Apple’s future for the iPhone

Apple is facing problems as more and more AT&T customers have unlocked their iPhone and have joined other telecom carriers. Nearly one-third of all iPhones are missing, as in, sold by Apple but not using AT&T’s carrier service.

IN theory, this doesn’t hurt Apple or iPhone sales, it hurts AT&T. Whether Apple and AT&T will to unlock preventative steps is not yet known. As it is already, the iPhone smartphone is already one of the hardest models to unlock.

This figure comes from Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who says that approximately 1 million of the smartphones sold by Apple in the U.S. last year were bought by people who haven’t signed up for an AT&T plan.

Exactly how this compares with the original numbers of other smartphones that get unlocked is not known, but iPhones are certainly being unlocked at a far higher rate than is common.

It’s obvious that this is bad news for AT&T, but it would be easy to assume that Apple wouldn’t care about this — a sale is a sale, after all. However, Apple receives a share of the monthly fee iPhone users pay AT&T, which naturally doesn’t happen when the device is being used with T-Mobile or another telecom.