Apple has a new scheme to "hack-proof" itself partner's special Wi-Fi connection

Apple's iPhone is the cell phone market's hottest purchase -- and Starbucks is the coffee business's hottest cup of Joe.  So it seems a natural union that these two wildly successful companies, which largely target the same market segment, should develop a partnership.  Sure enough a partnership was announced last September.

The deal offered free Wi-Fi to iPhone users, as well as occasional special free iTunes song downloads.  The Wi-Fi provided allowed customers to download songs and surf the air faster (until the iPhone 3G, Wi-Fi was the only way you could connect to iTunes as there was no over-the-air downloads).  Despite a lawsuit from a jealous T-Mobile, who had been Starbucks former partner, the new offering was highly anticipated.

Unfortunately, the service was sporadically deployed and due to a hack pulled altogether.  In May, users discovered that changing their browser's user agent to Mobile Safari earned them free Wi-Fi.  Needless to say, the widely publicized hack was short-lived, and once again iPhone was without free Starbucks Wi-Fi.

Then they were offered in July briefly, only to be pulled yet again.

Well now, at last, iPhone owners can stop spilling tears of sadness in their lattes, for free internet hath returned.  For iPhone users, you must select the "attwifi" network, when at one of Starbuck's thousands of locations or other AT&T hotspots.  You then enter your phone number in the box that comes up in your browser.  It will then send a SMS to your phone with an activation link, which you can click to begin free browsing.

Its seems like it’s only a matter of time before the clever hackers and exploiters find a way to circumvent this latest mechanism -- but for now iPhone owners can let the good times roll.

According to AT&T's website it also has hotspots at "Airports, Hotels, Universities, Convention Centers, Sports Centers, Restaurants, Bookstores, and Supermarkets".  So keep your eyes peeled for that "attwifi" network at these types of places.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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