With O2 and AT&T reporting contract signings at their respective sales points, I think the idea of an unlocked iPhone 3G will soon become moot. If you can’t get one without signing on the dotted line, what’s the value in pulling it off your local network? And why was the original iPhone cracked wide open weeks after launch?
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I honestly believe that Apple, behind the scenes, offered solace and comfort to the iPhone hackers. While no one has come out to admit it, the fact that the iPhone SDK has been essentially a known quantity for almost a year I think official hands have been leaking – and cracking – iPhones in order to prepare the world for the idea of the App Store. Why else would Steve basically say “Let them eat web apps” last year? Why else would every version of the firmware open up like a tasty clam hours after launch? And why would the iPhone come unattached to service and the onus be on the user to activate it at home?
The original iPhone was a way to get the phone into as many hands as possible and to prepare them for more draconian rules to come. AT&T was probably not happy that Apple wanted it thus, but now they’re getting their 2-year contracts and reducing churn and Apple has an army of willing developers and users – soon in 70 countries. The iPhone 1 had to be as ubiquitous and desirable as the iPod. Recall that the iTunes store didn’t exist until years after the first iPod hit. Now with the App store, everyone gets a little green and we get stuck with Apple’s service provider of record. Sucks to be us.