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Poor Apple. It must hurt, to get outsmarted yet again by George Hotz, a prolific iPhone hacker.  (Source: On the iPhone)
Apple's hardware team can't seem to keep their close platform closed

Apple has a big headache.  That headache is iPhone unlockers and jailbreakers.  With iPhone jailbreaking, the powerful handsets are no longer constrained to only run the apps that Apple allows.  And with unlocking, users can jump onto other networks, leaving Apple's partner AT&T and its patchy 3G network behind.

Apple has long and unsuccessfully waged war with the unlockers.  It has tried to brick their iPhones.  It has tried to release new firmware versions to try to lock them out.  But ultimately, time and time again, Apple's best hardware and software engineers are finding themselves outwitted and befuddled by the persistent hackers.

Leading the crew is George Hotz, a 20-year-old New Jersey native who goes by the aliases geohot, million75, or mil online.  When he was just a teen, he became the first to develop a procedure to jailbreak the iPhone allowing its use on other networks.  The move netted him a hot car, extra iPhones, money, and fame.  Now slightly older and a month out of his teenage years, Hotz continues to be among the most prolific iPhone unlockers, consistently outsmarting Apple.

Now Hotz has released his latest masterpiece, blacksn0w, a free unlocking utility that works with the latest iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS hardware (the latest 05.11.07 baseband, which locked out previous hacks).  The unlock works with a new version of Hotz's popular purplera1n jailbreak hack, dubbed blackra1n.  Together the hacks can both free the phone from the AT&T network and Apple's app restrictions.

Blacksn0w is available through the renegade app store Cydia, which specializes in apps Apple has rejected.  Full support for Tiger and Power PC Macs has been added with the latest version of blackra1n, blackra1n RC3. The process for Apple and Windows users is detailed in easy tutorials here, and here, respectively.

One can only wonder if Apple is truly trying to defeat the unlockers.  If so, how can the schemes of its seasoned engineers continually be foiled by Hotz and his legion of young iPhone hackers?  On the other hand, if it doesn't truly oppose unlocking, why would it lobby the government to outlaw the practice, claiming it supports terrorism and drug dealing?

Regardless of whether Apple truly opposes unlocking/jailbreaking or not, the work by Hotz, et. al is welcome as it introduces the iPhone to the free market of multiple app stores and networks.  It also allows tethering -- a feature currently banned by Apple and AT&T (be careful with this one, though, you can run over your data limits and get charged an arm and a leg -- we warned you!).


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Errors abound
By Shadowself on 11/3/2009 3:30:15 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
One can only wonder if Apple is truly trying to defeat the unlockers.


Of course Apple does not care about unlockers. The more phones that get sold the better. AT&T (in the U.S.) cares about unlockers. Apple only locks iPhones because their contract with AT&T requires them to. There are other parts of the world where iPhones are sold that are unlocked. Apple does not care.

quote:
It also allows tethering -- a feature currently banned by Apple and AT&T


Wrong. Seems like there are so many things wrong with this article. Apple fully supports tethering. It is built into the software of the iPhone. The problem (in the U.S.) is that AT&T does not support tethering. Period. It's an AT&T issue, not an Apple or iPhone issue.




RE: Errors abound
By InternetGeek on 11/3/2009 4:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
Apologist. Apple's behavior is always aimed at control. They getting together with ATT is because those two are like siamese twins.


RE: Errors abound
By talozin on 11/3/2009 7:16:55 PM , Rating: 5
Of course Apple does not care about unlockers.

I think that's wrong; Apple does very much care about unlockers, because they believe that the "Apple experience" is a big part of what they're selling. They want to control that experience, because they think they know what users want.

At the same time, I doubt Apple is crying bitter tears about that fact that someone has figured out how to do something that 1% of their iPhone customer base is ever going to bother doing. If I were a conspiracy theoriest, I'd think this was all part of the plan:

STEVE. Good afternoon, Phil. Thanks for coming by. We have a problem.

PHIL. Uh oh. What's the problem?

STEVE. iPhone sales are down this month. You know what that means.

PHIL. Time to release another update?

STEVE. That's right. Make it a little harder to get them unlocked this time, why don't you? The more hackers we can sell extra hardware to, the better.

PHIL. Will do. Hey, when are we going to start leaning on AT&T to enable tethering?

(STEVE and PHIL both laugh hysterically.)


RE: Errors abound
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/3/2009 7:35:39 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
STEVE. iPhone sales are down this month. You know what that means.

PHIL. Time to release another update?

STEVE. That's right. Make it a little harder to get them unlocked this time, why don't you? The more hackers we can sell extra hardware to, the better.

<ackbar>It's a trap!</ackbar>


RE: Errors abound
By MrWho on 11/4/2009 5:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
6! \o/


RE: Errors abound
By frobizzle on 11/4/2009 9:46:02 AM , Rating: 2
I think Apple likes this cat and mouse game with the unlockers. It is free advertising for them and gets their name in the news.


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