The limitations are intended to keep resellers from buying up all the iPhones and either unlocking them or inflating the price. The policy isn’t entirely new, as the previous limit was five iPhones per person, although any form of payment was accepted. By refusing cash payments now, Apple hopes to be able to keep track of who buys iPhones via debit and credit card records.
Apple’s popular iPhone has sold over 1.4 million units, reports Yahoo! News, and sales for the holidays are expected to be high as well. Apple estimates that of the 1.4 million units sold so far, about 250,000 were purchased with the intent to unlock them, as our own Luke McKinney reported last week. And that’s just counting the SIM unlocks. If you count software-unlocked phones that can run third-party applications, the number is nearly double that.
In response to the crackers, Apple sent out updated firmware that temporarily disabled some phones. That move angered consumers and advocates alike, and resulted in a number of lawsuits. This most recent move, although also aimed at curbing those who would unlock their phones, is done in a manner that will inconvenience those profiting from the unlocking and not the individual users with unlocked phones.