It's not only Apple, AFAIK there's many devices that are always exclusive to Verizon and can only be had from Verizon, e.g. Droid phones and Ellipsis tablets. I'm sure there's other exclusive lock-ins as well, with AT&T, Sprint, etc. We certainly don't have anything like that here in People's Republic of China. Phones here are always unlocked, no subsidies, no mandatory contracts, and will usually work on any network, and quite democratic actually. Quite frankly I've got idea that some US carriers are more akin to Stalinist dictatorships than freedom and democracy. Verizon Wireless "Big Red = Big Brother".