If you were wondering just how Apple would provide the unlocked iPhones necessitated by a recent German lawsuit, the answer ends up being surprisingly simple: through iTunes. Rather than stocking unlocked iPhones alongside locked models in retail locations, Apple provides a simple do-it-yourself maneuver for unlocking an iPhone when a customer is willing to pay the 600 euro ($885 USD) premium for one.
According to MacRumors.com, Apple stores that sell the unlocked phones keep track of the IMEI numbers on them, a sort of unique identifier for mobile phones. Apple maintains a database of phone IMEIs that were purchase unlocked, and when a customer with a phone in the database logs into iTunes with an Internet connection, his or her phone is automatically unlocked.
No word yet on whether this official unlock process will open any new doors for hackers, although projects like those from the iPhone Dev Team and for-profit companies seem to already have the ground covered, if not by the same simple means.
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