Apple found a winner when the company developed and released the iPhone. Even in Japan, the iPhone 4 has started dominating the smart phone market. This has happened despite the fact that the ordinary phone in Japan can buy train tickets and feed pets. They will have the iPhone but they also carry other phones to cover all their needs in their portable technological world. The iPhone’s design and ease of use has helped it grow into a player in the international smart phone market. Unfortunately Apple does not sell the iPhone 4 unlocked in most countries. This can be a problem.
The iPhone is generally locked into one carrier. Apple uses the Softbank Corporation in Japan and in the United States AT&T. The cost of the iPhone itself and contracts with the carriers increases the price, making many people unable to afford the iPhones. When the Apple iPhone first entered the Japanese market it was not popular. Softbank came down on the contract price and saw the iPhone quickly dominate the smart phone market. Some have asked if Softbank will have the iPhone 4 unlocked. Softbank replied that they had to cut their margins and need the protection of a locked SIM card. So, in Japan it will not be happening anytime soon. Another reason people want the iPhone unlocked is that non-approved carriers have features that are either free or the iPhone approved carriers do not carry. Apple will not honor unlocked iPhone warranties.
Maybe someday Apple will have the iPhone 4 unlocked. Until then people have found ways around the challenge by using specialized software or physically altering the hardware. For people who want to choose their carrier, having the iPhone unlocked could provide many benefits. Maybe Apple will discover they can really increase their market if they free their unlocked iPhone4.