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Firmware update 1.1.1 will relock user's iPhones and force them to activate with AT&T.  (Source: Apple Inc.)
Apple has released its new firmware update, which alters unlocked iPhones

Those rushing in droves to unlock the Apple iPhone may be in for a surprise when they try out Apple's newest firmware update; version 1.1.1.

Apple released a statement earlier this week that, "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."

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

It turns out that the reports are true -- somewhat.  Apple released its controversial iPhone firmware update yesterday.  Among its new official features:

• iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store
• Louder speakerphone and receiver volume
• Home Button double-click shortcut to phone favorites of music controls
• Space bar double-tap shortcut to intelligently insert period and space
• Mail attachments are viewable in portrait and landscape
• Stocks and cities in Stocks and Weather can be re-ordered
• Apple Bluetooth Headset battery status in the Status Bar
• Support for TV Out
• Preference to turn off EDGE/GPRS when roaming internationally
• New Passcode lock time intervals
• Adjustable alert volume

iPhone unlocking has become very widespread, thanks to two key software offerings:  iPhoneSimfree and anySIM.  These programs "unlock" the iPhone and allow it to work on T-Mobile's compatible EDGE network.  In foreign countries, unlocking the phone's SIM card to other networks is the only way to currently enjoy phone service outside the U.S.  AT&T only provides service within the U.S.  England, France, and Germany are all getting dedicated providers in November, but until then or in other countries, there is no way to use the iPhone without unlocking it. 

It is unknown how many unlocked users there are but with over a million iPhones in the wild there is likely a substantial number.  The iPhoneDev group, based on the number of people who downloaded their software, thinks there are "several hundred thousand" users of unlocked iPhones-- a figure Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster takes as a rough upper bound. "Even if the average hacker downloads the software twice, that's still over 100,000 hacked," he says. "The story is far from over."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has publicly denounced iPhone unlocking, saying Apple vowed to fight it and that "It's a constant cat and mouse game."

Firmware update 1.1.1 works perfectly on normal iPhones, with no reported issues, as expected. 

The update also does not destroy unlocked iPhones, contrary to what Apple indicated might happen.

It does however render them useless, unless you are willing to get an AT&T contract.  Installer.app and any other unlocking associated software is rendered useless by the update, as well.  It is still in the stored on the phone, but the application will no longer appear on the screen.  Further, the update puts unlocked iPhones into the Activation screen that awaited normal users when they first purchased their phone.

At the activation screen, users can try to activate using a valid AT&T activation card and iTunes.  The update appears to render iPhones unlocked by certain modification programs unable to activate at all, according to early reports.  For these applications, users replaced the unlocked SIM card with a fresh one to no avail. 


The program IPhoneSimfree allows iPhone activation with the AT&T card and iTunes, according to a statement from the software providers.  After activation, the iPhone will operate as normal, but will be locked to the network.

It has not yet been fully tested whether the phone can subsequently be unlocked by any means without at least partially crippling the device.  Part of unlocking software's operation relies on updating the seczone region of the phone's memory.  The firmware update apparently clears any updated values and restores the memory to its default configuration, relocking the phone to the AT&T network.  Further, the firmware update may have additional changes to help prevent this zone of the memory from being accessed.

iPhone users on 3rd-party networks should not install the 1.1.1 update if they wish to continue to use a non-authorized network.  The update is voluntary, so there is nothing stopping you from not doing so.


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RE: Title
By Flunk on 9/28/2007 4:21:01 PM , Rating: 5
It is fun to see Apple acting like the evil empire they constantly accuse Microsoft of being (to be clear I am not saying anything about Microsoft here, just Apple).

If you are a Cell phone manufacturer, why do you care which provider people use your product on? Wouldn't it be better for you to allow people to use it on any provider, so you can sell more?

Wait a sec, isn't AT&T paying them for the right to sell Apple's product? Doesn't that sound a little big like an illegal monopoly?

Apple treats their customers terribly, that is more than enough reason to avoid buying their products. At the prices they charge they should be providing premium levels of service to back up their premium priced products.


RE: Title
By Hare on 9/28/2007 4:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you are a Cell phone manufacturer, why do you care which provider people use your product on? Wouldn't it be better for you to allow people to use it on any provider, so you can sell more?

Apple gets 40% of every iPhone phone bill (O2 operator). I'd say the answer to your question is pretty obvious :)
quote:
Doesn't that sound a little big like an illegal monopoly?
Not at all. Apple simply has a product that operators want badly and are willing to pay for exclusive rights.


RE: Title
By phattyboombatty on 9/28/2007 4:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apple gets 40% of every iPhone phone bill (O2 operator). I'd say the answer to your question is pretty obvious :)


If a consumer purchases an iPhone in an area where AT&T coverage is not available, Apple is not missing out on any lost profits from the phone bill, but is gaining the profit margin from the sale of the hardware. From Apple's perspective, they only stand to gain from iPhone sales to consumers that would not have purchased the iPhone but for the unlocking software.

The more likely reason that Apple is fighting the unlocking of iPhones is because they are contractually obligated to do so by AT&T.


RE: Title
By mdogs444 on 9/28/2007 5:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
Doubtful. If they get 40% of a $60 monthly bill - on a 2 year contract, they would get roughly $288. Thats more profit than what they would get with an idividual iPhone sale. If they allowed them to be sold on all networks, they would get no kickbacks, and only make the profit from the sale of the phone itself.


RE: Title
By energy1man on 9/29/2007 5:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
$288 for the year, $576 for the 2 year contract.


RE: Title
By Hare on 9/29/2007 4:29:32 AM , Rating: 3
You are forgetting that AT&T is not alone. There's also Orange, O2 and T-mobile. Hello, over here. On the other side of the ocean ;)

Apple has two reasons for this.
a) get profits from phone bills
b) avoid getting sued by the megaoperators.


RE: Title
By Griswold on 9/29/2007 6:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
I dont think its 40%. T-Mobile in germany is said to give apple 10%.


RE: Title
By Hare on 9/29/2007 9:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
Try this,

Google: "O2 iphone 40%"

quote:
The guardian is reporting that Apple can command a 40% revenue share over whatever O2 (a UK wireless operator) will make from iPhone users...


RE: Title
By Flunk on 9/29/2007 1:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
Do you know what a rhetorical question is?


RE: Title
By Hare on 9/29/2007 3:44:10 PM , Rating: 2
Which one was the rhetorical question? Sorry, english is not my native tongue so I could have missed something... Then again, sarcasm/rhetorics is quite difficult to pick out of plain text.


RE: Title
By mdogs444 on 9/28/2007 4:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
Before I start commenting - Just know that I do not have an iPhone, or any apple products, nor do I plan on it. I have a zune and use windows vista and am quite happy with them....now...

quote:
If you are a Cell phone manufacturer, why do you care which provider people use your product on? Wouldn't it be better for you to allow people to use it on any provider, so you can sell more?


The reason the cell phone manufacturers - at least in the case of apple - care which provider uses their phones is simple. They are getting major, major kickbacks from the service providers. AT&T is paying apple a portion of the monthly service charges just for being able to retain exclusive rights to the iPhone. Service providers across Europe are doing the same thing, and I believe getting even larger kickbacks. The kickbacks that they make on a single service contract is probably a larger profit than just the cell phone profit itself. If the phone was available everywhere for every provider, why would the providers give kickbacks?

quote:
Wait a sec, isn't AT&T paying them for the right to sell Apple's product? Doesn't that sound a little big like an illegal monopoly?


I dont quite understand why that would be illegal. Its the same as microsoft and sony paying game makers to only allow the game to be played on one exclusive console. Also, that has nothing to do with a monopoly, and not to talk down on you, but I think you should look at what the real definition of a monopoly is. A real instance of a monopoly would be if every service provider only carried the iphone and nothing else, thus forcing you to buy an iphone if you want a cell phone.

quote:
Apple treats their customers terribly, that is more than enough reason to avoid buying their products. At the prices they charge they should be providing premium levels of service to back up their premium priced products.


This part i am not too familiar with because i dont own any apple products, but im not sure what you mean by treating their customers terribly. From what i read, people who purchase apple products and services continue to do so because they feel they are getting their moneys worth, at least is my guess. But like i said, i dont have any of their products or services, so i am not going to comment on how bad they are because i dont have first hand experience.


"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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