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.