There are at least two announced hacks announced that have “unlocked” most aspects of the iPhone to use on another network.
The simpler one is the Turbo SIM – which slips over your old SIM card (with some scissoring required) and you are able to use the phone overseas (presumably not the visual voicemail since that is tied to AT&T). The company is reporting a run on them so on eBay right now, it’s going for over $300-$500. You can download the company’s PDF sell sheet here.
The original price was around $80 USD.
From the scant reports, it seems to work – you are able to make & receive calls, SMS, and access the internet, YouTube, etc, etc … except for the visual voicemail – all for snipping your SIM card which if it fails is easily replaced for $5-$20 – though now at $500 for the Turbo SIM, hey, it’s your money. I could definitely see a market for this – not only can you boast that you too are a hacker, anywhere outside of the US (including the non AT&T state of Vermont), you will be one of the first to have 98% functionality of an iPhone.
No one is sure if Apple can close this loophole with a phone upgrade … but then, you can always skip the auto upgrades and auto sync.
The newer option is much more complicated but since it involves opening the iPhone itself and soldering along with command line software installation, since it involves soldering, it apparently cannot be reversed by an update from Apple.
Again, everything but visual voicemail works. The kid has even posted a do it yourself instructions (that’s him above in the YouTube doing a demo).
Of course, 98% of Americans cannot solder two pieces of discarded metal together let alone try and drop solder on a 2″ piece of an integrated circuit board worth $500 dollars AND then install line command software … so, good luck – better buy iPhones in bulk just to to be safe.
And what’s Apple’s take on all this?
Bwhahahaha. BRING IT ON.
Buy ALL the iPhones you want at FULL RETAIL. Void the warranty – buy another one – unofficially, of course – we are not going to encourage it but what do we care?
There is no hidden level or hidden features in an iPhone and there is no subsidy on an iPhone. Apple makes money on every one they sell. If you want to void the warranty – hey whatever.
You want to hack one to carry overseas to plant the seeds of viral one-on-one word-of-mouth marketing across THE GLOBE as our ambassador, hey, alright with us.
You want to add EVEN more CACHET to the iPhone, alright – we’ll take it.
Unlike the original MOVIELINK box that downloaded movies into a hard drive so if you could hack it, you’d have access to dozens of movies “free.”
There is not much free about a $500 phone. You still have to buy one and if you open it and break it, you have to buy another one.
Sure, Apple might lose a little on new customer signup program with AT&T but honestly, how many Turbo SIM’s will be sold? 10,000? How many people will rip open an iPhone to solder it themselves and load command line software … 1,000?
So, something like this?
2 More PR interns – $150,000
11,000 New phones sold – @6.5 million
11,000 lost AT&T revenue – @$2.5 million
11,000 worldwide brand ambassadors and all the free, tsunami giant wave of publicity?
So Apple wins by winning and Apple wins by “losing.”
Another Option – Could Not Be More Illegal If They Tried …
Or you can just get this … now knockoffs are nothing new in the US (Charles Dickens used to complain that the colonies just pirated his books and paid him no royalties) but adding the Apple logo seems to take a veer off into totally illegal territory … hope this guy selling this is not in the US – he can be Michael Vick’s bunkie.