It's emerging that the exclusive French deal between Orange and Apple to distribute the iPhone in that country may face a lagel setback which could still scupper the arrangement.

Apple revealed its network partners for the UK and Germany in September, but news of a French connection wasn't officially revealed - despite the Apple Expo show which took place in Paris last month.

According to French newspaper Les Echos, a local French consumer-friendly law may be the biggest barrier to an exclusive tie-up between the two firms.

The law "would require the iPhone to be sold both with and without contracts, undermining its exclusivity for Orange and Apple's demand of up to 30 per cent of voice and data revenues," the report (as translated by MarketWatch) reveals.

In related news, one in 10 iPhones sold in September went to owners hoping to unlock the device for use on networks other than AT&T, an analyst claimed last night.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes "roughly 10 per cent" of all iPhones sold in September were destined to be unlocked, though he bases his analysis on speculation.

"During our store checks we noticed many people buying iPhones in the maximum five per customer allotments, which we believe were being purchased to be unlocked and operated on carriers other than AT&T," he writes, as reported by ArsTechnica.

Italian Mac website setteB.IT reports that sales of the device climbed 56 per cent at Apple's biggest retail outlets after Apple contentiously cut prices on the product on 5 September. That report predicts Apple will sell 10.5 million iPhones in the US alone next year, anticipating as many as two million sales by the end of the first weeks of November.