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The iPhone update question ... unlocked users will probably want to click "Cancel" for lack of a "Hell, NO!" option.  (Source: Gizmodo, Brian Lam)
Apple warns users that their unlocked iPhones may not work after new software update

Apple recently announced that its new update will likely kill iPhones that have been unlocked to work on to networks other than AT&T, rendering them completely inoperable.

In a statement released by the company earlier this week, the company stated: "Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed."

This statement was immediately followed by Apple's announcement that unlocking the iPhone will result in a voided warranty.

"This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences."

Last week Steve Jobs had publicly denounced the unlocked iPhones, saying Apple would fight against them.  "It's a constant cat and mouse game," he stated.

There are currently many free and paid unlocking programs, as chronicled at DailyTech.

John McLaughlin of, a company out of Ireland that has developed unlocking software, thinks Apple's claim that unlocking software made harmful irreversible changes is fabricated.

"We have reviewed the source code of a number of these applications and to the best of our knowledge any changes made to the software can easily be reversed," McLaughlin said in an e-mail. "After unlocking the iPhone, minimal effort is required to get it in to its previously locked state."

Apple has sold over 1 million iPhones as reported at DailyTech.  There is no word on how many unlocked iPhones are "in the wild," operating on T-Mobile's compatible network or other compatible networks worldwide.

The update's includes the software that will allow the iPhone to access iTunes wirelessly and the Starbucks promotional software, among other updates.

Apple's move may be illegal according to legal experts.  The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act forbids manufacturers from voiding the warranty of a product unless they can prove that the user damaged the product.  Whether Apple's moves are legal depends on whether they can prove in court (as they likely will) that the unlocking software caused irreversible damage to the iPhone's software or hardware.

Many iPhone users will likely find this development alarming.  The solution is simply not to update their iPhones, but many will be displeased that they cannot get the same priveleges as other users -- such as WiFi iTunes.  The legality of the move is debatable, but Apple seems firmly resolved to try to stamp out unlocked iPhones.

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RE: Apple FUD
By SirLucius on 9/25/2007 4:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there have been iPhone updates since these hacks were released, right? It would seem that those didn't brick the phone, so either Apple is intentionally putting in code to fry the hacked phones, or they're going out of their way not to take it out. Those updates may have just been for iTunes, though. But I seriously thought the two were connected.

RE: Apple FUD
By Anonymous Freak on 9/25/2007 9:27:49 PM , Rating: 4
There is a difference. The previous updates came out before people figured out how to "carrier unlock" the iPhone. This unlocking process involves changing a piece of firmware that is separate from the "OS" of the phone. While a standard "Restore" basically reformats the iPhone's OS and erases all traces of 'conventional' hacks, it doesn't touch this carrier-lock firmware. All Apple would have to do is add a change to the carrier-lock firmware that assumes that it is updating the original AT&T-locked firmware, and while there is no active attempt to destroy an unlocked phone, it might very well just have the same effect.

Again, Apple doesn't have to go out of their way to detect a hacked phone and destroy it. They just have to write an update that is specifically designed to 'update' the known AT&T firmware. If it just happens to kill unlocked phones, Apple doesn't care. If it happens to work just fine on an unlocked phone, well, just wait for the next update.

Of course, people have also asserted that refusing warranty service on an unlocked phone may be against various U.S. laws. (I forget the exact name of the law, and am too tired from dealing with a sick 3 year old to look it up now, sorry.)

But yes, it is pure FUD that unlocking produces "irreparable" damage. After all, if it were truly "irreparable", then how would it be possible to have developed a reversal process less than 24 hours after Apple's press release?

RE: Apple FUD
By erikejw on 9/26/2007 1:31:09 PM , Rating: 2
But yes, it is pure FUD that unlocking produces "irreparable" damage. After all, if it were truly "irreparable", then how would it be possible to have developed a reversal process less than 24 hours after Apple's press release?

Well, what it tells me is the quality of Apple software and firmware engineers. If they end up making the iPhone damaged by mistake as they claim I'd be very wary if I owned any Apple products like a computer or mp3 player.

Go by some quality instead if this is the capabilities of Apple.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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