Apple to release unlocked iPhone in France

Apple has announced that it will open up the iPhone. In an open letter posted to the Apple website this morning, CEO Steve Jobs stated simply, "Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers' hands in February." The company is clearly responding to widespread criticism of the iPhone's locked nature and they are wise to do so: enabling third party applications to run natively on the iPhone will only serve to make the device more attractive to consumers. "It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc," Jobs writes. Though details of the SDK have yet to be released, Jobs has stated that it will allow programmers to write applications for the iPod Touch as well.

But what about a SIM-unlocked iPhone? Due to the nature of its agreement with AT&T, Apple can't offer one in the U.S., at least not for another five years. The company has announced, however, that it will release a completely unlocked iPhone in France, to comply with a French law that prohibits the exclusive sale of locked phones locked to a provider. Orange (the carrier for the iPhone in France) has announced that the standard iPhone will retail for €399 and we can only assume that the unlocked iPhone will be more expensive.

For more on the recent announcements:
- read the text of Steve Job's letter on the iPhone SDK
- and see this International Herald Tribune article on the French iPhone