Print 31 comment(s) - last by sprockkets.. on Nov 5 at 3:12 AM

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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RE: So I thought
By sprockkets on 11/5/2009 3:12:32 AM , Rating: 2
It's the law in parts of Europe and elsewhere around the world, but here in the U.S. the telecoms have won out over consumers thanks to the vast amounts of money into lobbying and pressuring government officials.

Even thought it isn't the law here, both major GSM carriers unlock phones after 90 days, save for the iphone of course. CDMA phones are easy to unlock and program, albeit with such limited potential with CDMA not being used widespread.

Unlocking your phone for the sole purpose of using your phone on other networks is currently legal due to a DMCA excemption granted almost 3 years ago.

5. Computer programs in the form of
firmware that enable wireless telephone
handsets to connect to a wireless
telephone communication network,
when circumvention is accomplished for
the sole purpose of lawfully connecting
to a wireless telephone communication

Apple, in fact is trying to get the government to do the reverse -- outlaw jailbreaking and outlawing.

The problem with your post is how horribly incorrect you are

The EFF wants a DMCA exception granted to hack the iphone to circumvent the app store, since it is already illegal to begin with since it involves hacking firmware to run software without being digitally signed, which otherwise is decrypted by keys stored in the ROM.

The only reason why the EFF, specifically Fred von Lohmann even cares is because Apple rejected their app which contained an "F-Bomb."

Oh, and since it already is illegal, it relegates jailbreaking to a grey, small scale market, so Apple has never sued any person or web site working on hacking the iphone/itouch. Allowing a DMCA exception to allow wide-scale distribution of commercial programs which allow the ability to pirate applications on the iphone is ridiculous.

You never talk about the benefits of a closed app store clamping down on piracy, thus lowering prices; for example, Astraware games for Android and iphones cost half as much as the Palm OS and WinMobile do.

It claims that jailbroken/unlocked iPhones are a terrorist threat as it claims they can be used to attack cell phone towers. To call such claims ridiculous is to put it mildly, but what worries me is that with all the lobbying money supporting locking, our elected officials might actually go along with them...

Perhaps you haven't heard how "hackers" demonstrated how easy it is to hack networks already via commodity hardware.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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