At this point, I think I know more about the unlocking scene than anyone else I know. So, want a quick tutorial?
"jailbreak" = open your iPhone so you can install apps on it
"unlock" = open the iPhone's GSM radio so it works on other carriers (e.g T-Mobile, Vodafone)
"revirginize" = (this is the new stuff!) downgrade the baseband so the iPhone will recognize it's true IMEI (and not the 'this phone was hacked" IMEI that plagues all the bricked iPhones - 0049990106400004, btw)
The glimmer of hope that I have is that people are just starting to talk about these revirginizer apps and I just realized that when I jailbreak my phone and remove the SIM, I can see the real IMEI in the iPhone's "About" section (this is also engraved on the back of yer iPhone, btw)
Sooooo... it looks like someone found a "revirginizer" process that works for PCs (details here) though there's nothing for the Mac yet.
Anyway, for anyone who still cares about this story - I bought an iPhone, never activated it on A&T, unlocked it so I could use it in Amsterdam (didn't work, btw - UTMS vs. GPRS issue) , brought it back to the US and tried to activate it (like a good customer!) and then it bricked. So I never had a chance to use it in the US.
Really, all I want to do is get this iPhone working on AT&T -- to become a real AT&T customer!! -- but Apple won't help since I "hacked the phone" and the AT&T guys couldn't care less (read: dicks!)
So, if anyone knows of a way to roll a bricked iPhone back to "out to the box, I want to activate w/ AT&T" state please let me know. I'm looking into software hacks, but I'm open to any social engineering hacks I can use at the Apple Store (er, douse the thing in water? short it out w/ a paperclip? microwave the SIM card? anything that will trick the Apple people into giving me a replacement) . Any suggestions?
ps: I'm not really into doing the whole register-your-IMEI-with-a-third-party thing (e.g. iPhoneSimFree). That solution just feels like your iPhone will be f'ed forever... I'm still holding out for a fix that will let me pretend like I never unlocked at all and I'll be able to do a legit activation on AT&T and not have to worry about future firmware upgrades, etc.
ps2: Why do I want the iPhone so bad? I don't really... I needed a GSM phone for Amsterdam and figured that, after trying it for week, if i liked it, I'd keep it. If not, I'd put it on eBay. For now, I just hate the idea of a $299 brick (though I really would like a better networked-connected camera. I mean, look at how shitty this Verizon camera phone is!)