A German Apple site is reporting on the process behind the first iPhones to be on sale as officially unlocked by Apple.

T-Mobile, the operator-partner for the iPhone in Germany is being forced to offer an unlocked version of the iPhone following court action by rival Vodafone.

As well as offering new customers an iPhone without the previously compulsory 2-year contract, the operator must unlock existing customer's device on request.

The unlocked phones for new customers - on sale for just a smidge under 1000 euros - a whopping 600 euro premium on the tied-into-T-Mobile option, will work with any operator's SIM card.

MacRumours reports that the unlocking process is as follows:

Users buy a "regular" iPhone, but for 999 euros. The iPhone's IMEI number is recorded and sent to Apple. After 24 hours or so, Apple's database is updated.

After this time period, the user can connect their phone to iTunes, where it is automatically unlocked in a process that is described as taking only "seconds".

The then-unlocked iPhone can at that point be properly synced with iTunes on firmware version 1.1.2.

As MacRumours states, this process raises questions about the possibility of unauthorized unlocking solutions to become readily available via this kind of IMEI route, rather than the existing methods.