iOS 4, locked phone

In the news they keep talking about the san bernadino bomber cell iphone being locked, and they say that 10 tries and the phone forgets the data, and that this is only for i0S 7, but when I google, I found articles about this going back to iOS 4 and 2010.
So what are the facts?
And what happens if someone with a locked phone forgets the code, but he's willing to live without the data? Can it be unlocked and how much does it cost to do that? Or is it just a way to sell more phones, by making locked ones worthless.
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On 3/25/2016 3:31 AM, Micky wrote:

misc.phone.mobile.iphone
The people in that newsgroup will know.
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