Unlock the iPhone, Tie it to .Mac Revenue?

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Roughly Drafted recently proposed that neither impending 3G nor poor supply chain management were to blame for Apple Store's lack of iPhone stock, but rather the international gray market for unlocked handsets.

Now, based on a post from Infrageeks, they're back with a look at how Apple could replace some carrier kick-back revenue with .Mac subscription revenue, if El Jobso saw fit to beef up the service and better tie it into the iPhone.

Our own Chad Garrett has already made the case for .Mac syncing via the iPhone, and iPhone Alley, (via TUAW) has said it's coming, so what's Dilger's take?

Integrating .Mac services into its iPhone and iPod Touch mobile platform would not only make the devices more valuable and competitive, but would also add a layer of ongoing subscription revenue that would enable the company to more profitably sell unlocked iPhones at regular prices in emerging markets where demand is off the charts. Rather than paying a smuggler $800, Apple could sell customers the iPhone at the regular $399 price, bundled with a two year .Mac subscription for another $99 a year. This would rapidly develop Apple’s software service revenue and allow the company a significant budget for investing to keep the services up to date and valuable for users.

What value would $99 bring? The details are in the full article, but include network data sync, file sharing, back-to-my-mac, blogging, hyperblogging, a reputation system, community profiles, secure identity services, marketplace, privacy management, data sharing/networking, and subscription music.

Would those services be worth $99 a year to you? Would they be worth giving up the carrier revenue for Apple? What do you think?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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