Apple now sells unlocked iPhones

Today’s post is just a quick blurb about Apple now selling unlocked iPhones. Yesterday, I explained the difference between unlocking and jailbreaking and today I found out that Apple now sells the iPhone already unlocked.

Why would you want an unlocked iPhone? The number one reason is so you don’t have to be locked into any contracts with a cell phone provider. These contracts are designed in such ways that keep you under their thumb so you can’t upgrade whenever you want, you can’t change plans very easily and you can’t cancel without paying a hefty termination fee. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits:

  • No contracts
  • No carrier locks – You can swap SIM cards in your iPhone with just about any other SIM card you can get a hold of.
  • No country restrictions – Because you can use SIM cards from other services, you are no longer bound by your country of origin.
  • No roaming – You no longer need to roam when travelling out of your network.
  • Resell value – An unlocked phone will always be worth more than regular phones.

The price of an unlocked phone is basically the retail price. In the case of the iPhone 4, the 16GB model is $649 and the 32GB model is $749. Both of these can be purchased directly from the Apple store.

All of this makes you wonder if it’s possible to simply unlock your own device. I know back in the old days, when Nokia was really big, you could literally unlock your phone by uploading some flashed firmware and you’d be good. Today, things are a bit more complicated due to newer technology and better ways for companies to secure their proprietary software. After searching the Internet for some time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no legitimate way to unlock an iPhone.

Of course there are workarounds and carrier hacks that work after jailbreaking your device, but nothing seems to really stick. Generally, these “fixes” will only last until the next software update—assuming you can even update your device without bricking it.

One such workaround was a service provided by GSM Phone Source that claimed they could issue you a new IMEI number that is not locked to AT&T for a small fee of $180, however, accessing their page in regards to the product simply spits out the following: The product you are trying to view no longer exists. Even if they could “whitelist” your IMEI number or provide you with a new one, who’s to say Apple (or AT&T) couldn’t remove that number just as easily it was added?

I found another interesting product called the Rebel Micro SimCard that apparently enables your phone to work unlocked by using a specially designed SIM card and tray that slips right into your existing slot. From what I’ve read and seen, these cards get the job done. But again, you’re still possibly stuck by not being able to upgrade in the future…unless they release new product updates.

My advice is to just buy the officially unlocked phone if you need one!