Originally Posted by sapporobaby
Just a rough calculation:
1.5 iPhones x $399.00 (suggested price of US iPhone) = $598,500,000 = Smiling Steve Jobs
By the way, I am more than sure that Apple saw this unlocking, locking issue coming on the horizon.
You're missing two crucial points. First, the number of unlocked iPhones has to be way above anything Apple initially calculated for. Secondly, Apple looses monthly revenue from each iPhone not activated on one of their partners' network.
I, for one, am not surprised at all by the high number of unlocked iPhones, but I do not think Apple (or AT&T for that matter) expected that as many as 1-in-4 iPhones would be unlocked. (I think that number is closer to 30-35% myself).
My guess is that Apple and AT&T sat at the negotiating table and estimated that perhaps as many as 10% would be unlocked, as a certain number is inevitable, and wouldn't really hurt either company. But I think both companies are sincerely surprised by what has happened, and that we'll see more aggressive locking attempts in the near future.
The situation is out of hand, and I think it's going to be up to Apple to fix it. Clearly Apple has an exclusive relationship with AT&T which requires Apple to take steps to prevent AT&T from loosing revenue, and AT&T is likely putting pressure on Apple to enforce their end of the deal. But, as I point out below, given the agreement between the companies, Apple wins when they keep the iPhone locked, so that will grease the wheels, so to speak.
I say-and have said since the iPhone rumor stage-that this arrangement is plain wrong. I suggested that that the carrier, in this case AT&T, earn the iPhone activation by offering exclusive features, for example.
But that's not the reality. Apple has an exclusive with AT&T and I fully expect to see Apple make it harder and harder to unlock the iPhone starting as soon as 1.1.4.
That said, Apple has a reason to keep iPhones locked. They earn monthly revenue stream from each legitimately activated iPhone. Estimates are that Apple earns as much as $10/ from each handset, so Apple actually doesn't smile, necessarily, when they sell an iPhone that is destined to be unlocked.
It's this arrangement with partner networks that ensures that Apple take steps to keep the iPhone locked.
For the record, I think locking handsets is total bullshi*, and asked that the iPhone ship unlocked long before the iPhone shipped (when iPhone rumors were very young). That didn't happen and I think that a locked iPhone hurts everyone involved from Apple to AT&T to customers to shareholders.
And if Apple and AT&T think 25% of iPhones running around unlocked is bad, wait for the 3G iPhone. I would toss out an unlocking estimate of 50-60% in that case. Apple clearly has a problem on their hands, and as I've said from the beginning, it's their fault: they should have shipped the iPhone unlocked from the beginning. As a shareholder, I hope Apple proves me wrong on this.