Hong Kong's unlocked iPhones explained"Hong Kong is now the one and only country in the world where you can buy an unlocked contract-free iPhone directly from the online Apple Store," writes John Gruber, aka Daring Fireball. He goes on to answer my plea for an explanation of Apple's motives. You can read his full-length post, or my 100-word edit:
Keep in mind that there is a difference between unlocked and contract-free. Countries where you can buy iPhone 3Gs both unlocked and contract-free include Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Czech Republic, and Greece. But unlike Hong Kong, you can’t buy them directly from Apple in those countries. The leading theory regarding why Apple is doing this in Hong Kong is that it’s a strategic move in Apple’s ongoing negotiations to officially sell the iPhone in mainland China. Earlier this week came reports that China Mobile is trying to get Apple to sell iPhones without 3G and without Wi-Fi. So, assuming Apple is not interested in selling crippled Wi-Fi-less iPhones to satisfy China Mobile’s demands, but still wants to profit from the enormous Chinese market, selling unlocked contract-free iPhones in Hong Kong is the optimal way to supply the mainland Chinese gray market.
(Photo by Dan Butterfield)