back to article T-Mobile iPhones unlocked post-purchase by iTunes

What's the difference between the locked Apple iPhone sold by T-Mobile Germany and the much more expensive unlocked version sold by the same carrier? Not a jot, it seems: the process of unlocking the handset is handled post-purchase by iTunes. So claims local website MacNotesDe, which detailed the process. Buy an iPhone and …


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  1. Rich

    iPhone / iTunes

    "Some 24 hours later, you activate your iPhone in the usual way using iTunes, but this time the handset is unlocked."

    Eh? You need iTunes to make your phone work??? Is it just me that thinks this is nuts!?

    What idiot came up with this ludicrous connection? No... hang-on - it was Apple, yes. And they're not idiots because this ties in your iPhone with iTumes.

    Duh! Of course! The idiots are the people BUYING the iPhone.

  2. Richard Kilpatrick


    Whilst the iTunes activation angle is valuable information, it's hardly new information - the iPhone's chipset is well known and the unlock procedure differs only in that iTunes can deliver the code directly to the handset, rather than the database (key generation from IMEI?) being checked then a code provided to the operator or user.

    Will sufficient people be able to monitor what iTunes actually does during this process and replicate it somehow?

    I don't believe the 600 Euro represents any realistic charge and is only a placeholder whilst the legal process meanders along; as such anyone taking that option must be completely mad.

  3. andy rock
    Jobs Horns

    hang on...

    ...people are actually _paying_ that much to get them unlocked?? wow...

  4. Anthony


    These are iDiots, generation i, give them the punctuation they deserve.

    999 Euros? For a phone? And THEN pay to talk on it?

    Mad I tells thee.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just because you think it's ludicrous doesn't mean others do; and just because they're happy with the set-up doesn't make them idiots. To each his own.

    Continue whinging, but keep in mind that's all it is.

  6. Rich


    "Continue whinging, but keep in mind that's all it is."

    I was not whinging. I was commenting on an observation.

    But clearly you are right - some people DO think this is reasonable, in which case they either have more money than sense or ...errrr ....I'm struggling here....

  7. Guy
    Jobs Horns

    To each his own

    This just proves that anywhere in Europe, you are allowed to be an idiot. well except for the UK where you can blame it on someone else and take them to court for it. the iPhone should really be compared to phillip Starcks

    Jucy Salif. Looks good, costs a small fortune, but is bugger all use for doing what it is designed for!

  8. Anthony


    "doesn't make them idiots"

    Yes.. yes it does.

  9. sleepy

    Worth it for some . . .

    If you travel a lot, and would incur crippling roaming data charges, purchasing a local SIM when you travel could save some people the money within weeks. I've heard of people running up €1000 in roaming data charges for checking their email on a long weekend in Europe.

    Apple's cellphone agenda begins with a revenue share from carriers. We'll have to wait five plus years to know where it ends.

  10. Gulfie

    Not all that surprising

    It's not all that surprising that Apple have included a 'low-maintenance' way of unlocking an iPhone. After all, if the US have enshrined in law the right of an individual to unlock their phone, it is only a matter of time before they are forced to offer the service.

    Presumably they are hanging on as long as they can, so that lots of people take up those expensive monthly contracts. Then, when they are forced in law to offer unlocking, they can just list a product in the iTunes shop...

    I agree with most of the other comments here that anybody happy to contemplate spending €600 to unlock their phone probably has a money/sense quotient > 1... and I speak as a proud owner of an iPod Touch who's waiting for the developer kit so that I can get email, notes, tasks synchronised and turn it into a truly awesome PDA.

    "It's not about the software, it's about the usability"

  11. Frank Bough

    It Never Ends

    Look, cretins, those smartphones that you seem to think are given away like sweets because they cost nothing are actually BLOODY EXPENSIVE, and always have been. Nip over to expansys and just have a look for yourself. The Nokia N95 costs £604.95 - that's less than the €999 (£717.70) that an equivalently unencumbered iPhone will set you back, but it's definitely in the same ballpark.

    If you don't want / can't afford an expensive phone the DON'T BLOODY WELL BUY ONE.

  12. Andy Worth

    Made me chuckle

    Just found it amusing that the only person who doesn't find it ridiculous to pay this much (at time of reading the comments) chose to remain anonymous......probably for fear of ridicule from the rest of the sane world.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Says it all really

  14. Louis Cowan


    I'd sooner hold a live hand grenade to my ear than that piece of iPoo. I saw a Viewty just the other day and even though I'm no fan of LG I thought it was a fair competitor to the iPhooey

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Guy

    Have you ever used a Jucy Salif? They're actually rather effective. Mine is, anyway.

  16. Richard Kilpatrick
    Thumb Up

    Research, people

    Ah, yet more comments based on speculation.

    Facts from German and English-language forums, and of course, usage of the iPhone myself.

    First: You need to activate it ONCE. This is in iTunes. If, like me, you choose to jailbreak it, the only reason to use iTunes is to sync or update the firmware; I cannot verify how updated firmware behaves regarding activation, but I have removed and replaced the O2 PayG SIM in mine with no issues, and the only difference is a patched lockdownd.

    Second: The unlocked phones can have SIMs changed freely according to reports from users.

    iPhone is not terrible value - you do, after all, need to pay for your calls and data use somehow. It simply isn't the best deal available and that is irritating, because it is an excellent device - very easy to use, very powerful and responsive for something so simplified. Compared to a WM6 phone it is exceptionally quick to use, even if it drops some features.

    Anyone paying 999 Euro for it is an idiot. Pure and simple. However, in Germany the sales model differs yet again; so I'll do a quick outline:

    USA - AT&T, phone is bought in AT&T or Apple stores without a contract. 2 year contracts, start price for contract is $59/month, handset cost $399 - 450 minutes, 200 texts, unlimited data.

    UK - O2, phone is bought in O2, Carphone Warehouse or Apple stores. CPW make you sign a 'contract' which is utterly meaningless. 18 month contracts. Handset costs £269, £35/month 200 min/200 text, unlimited data, free WiFi access with The Cloud.

    Germany - T-Mobile, phone is bought through T-Mobile with contract handled in store (as far as I can tell without going through the process myself). 2 year contract, entry level is 49 Euro/month, 100 minutes, 40 texts. Data may be subject to fair-use limits. Free WiFi access with T-Mobile.

    Germans cannot easily buy a local-market phone and take it home, jailbreak and "hacktivate" it. They also get scalped horribly on the handset cost and the contract.

    Apple's iPhone agenda ends with them marketing an Apple-branded network based on capacity and services purchased from existing carriers, billed and paid via iTunes, and significantly cheaper than existing deals. I'd put money on it, if I had any left after buying an iPhone...

    Already this exclusivity

  17. Charles Calthrop

    e1000 for checking emails in a weekend?

    Of course they paid that, of course they did.

  18. Kevin

    Re: e1000 for checking emails in a weekend?

    Maybe a bit excessive, but it cost me just over 17 bucks to view 3 webpages when I travelled to New York City a couple of months ago when trying to find a place to eat. Worked out to like a buck per kilobyte. Depending on the carrier, roaming can be ridiculously expensive.

  19. Mark Cathcart

    AT&T Roaming

    and although I don't have an iPhone, I went for a free HTC Hermes with AT&T in the US, the international roaming charges are OUTRAGEOUS. I have the same data plan as an iPhone gets.

    I bought an unlock code for the HTC from ebay which worked, for $16, and now use a prepay O2 or Virgin SIM when in the UK. The data doesn't seem to work, but heck at least I can use the phone...

    Once I can get out of my AT&T contract, I will... daylight and robbery come to mind.

  20. Danny
    Jobs Horns

    @Frank Bough

    How can you say that £605 for the N95 is in the same ballpark as the ridiculous £717 for the iphone? That's over £100 ($200, Apple is an American company after all!) more, hardly in the same price region. Yes these smartphones are expensive, but you should be able to expect top of the range for the price they charge. If you compare the hardware and features that the N95 has such as a flash for the camera, superior camera resolution, bluetooth that works with anything not just a couple of devices, DVD quality video, GPS and work out how much you would spend on individual devices to do each of these functions it doesn't work out too bad. The iphone on the other hand costs far more than the N95 and doesn't come close in terms of spec. The only thing it does have a a fancy gui. I have tried it, but personally don't like it. Other people do but in no way does a flashy gui justify such a high price tag. For that money I want it to be as top of the range as you can get, not 3-4 years behind everyone else.

  21. Scott Mckenzie


    And just because you've tried it doesn't mean your view is correct.

    The last time i checked we lived in a free society where you can choose to do what the hell you like with your own money. I personally find the N95 a cumbersome, slow, temperamental beast.... whereas the iPhone is refreshing to use in it's simplicity.

    Sure i'll miss the GPS on my current SPV M700 but that's about it... TomTom Go V3 with Europe maps is probably a bit better anyway and only £99 in Halfords.

    Your argument contains lots of stunning facts, but how meaningful are they really....

    Flash for the camera - hold me back, wow....

    Superior Resolution - again, woo.... (you may be spotting a theme here, in our world of freedom, people prefer different things, for me a camera on a phone is pretty useless)

    Bluetooth with several devices - Err, and the point here is? The iPhone works with most bluetooth headsets that are much cop, the Parrot kits in the company vehicles, the Macbook Pro i use... can't really think of anything else i need.

    DVD Quality Video - the iPhone has the N95 well and truly licked here. Oh and btw DVD quality on anything but a DVD isn't going to happen, it's not physically possible, the clue is in the name. It's a bit like CD quality in an MP3, again... not really going to happen.

    GPS - That's the one that i'd miss.

    The iPhone is a far better audio player, the iTunes store is far superior, the WiFi interface is easier and quicker and far more reliable.

    So for the difference of £100 between an N95 from Expansys and an iPhone really isn't that substantial at that price point to be honest, and i know which i'd get.

    Sadly, after all that, it's a work phone i have, in contract until May and on Orange... so for me, if i wanted an iPhone (which i do) i do have to look at the options such as unlocking them and whilst i can't justify £700 personally, many can and will.

    Maybe it's jealousy or poorly paid jobs that people feel the ability and need to slate people who spend their hard earned as they please... who knows!?

  22. Danny
    Jobs Horns


    Whoah there boy, why the personal flaming?

    'just because you've tried it doesn't mean your view is correct'

    I did go on to say that other people do, if you bothered reading it. What makes your view correct?

    'Flash for the camera - hold me back, wow....'

    Try taking a picture with an iphone in low light conditions. Say you want to take a pic of your mates in a club, you'll need the flash then unless you often go out taking your phone, camera etc. These devices are supposed to make life easier and mean you have to carry less. Doesn't seem like much for Apple to have added to the measly 2megapixel camera

    'DVD Quality Video - the iPhone has the N95 well and truly licked here'

    What are you talking about, the ibrick can't even record video. The N95 records at 640x480 ie DVD quality

    'The iPhone is a far better audio player, the iTunes store is far superior'

    Another cultist of the Church of Jobs. Its an ipod. The interface is a matter of preference, it's the sound quality that matters. Both are of a good standard but at least the N95 has built in stereo speakers so you don't need headphones if you don't want them. Another feature lacking from the iphone and personally I prefer Nokias interface. I really don't care if other people think differently. As for the iTunes store being far superior, I don't care where I buy my music from as long as it is good quality, and iTunes is known for not selling music at the best bitrate, oh and charging extra for having a better bitrate and not having them DRMd.

    'Bluetooth with several devices - Err, and the point here is? '

    The point is Apple have crippled the bluetooth funcionality for no good reason. You can't even use it to transfer a file to the PC or vice versa, which is a function a lot of people use regularly.

    'Maybe it's jealousy or poorly paid jobs that people feel the ability and need to slate people who spend their hard earned as they please... who knows!?'

    I think you sound in a far better position to answer that than I am. I wasn't slating anybody or trying to tell them what to do with their cash. the point I was making was that for a top of the range price you should expect it to be all singing, all dancing which the iphone falls far short of achieving

    So please Scott, enough of the fan boy screaming when someone insults your precious Apple. The company and their products are not the greatest in the world. If you think differently, that's your choice. I really don't care. You however, seem to have a problem with people who don't conform to your view. Bend over and be shafted by Jobs like a good boy.

  23. Scott Mckenzie
    Jobs Halo


    As to whether i can be bothered to respond....

    But i shall:

    Regarding the camera, as i said i have no interest in taking pictures on my phone, i have a small portable camera i'd take out with me if i were going to a club, which is likely to take better pictures than any camera phone...

    DVD quality, 640x480.... that's why all studios shoot their feature films on a camera phones then i assume? There is not a cat in hells chance that a camera on a phone, or the hardware in the phone for that matter can record at anything like DVD quality, typically 8Mbps of data transfer. Correct the iPhone can't record, i was on about the quality of the video on it, use handbrake to rip your films and play them back, the quality of the screen on the iPhone destroys that of the N95.

    Built in stereo speakers, oh joy so i too can be like the chavs walking down the street playing tinny music with no bass, stereo speakers doesn't make them good... the reference to the itunes store being better was that is the one the phone takes you to by default to buy music, compare it to the one the Nokia does and there is a big difference, sure you can buy them from anywhere and transfer them no question. iTunes would sell everything DRM free for the same price if they could, they have no interest in that area, they make money from the sale of iPods not really the media that goes on them... ever wondered why they even put messages on telling you that when you check for artwork it won't send information about songs in your library - Apple don't care where your music came from, the more MP3's you listen to, the more likely you are to buy the market leading MP3 player....

    Bluetooth file transfer - never used it so can't comment

    Apple aren't my precious either, i have no doubt the company aren't the best in the world, i question the issue on the products, they take great areas of many things and package all together very well, with an excellent GUI and market the product well.... this appeals to me. I will consider any and every option if i wish to buy something, something many people don't and many slate the iPhone unreservedly without having ever used it - however not all of my comments were aimed at you, but you seem to have the antithesis viewpoint of that you suggest i do.. so who's worse? The Steve Jobs Devil icon says plenty....

  24. Danny
    Jobs Horns

    Some people never learn

    The Steve Jobs Devil is purely because I don't like the guy, not anything about hating Apple as a company. He does nothing but put on a show, pretend to innovate and be the consumers champion when in reality he does what most companies do, steal other peoples ideas and tries to milk as much money out of you as he can. These days thanks to him, Apple products are more about hype and being a fashion statement than actual performance or features. When you take away the hype from Apple products and compare them against equivalent products, they look second rate and sorely lacking.

    RE Regarding the camera

    As I said, most people want these devices to replace a few. If you just want your phone to be a phone and nothing else, then what is the point of buying anything more than a basic one that just does voice and sms?

    Trying to compare a professional video camera with a phone is just a silly comparison. The pro cameras would beat any standard home use dedicated video camera never mind a phone but the N95 is capable of SDTV resolution at 30fps meaning it can be played back on a standard CRT TV with no loss of quality or it looking jumpy because of a poor framerate. It doesn't even need to be transferred thanks to the handy TV-out making it extremely portable. It may not be good enough for studios, but many artists have been making use of the camera and the video.

    My original point still stands and so far you haven't been able to come up with a decent counter argument. If you are being charged for top of the range - shouldn't you expect top of the range? How can Apple justify over £700 for their product when it is so limited? It may be a good, high quality product but the fact it it so limited in function means it really isn't worth more than £200-£250

  25. robin thakur

    iPhone...because I'm worth it.

    I got an iPhone from the US for less than its currently on sale for here (£199) I might just point out having previously owned variously a N95 (UGGGly, poor build-quality slow, poor battery life, GPS not as useful as it might be) , TYTN2 (Quite good, nice KB, notionally capable but functionally rubbish and fiddly OS, TYTN (Ditto) and Blackberry 8800 (My previous favorite, it looks sleeeek, although the keyboard is sometimes a bit too teeny tiny for its own good and the hang up call buttons chrome rubs off) before.

    In MY opinion and for what I use it for the iPhone beats them all hands down in terms of looks which is primarily what I want it for, being a phone, browsing the web over wifi (I have never used 3g more than a handful of times) google maps/youtube etc. The fact that I no longer need to carry my iPod touch with me as well is a bonus as although thin, they do - combined, ruin the crease of my suit. I want a phone to look beautiful, stylish and easy to use. As you have already seen with the 'Viewty' (Nice but a poor man's iPhone really :) and Nokia's upcoming touch phones, many will try to immitate this, but not even HTC has accomplished this to the same effect as Apple so far and credit where credit's due. Despite the people on heres' cynicism only one person i've shown it to in my group of friends has not gone out and bought either a iPod Touch or an iPhone once they've had a demo and I was generally impressed with its execution. One of them just had to see the way the screen flips when you turn it horizontally and he (predictably a he, eh ladies?) was rabidly clamouring for one.

    I'm guessing that you aren't the target market if you are happy with your N95 or your windows smartphone or indeed if you are counting your pennies, the price alone should tell you that. Unlike my previous windows phones where several of the features just didn't work, e.g. the Wifi just works on it. It also represents good value if you were going to buy an iPod touch as well as a decent phone (i.e. not a free one) The snide comments are more about sad envy than anything else. Its alright to admit that it works, looks like a million $ and is revolutionary in at least one aspect nothing bad will happen to you.

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