(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
iphones, unlock


Unlocked iPhones (Temporarily?) iBricked

from the and-so-it-goes dept

As Apple warned earlier this week, the latest firmware update did, in fact, "break" unlocked iPhones and kill unofficial 3rd party iPhone apps. It's still not clear how intentional this was, but it still seems like something that Apple should have made at least a little more of an effort to avoid. The folks who unlocked their iPhones and who were installing 3rd party apps were the early adopters who were most likely to go out and evangelize the device -- especially if it was more useful thanks to alternative networks and better applications. Over at Gizmodo, they have a good post discussing what's actually happening, with two important points: the update is not doing any permanent damage to the phone (meaning that it'll probably be a short while until software hacks are developed to bring bricked iPhones back to life) and that Apple could have pretty easily avoided messing up the phones (suggesting that perhaps it was at least somewhat intentional).

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  1. identicon
    Quentin, 28 Sep 2007 @ 9:07am

    Apple stepped into a new market with the iPhone. A market that is all about customization and personal usage. Locking it down should not be tolerated, because just as we're getting to a point where we have more consumer freedom and choice, being happy with a lockdown just because it's Apple is going to slow the rest of it down. We need to demand the ability to choose our carrier and hardware on our own, not be forced to use a carrier just because we want/need a certain hardware. This applies to all devices, not just the iPhone.

    In terms of the update, there has been some speculation and some semi-confirmed reports that the pseudo brick is caused by Apple changing the IMEI number to phones that have been unlocked. If that turns out to be true, then it was obviously intentional, and there is a LOT Apple should have done to avoid it. No matter what anyone says, software development isn't as complicated as the "Apple could not account for every change" apologists. They did not have to account for every hack or unlock, they just needed to do a simple checksum to the software and see if it's been unlocked, and not apply the update if it causes problems. They are obviously doing the checksum anyway, since they are only changing IMEI numbers on unlocked devices, they have the functionality in there, they just used it in a bad way. A way that eliminates our choice as consumers of how to use the devices we OWN. Even if you don't think Apple is wrong in their decision you should not defend their actions on the principal of consumer choice. What they are doing is stopping innovation and causing a roadblock in the "revolutionizing" of the mobile market. Beyond that, Apple has been pushed forward by 3rd part apps for years. Many of the great features people love now were once 3rd party apps developed by independent developers. Dashboard was Konfabulator, CoverFlow was originally a 3rd party plugin developed by SteelSkies. These products are now cornerstones in Apple's products, if it weren't for 3rd party developers, Apple would be no different than MS in terms of usability and "cool" factor.

    Love them or hate them, what Apple is doing is actually BAD for the market and innovation, not good.

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