Canada Apple Store iPhones Will Be Sold Unlocked

What a crazy week!

First Telus announces the iPhone, followed shortly by Bell. Then we reported about the new plans coming out and for all the latest price plan information, you can check out this consolidated post here.

With four carriers supporting the iPhone in Canada, there is now more choice than ever in terms of price plans from the various carriers. However, that is not all the choices that people have.

An Interesting Find

According to our anonymous tipster, and I would classify this in the highly-grey-area-category, the Telus/Bell iPhones and the next batch of Rogers/Fido iPhones may no longer have the SIM cards inside of the iPhone, as the Rogers/Fido iPhones currently have. In other words, an iPhone may no longer have a SIM card inside of it but instead, a SIM card will accompany the iPhone outside of the box in the hands of a sales rep.

At this time, this change only applies to Apple Retail Stores, as Rogers, Bell, Telus and Fido stores will still receive their respective iPhones with SIM card inside the device. Apple Stores on the other hand, will not. Confused? Good, you should be.

All About Inventory

To make inventory and the sales flows easier for Apple Stores, iPhones from all four carriers may come SIM card-less. These SIM card-less iPhones will also be UNLOCKED. Yes, UNLOCKED. However, once a Rogers or Telus or Bell or Fido SIM card is put into the iPhone, the iPhone is automatically locked to the carrier of the inserted SIM card.

In other words, Apple Stores across Canada may now be selling iPhone devices without a SIM Card installed. The iPhone will be unlocked until a carrier SIM card is inserted, at which time the iPhone will lock to that carrier’s SIM card. This allows Apple Stores to easily keep track of iPhones because they no longer need to be grouped by carrier. They are all universal, unlocked iPhones until a SIM card is put inside. Clearly this presents some interesting opportunities.

Of course, if you were to walk in and want to buy an outright iPhone, the Apple Store rep would make you choose a carrier but imagine if you could get one without having the SIM inserted.

Unlocking FTW!

At this time however, it is unknown if the Canadian iPhones can be used with outside of Canada SIM cards. It may be that the Canadian iPhones are unlocked initially but will only recognize one of four carrier SIM cards; those four carriers being Rogers, Fido, Telus, or Bell. If that is the case, then the current Dev-Team unlocking methods are vastly superior, but this find is nevertheless interesting.

In any case, I would LOVE to get one of these iPhones sent to the Dev Team so they can play with it and find out how an iPhone is truly unlocked. These iPhones leave Apple HQ unlocked and are only locked once the SIM is inserted. This is a huge departure from the current process and is very interesting.

Dev-Team, can you send your ninjas to retrieve one of these phones and dissect it? I am curious if something is found about unlocking that we did not know before.

More as the story develops…