The iPhone is now available in the UK and in our most recent, and highly topical, reader poll, we asked the tech-loving Pocket-lint readership if they are planning to buy an iPhone to unlock it.

Almost 60% of survey respondents answered "yes". We were surprised that the percentage was so high, although considering how tech-savvy, clued up and independently minded you lot are (and yes, that is shameless flattery) maybe we shouldn't be...

Unlocking a handset isn't illegal.


a handset is. And this is perhaps where some confusion comes in for some consumers.

Unblocking is reactivating a phone that has been locked by the network at the request of the original owner - usually because it's been stolen. That


be wrong.

Handsets are only locked by networks in order to keep you spending with them, with the justification that they subsidise the cost of your handset.

Although, with the arguably high price of the iPhone, it's not like you're getting the mobile for anywhere near free.

By unlocking a handset, you are very possibly breaking the terms of your contract with the operator you bought the handset from, but you are not committing a crime.

Putting this into context in the wider consumer electronics world: do you don't have to stick to one television content provider depending on what model of LCD you want? Or only get a particular brand of laptop to work with an ISP or even chose your landline phone based on who supplied a service in your area? No.

Admittedly, with the Apple iPhone in particular the issue is a little more complex, as some unlock solutions affect the device's software. Apple owns the copyright to the software, so there are areas that the hackers stray into that are seen as copyright infringement.

While Pocket-lint certainly does not advocate or recommend anything that may fall into such a murky area, I sincerely wish the 58% of you that aren't going to swallow the iPhone's high purchase price, Apple's small-minded apps policy and O2's extortionate contracts, all the very best of luck.

Fingers crossed that the fantastic iPhone unlockers who've done so well so far with freeing the device, have similar success with the 1.1.2 firmware.