are paying 600 euro's.
Can't wait for them to offer this elsewhere. Interested to see where that 600 euro's goes, what % to apple, what % to network...
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
Exactly, thats why they are paying 600 euro's.
Can't wait for them to offer this elsewhere. Interested to see where that 600 euro's goes, what % to apple, what % to network...
I actually think that €399 or $399 is the real MSRP and €999 was a price Apple/DT made up to be ridiculously high because they don't want to be selling unlocked iPhones.
 

duyvan82

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2007
90
1
Sydney, Australia
IMO, the price is ridiculous, a fully (or partially) unlocked iPhone at the same price as a MacBook >_<

The only good thing about this is that I really hope the iphone dev team will find out a way to unlock OOB 1.1.2 "using" this technique. I really wanna make some calls using my iPhone (which has been used as an expensive iTouch since lol)
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
IMO, the price is ridiculous, a fully (or partially) unlocked iPhone at the same price as a MacBook >_<

The only good thing about this is that I really hope the iphone dev team will find out a way to unlock OOB 1.1.2 "using" this technique. I really wanna make some calls using my iPhone (which has been used as an expensive iTouch since lol)
I remember MR did a breakdown of the cost of parts in the iPhone, and it totaled to somewhere around $250. They're making almost $1250 in profit here! That price of €999 was clearly set just so people wouldn't buy it.
 

xUKHCx

Administrator emeritus
Jan 15, 2006
12,583
7
The Kop
I remember MR did a breakdown of the cost of parts in the iPhone, and it totaled to somewhere around $250. They're making almost $1250 in profit here! That price of €999 was clearly set just so people wouldn't buy it.
Or it is set so high to recoup the lost revenue from not having the person subscribe to a contract.
 

psxndc

macrumors regular
May 30, 2002
216
0
I remember MR did a breakdown of the cost of parts in the iPhone, and it totaled to somewhere around $250. They're making almost $1250 in profit here! That price of €999 was clearly set just so people wouldn't buy it.
a) there is more to the iPhone than the internal parts, e.g., costs to repair under warranty, costs to provide wireless iTunes, etc. so to say profit is based on the internal costs alone is silly. b) Apple is expecting to make $432 per iPhone from the $18/month they are getting from AT&T over the course of a two-year contract. Whether you think Apple should get that is another matter, but it is what they are expecting. Now, if AT&T is out of the picture, i.e., via an unlocked iPhone being used on another carrier, then that's $432 Apple isn't getting and that is what they are trying to make up for. I can't explain the 999 Euros vs. $432 USD difference, but the $432 is part of the discrepancy.

I told a T-Mobile rep the other day (when purchasing my Blackberry Curve) that T-Mobile's customer service is the only reason I haven't gotten an iPhone (since really, T-Mo's service IS great and I don't want to switch to AT&T). The rep suggested I buy an iPhone and unlock it and told me several customers did that and were happy with it. I thought it was funny, but meh, not worth the headache.
 

Plumbstone

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2007
229
0
I imagine the extra money for the unlocked version equates pretty well with what Apple would make in 18 months off their deal with AT&T or O2, They are after all a business and don't really care if they get their money direct from the consumer or via a network.

It also appears that some people at least are willing to pay the premium in advance to own an iphone rather than pay it over the course of 18 months via their phone bills like everyone else (illegal unlockers aside of course). Ultimately every "legal" iphone owner will end up paying roughly the same premium to Apple to own an iPhone.
 

TheSpecialist

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2007
475
0
The Netherlands, Europe
Very interesting. I think Apple keeps the unlocking technique on their servers with IMEI numbers. I guess that your iPhone's IMEI have to be verified by the Apple server, else it would not unlock. I doubt hackers can use this technique.
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,146
99
Now Microsoft can actually say that the iPhone is the most expensive phone nowadays (not taking into account all those silly phones made of gold or filled with diamonds, that is!!!)
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
You make a good point. I forgot about that, but still, thats another unexplained $800 of profit there.

The customer service is somehing I miss from t-mobile. I also miss the non-utilized 850 band on t-mobile because I still use unlocked phones lacking it from time to time. I'm pretty happy with AT&T, though.
a) there is more to the iPhone than the internal parts, e.g., costs to repair under warranty, costs to provide wireless iTunes, etc. so to say profit is based on the internal costs alone is silly. b) Apple is expecting to make $432 per iPhone from the $18/month they are getting from AT&T over the course of a two-year contract. Whether you think Apple should get that is another matter, but it is what they are expecting. Now, if AT&T is out of the picture, i.e., via an unlocked iPhone being used on another carrier, then that's $432 Apple isn't getting and that is what they are trying to make up for. I can't explain the 999 Euros vs. $432 USD difference, but the $432 is part of the discrepancy.

I told a T-Mobile rep the other day (when purchasing my Blackberry Curve) that T-Mobile's customer service is the only reason I haven't gotten an iPhone (since really, T-Mo's service IS great and I don't want to switch to AT&T). The rep suggested I buy an iPhone and unlock it and told me several customers did that and were happy with it. I thought it was funny, but meh, not worth the headache.
 
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