iPhone Nears Sellout, Hackers Near Unlocking

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It took four days, but the world’s most sought after mobile device is finally nearing sellout status. Despite the multitude of Apple fans lining up in front of stores as early as Monday, for last Friday’s release in anticipation of immediate sellouts, the iPhone was readily available at many Apple Stores throughout the weekend. AT&T stores sold out of inventory relatively quickly due to lower unit numbers on hand.

The combination music player and phone has hire a hacker for iPhone managed a complete absence in 10 states as of last night at 9PM. Overall, 95 out of 164 Apple Stores reported sellouts last night. Industry analysts have the iPhone’s weekend sales estimated at somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 units, according to various reports.

According to AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel, the iPhone has sold out in nearly all of its 1,800 stores nationwide. As the sole service provider of the iPhone, the handheld shattered AT&T sales records for phone units. In fact, the iPhone sold more units in its first weekend than Motorola’s ever popular RAZR did in its first month.

With such high initial sales numbers and a lone service provider, hackers are racing to be the first team to unlock the device for use on other service providers’ networks. Beginning almost immediately after the iPhone’s Friday evening launch, hackers went to work claiming “very significant progress.”

An unlocked iPhone would mean that cell phone users would be able to use the device on networks other than AT&T, a major selling point to consumers reluctant to spend the money on high-priced contract cancellation fees with their current non-AT&T provider. Early indicators suggest that the iPhone is unlockable. However, hackers are having difficulty finding a means to circumvent authentication processes embedded in iTunes software that register users for an AT&T service plan and enable all of the iPhone’s features.

Because the iPhone makes use of SIM cards, many tech experts are optimistic that the handheld will be easily unlocked versus a hardwired phone. Furthermore, the use of a SIM card means that the iPhone is locked using its firmware, which can most likely be cracked.

If the iPhone is successfully cracked, AT&T could potentially have a devastating problem on their hands. With Apple already claiming every bit of the 55% markup on the device, AT&T has been left to generate revenue through the acquisition of new customers’ service plans. Not surprisingly, AT&T has seen an increase in new customers since the iPhone launch. However, if members of other networks such as Verizon and T-Mobile were able to gain access to iPhone service through their current provider, AT&T will find itself missing out on potential new customers and the subsequent revenue they generate.

As of noon on Tuesday, no word has been issued of a confirmed unlocked iPhone. But with the dedicated and talented hackers of America, it seems that the unlocked iPhone will be only a matter of time.