The blogosphere at the moment is aghast at Apple’s announcement that it will only sell two iPhones per customer at Apple retail stores and purchases are limited to credit or debit cards. The assumed (and trumpeted) reason is to block the resellers and preserve, as much as possible, the $831 Apple is supposed to receive on each AT&T iPhone. Most of this money is apparently lost when and iPhone is unlocked and sold on by a reseller. It doesn’t ring through that Apple would turn down a sale. It is not like the iPhone is like the Xbox, where an expensive device is sold at a loss and the final revenue comes from games that are sold. Apple make profit on every iPhone that is sold. iSippli estimates the 8GB cost US$280.83 of total expense to produce and it currently retails for US$399. (The 4GB model is no longer available)
However, as my skeptic mind is prone, what if the reason given by Apple, while has an element of truth, isn’t the whole reason. My guess is Apple need to limit the sales and try and preserve as much of the AT&T sales as possible because they don’t have enough iPhones to last through the Holiday period to supply both the legit (arguable) AT&T sales and the resellers.