A really good post over at CNET articulates what a lot of people have been speculating about since the bevy of iPhone hacks have been released.
This is all part of Apple’s plan.
Apple has been known to screw its partners over before (cough**Motorola ROKR, IBM, Adobe, Microsoft etc.) albeit privately. By not taking any actions against the new iPhone hackers and leaving the dirty work to AT&T’s legal team, Apple isn’t helping its case. Perhaps because Steve can relate to phone haxors?
From a strictly mathematical point of view, let’s look at the revenues. Apple gets 10% ish of every legit iPhone’s usage revenue. Over 2 years@ $5 a month, that is $240. About the same as the margin on the iPhones according to iSupply. So about break even.
However those people taking them off of AT&T are unlikely to be cannibalizing AT&T sales – they are people stuck in other contracts…all things being relatively equal besides visual voice mail, if you are plan-less in a semi urban area, you’ll go to AT&T. So it is mostly gravy.
If Apple is serious about keeping the iPhone locked to AT&T, they will release a firmware update that will seal up the holes that it has allowed hackers to break throguh. Much like the PSP vs. Homebrew PSP fight, it will be a sticky situation.
With 3G iPhones coming to Europe and predicted price drops in current iPhones, there is a lot of excitemnt in this market segment. And don’t forget about WiMAX in 2008!