Apple Inc. Maker of the iPhone, iPod, and iPod TouchLike those debit card commercials that depict a utopian marketplace where only the use of cash can cause catastrophe, Apple inc. has recently begun frowning on cash purchases of the iPhone.

Apple has also limited the number of iPhones any single customer can purchase, down to two from the original 5. It is widely believed that Apple wants to limit the number of people who are buying the phone in order to unlock it (in other words, use on any carrier but that of AT&T) and to prevent resellers.

You must now purchase iPhones via credit or debit card, so that the company can track and record who has the phones. While many of us think this is a bit heavy handed, Apple estimates that 250,000 iPhone purchasers have already unlocked their phone, or intend to do so.

Apple has previously thwarted attempts to unlock their iconic product by issuing software updates that render hacker-developed workarounds obsolete. There is a faint glimmer of hope for iPhone users, however.

Apple intends to release a software development packet (Essential for third party iPhone applications, of which there are now almost none.) early next year. And as it turns out, there are laws in Europe that prevent Apple from locking the iPhone to a single carrier in some countries…so if you’re up for a trans-Atlantic flight, you can get your hands on one as soon as they drop in the EU.

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