The iPhone was rushed out...
The consensus is that the current iPhone code is a mess. The lack of an API/SDK proves this; just look how Jobs is shouting about the new SDK due in Feb; there's no way on earth he wouldn't have released it before if it was possible.
So, if the first version of the iPhone software is a mess, what's coming?. I wonder if version 2 is just around the corner. One would imagine that this v2 OS will use proper layering, will have embedded security, and whole lot more security, not to mention new applications. No doubt all of this new software will sit on new hardware (3G, better camera?).
On the other hand, if the target is to flog 10 million of the things next year, then they sure as hell aren't going to shift in those quantities unless they're unlocked -- sorry, unlockable. Just look at the US market; they have the phones, the price has recently dropped, but people still aren't rushing to buy them at a around million per month (it's around 1.5M of them over 4 months to date).
Why? Is it the price is too high for the target market? It's not unreasonable to assume it's the price that AT&T charge that's putting people off -- it's definitely the price that Otoo will be charging in the UK that will put me off. Therefore a lot more will be flogged if they're unlockable -- I'm not risking £280 for an iBrick.
I can only speak for myself, but I'm looking very carefully at the idea of buying one and unlocking it. If it looks as if Apple will brick the phones, I simply won't buy one -- I will not pay Otoo's prices. It's interesting that the price of the phone isn't putting me off; it's the ongoing price of the contract that is the deal breaker.
My money's on a version 2 iPhone early next year with new hardware and a completely different OS (or great chunks re-written). Of course Apple will never reveal this as they don't want their market to evaporate overnight. I wonder if it will coincide with the release of the SDK? Or soon after?
Kudos to Steve Jobs for keeping application writers away from the iPhone until it's ready. Either that, or it really is a complete rats nest!