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Apple's latest iPhone moves may have earned it a new class-action law suit--Apple's answer: purchase a new iPhone.

As reported on DailyTech, Apple Inc. disabled unlocked iPhones with its Firmware 1.1.1 update by putting them into activation limbo.  The unlocked phones could not make any calls until activated with a valid AT&T card and iTunes.  Even then, the phones would sometimes still be locked, according to preliminary reports.  Apple covered its bases, by providing a "slide for emergency" option which allows users to make 911 calls on their newly-bricked iPhone.

While many users simply are not going to install the update or are hoping for a cracked version of the patch to be released, some are seeking legal avenues to fight Apple's strike on the modding/hacking/homebrew community.

On Saturday, posts by user myndex appeared in Apple's iPhone Forums, proposing three groupings of users who could seek legal action and calling for users whose iPhones were rendered inoperable to contact the poster with answers to a list of questions detailing their iPhone situation.

The posts were taken down relatively quickly, but screenshots were posted here [1][2].  Additionally, a quick search reveals that Myndex is a tech and research group that appears to use Macintosh computers.  Whether the owner of the Apple forums handle is associated with this group is unknown.

Apple has protected itself by including a large amount of legal phrasing in its packaging, instruction manuals, and online materials, warning users against unlocking their iPhones, which they say violates their contract.

Noah Funderburg, an assistant dean at the University of Alabama School of Law, was quoted as saying. "Anyone who hacks must know that they are taking certain risks," Funderburg told the paper. "If they aren’t willing to assume the risks upfront--like a brick iPhone--then maybe they should not hack the device."

Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman indicated that Apple was unapologetic about the situation. "The inability to use your phone after making unauthorized modifications isn’t covered under the iPhone warranty. If the damage was due to use of an unauthorized software application, voiding their warranty, they should purchase a new iPhone,” said Bowcock

In some cases Apple appears to have not only killed unlockers, but those who simply were participating in the homebrew/3rd-party applications community.  Ross Good, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had not expected to be affected as he had only installed a couple of seemingly harmless third party applications, including one for instant messaging.  After updating, he found his phone returned to the activation screen and would not activate, though he had a valid AT&T contract.  His phone is now among the growing number of phones "bricked" by the update.

No word was received from Apple on what its stance was on the damage done by its updates to non-unlocked users.

Apple is likely to face increased scrutinity, as well as possible legal assaults following its attack on unlockers.  It appears that many, including even non-unlockers were affected by the update.  Apple's is entirely unapologetic to those affected.  Their answer--get a new iPhone.


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RE: Legality - Apple will lose
By HighWing on 10/1/2007 1:03:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In terms of a car example, a good one would be if you purchased a new car from a dealership. While it was under warranty, you decided to make modifications to it - add a turbo charger, change cam gears, etc.


I'm not sure what company your quoting from, but a few years back I owned a Toyota Matrix. I was interested in adding after market parts to my car and I read up on the warranty for it. According to Toyota's warranty at the time I could add in things like a turbo-charger, etc and it would not void my warranty. Furthermore, if I was to add the TRD parts like their turbo-charger, that would actually still be covered under their warranty. The only catch was that if the non-TRD part was determined to be the cause of a problem, they would not fix that problem, but they would still fix anything else as long as that was not the case.

So you might want to go back and check whatever it is you were quoting from, or consider getting your car from a different manufacture


RE: Legality - Apple will lose
By mdogs444 on 10/1/2007 1:19:57 PM , Rating: 1
Toyota's warranty will only be valid if the product is a TRD product (licensed by Toyota), and installed by a Toyota Dealership - or licensed Toyota mechanic.

You cannot just go buy a random turbocharger, bolt it on, and expect toyota to cover the warranty if you blow the motor. Thats not going to happen.


RE: Legality - Apple will lose
By HighWing on 10/1/2007 3:21:05 PM , Rating: 1
No offense but did you fully read my post or just skim the words?

You said:
quote:
You cannot just go buy a random turbocharger, bolt it on, and expect toyota to cover the warranty if you blow the motor


I said:
quote:
...Furthermore, if I was to add the TRD parts like their turbo-charger, that would actually still be covered under their warranty. The only catch was that if the non-TRD part was determined to be the cause of a problem, they would not fix that problem, but they would still fix anything else as long as that was not the case.


I left out the part about who installs it, but I covered the rest. And I did confirm this at the dealership as well. And just to further mention I actually installed TRD parts myself and at least at my dealer they did honor the warranty on them when I had a problem.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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