Despite confirmation from reputable sources like CNN and Engadget, there were still people unsure of whether iPhoneSIMFree actually worked. The reason? The lack of video proof of the unlock process. Well, here it is, the first, exclusive video proof of the unlock process. Hit the jump to see our notes about the process, the iPhoneSIMFree team, and where the iPhone unlocking path goes from here.
First of all, the reason for the weeks of delay in getting video proof is because the IPSF team was busy not with the unlocking process—that was done weeks ago—but the business end. Because they're planning on selling to resellers for THEM to make businesses of, they had to finalise the database and all the backend stuff to manage licenses, etc. All very boring, and all stuff you guys don't want to hear about. Point is, they didn't delay this on purpose because they couldn't get the unlock working. Also, we're the first site to get permission to show the video unlock process. CNN and Engadget were not allowed to show video of the unlock process.
So sites who doubt that the IPSF team is real can finally relax. They're real. They're delivering.
The process is simple. The retailer you buy the unlock from will load the unlock software directly onto your phone, which will check to see if your IMEI is "allowed" to be unlocked. If it is, the software will unlock the phone—a process which took us approximately 2 or 3 minutes, as you can see in the video. The level of complexity is pretty much as low as you can get. Anyone will be able to do this.
In our case, the IPSF guys loaded the unlock application onto the phones via SSH. This is not how it will be done in the final version (you'll get yours loaded by the reseller), but it was quicker this way. Once loaded, the steps were exactly the same as the reseller final version (which they also sent to us, and works perfectly). Once run, a disclaimer comes up, you hit OK, and hit the unlock Apple image. It unlocks the phone, going through the process and displaying what the current activity is (as shown in the video). After unlocking, it cleans up, and you're done.
When we went through the unlock, we started with a T-Mobile SIM, which caused the iPhone to complain about a non-valid SIM. After the unlock was done, the error message was gone and it was able to connect properly to the T-Mobile network. Some of my babbling on camera is incoherent because I was on the phone with the IPSF guys while doing this, but I left the video intact (save for the last part where I cut to making a call) because I wanted to leave no doubts. And that red circle on the call app is the voicemail notification, which doesn't work correctly on T-Mobile (no visual voicemail).
The unlock itself is safe from restores, but requires that your phone is jailbreaked already, since you have to load a program onto the phone. And the app, since it runs directly on the phone, is stable. There should be almost zero chance to brick your phone, and most errors—if there are errors—can be fixed by restoring the phone and trying again.
That's what the final version of the software looks like.
IPSF definitely knows and built off of the iPhone Dev Team's work, insofar as none of this would be possible without the jailbreak. But as far as the actual unlock process, that's all theirs.
Where does this whole thing leave you? iPhone SIM Free is sending out this software to resellers and third-party unlockers starting today, which means you can get yours unlocked very, very soon. As for the iPhone Dev Team, we're still waiting on their free implementation.
One last thing. Five lucky Gizmodo readers are getting a free unlock courtesy of the iPhoneSIMFree team. Check back next week for details.
With additional reporting by Jesus Diaz