Apple Doesn't Want Your Cash (Credit Only, Please)

from the cash-not-wanted-here dept

With reports of huge numbers of iPhones being purchased to be unlocked and resold, it looks like Apple trying to clamp down a bit on the process by changing the rules for purchasers: requiring credit cards for purchases and limiting order to only 2 iPhones at a time. This is similar to what the original "launch day" limitations were. The credit cards let Apple track purchases more carefully (though, you have to wonder what good that really does) and the two person limit makes life harder for unlocker/resellers -- but also makes it more likely that parents will be able to pick up iPhones for their kids this holiday season. As for whether or not it's legal to turn down someone handing over the requisite amount of cash, we'll just let the US Treasury Department explain that it's perfectly fine. The whole "legal tender" bit doesn't mean anyone has to accept your cash.

A bigger question, though, is why Apple would bother? The resellers are likely to figure out ways around these limitations anyway, and it just seems more likely to cause problems for legitimate purchasers (especially younger ones who might not have a credit card yet). And, while it is true that Apple makes money from every iPhone with AT&T service, it's silly to completely shut off unlockers, who still are giving Apple plenty of money that they might not hand over if they were forced to go with AT&T service (especially those from foreign countries where iPhone service is not offered). This really seems like an unnecessary restriction that isn't likely to help Apple very much.

Filed Under: cash, credit, iphone, unlocking
Companies: apple


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  1. identicon
    Kevin, 29 Oct 2007 @ 8:12am

    It's simple really

    Apple gets a cut of the monthly bill from AT&T, plus the sale of the phone. On top of that, AT&T probably paid a pretty penny to be the exclusive carrier. So why does Apple not want you to unlock?

    1. They lose out of the cut of the monthly bill. They make more money if you sign up for AT&T than they do if you unlock and go to T-Mobile.

    2. There is probably a clause or ten in their contract with AT&T that stipulates that Apple should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the phones aren't used with carriers who didn't pay for the right of exclusivity.

    3. When negotiating exclusive contracts with carriers in other countries, the ability to unlock the phones and use them with any carrier lessens the value of that exclusivity deal to the carrier, which means that Apple will get less money for those rights.

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