[dropcap]S[/dropcap]imply put, a locked iPhone is a phone which has certain restrictions in its software to make it work on a predefined network only. This means that purchasing the iPhone would simply not be enough. Users would also need to have connections of the networks which were affiliated with the iPhone in order to be able to use the device.
Ever since the first iPhone came out in the markets, there have been innumerable debates about how the locked mentality of Apple would restrict a user’s freedom as well as innovation in the field. Ever since the launch of the first iPhone which restricted all 3rd party apps, Apple has deregulated its policies by a fair margin. The next device allowed 3rd party apps to operate on the iPhone under strict supervision from Apple. The company further deregulated the strict policies with the launch of the unlocked iPhone 4. Despite this fact, the debate of the locked vs unlocked iPhone is carried out even today!
The issue first cropped up in the year 2007 when Apple chose AT&T as its partner for a period of 2 years. This meant that the iPhone would be sold in locked versions and would only accept the AT&T Sim Cards. [pullquote] “The low priced contracted iPhones sold 8000% more than the full priced non-contracted iPhone”[/pullquote] The main reason behind the locked iPhone was two folds. Firstly, the locked iPhone allowed AT&T exclusivity in the US and made them immune to competition. On the other hand, Apple found a way to protect its investments without having to engage in a war on its customers. For example, let’s say that without a visual voice mail system, the iPhone would be rendered useless. In such a case, Apple would have to invest in a particular network and this investment might not be restricted to a one off payment as there could maintenance issues as well. As a result, by joining forces with a telecom service, the company could pay its partner a share of the revenue until the investment began to pay for itself.
This concept of selling locked phones was not new as numerous other companies were already selling locked phones. The locked iPhone was simply a part of Apple’s master plan and they chose the largest locked device selling company in the world as their partners for the first iPhone.
And then there were those long drawn iPhone contracts! With iPhones generally being sold in contracts, where users need to pay a monthly fee for its usage after paying the down payment, the phone is definitely not cheap. What’s more, by restricting the user’s choice of telecom carriers, iPhone doesn’t do much to enhance its popularity. For example, if a user puts a SIM card of a telecom service which is not supported by Apple, the phone will simply display “[highlight]SIM Card Not Valid[/highlight]” or “[highlight]Invalid SIM Card[/highlight]”. What this effectively means is that in order to validate your SIM card, you need a connection which is actually supported by Apple.
This locking problem has led to the development of numerous jailbreak techniques (unlocking the iPhone) and as a result, Apple has been constantly been upgrading its softwares to render all the “jailbroken” phones useless, much to the annoyance of the iPhone users and to the delight of competitors like Nokia and Samsung. [pullquote align=”right”]It is not compulsory to stay locked, Few smart third-party websites offer unlocking solutions too! Direct from Apple Database without voiding warranty.[/pullquote]The locking issue and the monthly fees have also led to a decline in the overall popularity of the iPhone and in increase in demand for the latest and trendy Samsung Smartphones. As they say, you can cook the most sumptuous dinner and say the sweetest things, but in the end, the punters always end up choosing the cheapest and the most flexible option.
Today, iPhone lovers around the world can revel in the fact that the company has finally managed to see through the self imposed restrictions and officially unlocked iPhones are now available from 3rd party service providers as well. The company also offers backdoor access to unlock any iPhone if the user chooses one of its supported carriers.