Apple Issues Warning on iPhone Unlocking

1iProdApple has issued a statement today that programs available for the iPhone to SIM unlock it could cause “irreparable damage” to the device. Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which w…[…] Thanks to 1iProd for providing this nice story on Digg.

What other users say about this:

LogicAJV: I can’t wait for Apple to be sued for monopolistic practices. Anytime someone limits competition, like only AT&T can be your carrier, and you can only get software from X company, its a huge monopoly. Didn’t Windows get sued for having their media player getting preference or something like that. Soon Apple will get sued for the same type of crap. You can’t limit how someone can use something they buy, maybe revoke warranty, but then you can’t crash their item by purpose either. If they do brick some iphones, they will have to fix them or replace them. It doesn’t matter if they didn’t unintentionally or not. I break something I still have to pay to replace it, unintentionally or not.

techhead89: Who wants to bet that this “update” is like Microsoft Genuine Advantage updates?

shmatt: This is from /.
People should read this before complaining:

It’s not about unlocking phones.
It’s about the radio firmware being altered in an unknown way, or even damaged. (Note: this is DIFFERENT from jailbreaking, OS hacking, and installing third party apps.)
Why should that be covered under warranty?
[…] is Apple designing future software updates to do damage to iPhone when said SIM Unlock code is present?
Absolutely not.
Apple has already explicitly stated that they are not going to intentionally or proactively do anything to unlocked phones. Even a small amount of logic would reveal that when the baseband radio firmware is in an unknown state (this is different from the OS on the phone, and doing the “hacking” to install third party applications, and so on), future updates, either to the firmware or the OS or both, may break things. Even a software update that expects the radio to accept commands or interact with the OS in a particular way could end up breaking things.
Oh, I know a lot of you really want to believe Apple is actually going to intentionally damage phones that are unlocked. Sorry to disappoint, but that is simply not the case.
If there is any legal issue that erupts over this, Apple will very easily be able to prove that there is no way for it to predict the state of the hardware when it does updates when it has been altered, perhaps irreparably depending on the method, in an unknown fashion by the user.
Further, I think it’s funny that some seem to carp about how Apple will be “fixing” the mechanism via which phones are currently unlocked, as if it’s evil. Of course they will! It’s a general buffer overflow that happens to be used in the unlock process. Should Apple not fix an exploitable buffer overflow in the OS just so people can continue to unlock phones? The arguments on this topic are laughable.
Moreover, while end-user unlocking of handsets is legal in the US under the current DMCA exemption, the vendor is under NO OBLIGATION to support the phones in such a state with future software/firmware updates. I can hear all the “But what about the UK?” people chiming in now. Apple will do whatever is required by law in any jurisdiction. If a certain jurisdiction REQUIRES unlocked phones, Apple may skip that market entirely (for now). Even in the UK it isn’t as clear as some people like to think it is, because the phone technically isn’t subsidized, meaning that it may not have to be unlocked after the subsidy is repaid – because there is no subsidy. And a large part of Apple’s iPhone strategy with carriers is tight integration for things like the activation process: things that simply aren’t supported with anyone but the partner carrier.
Remember: it’s “legal” to do a lot of things which also might end up voiding the warranty of a particular product. Something being “legal” doesn’t imply all of these things people seem to think it does. A lot of odd arguments appeared in the last story about this, saying that since the DMCA exemption allows handset unlocking, somehow, Apple must actively enable it. Wrong.
Customers have a choice:
– Don’t ever apply a software update after unlocking (unless applying said update to a phone unlocked using your exact mechanism has been confirmed to work by others), and your phone will stay unlocked
– Don’t buy an iPhone

Don’t act like Apple is somehow bound to support all unlocked phones via any mechanism, some which may damage the phone, in any and all future software updates, especially when it can’t possibly predict all iterations. You don’t have to buy an iPhone.
And if you want to argue about simlocking in general, it’s a very common practice the world over, and your beef isn’t with Apple. If Apple just sold all iPhones unlocked, like some people think they should, there would be nowhere near the tight integration with any and all carriers, the pleasant do-it-yourself activation process that is part of what makes the iPhone genius, not to mention the economic arguments, wherein Apple gets backchannel subsidies and even monthly percentages of revenues from the carrier.
Remember: you don’t have to buy an iPhone. If you already have and chose to unlock it, I guess you’d better wait for someone else to try the firmware update before you potentially brick your phone. And it won’t have been because Apple did it intentionally. Oh, I know full well that a lot of people believe Apple is doing this intentionally and for no other reason, when in reality, Apple knows that by far the best course is to just leave phones untouched when possible. Except there is no surefire technical way to guarantee that’s possible.
Of course, this will devolve into disinformation where people believe that even the third party application hacks also might void the warranty or “damage” the phone, or that Apple is purposely “damaging” phones that are unlocked, and then villainously not honoring the warranties just to “stick it” to them, when in reality it’s nothing of the sort…so I expect it to be a big bad press brouhaha when the first people get their phones bricked.

Kitsune818: wtf.. at what point did Apple advertise this as the iPhone-development-platform? And the most common argument for the fact that they should allow 3rd party apps is because “I paid 600 bucks for this thing!”.. Seems like that was your first mistake right there. I love apple products, but seriously, in the end, it’s just a fscking phone.

maninblac1: The number of “hacked” iPhones that will be broken by this update will be exactly proportional to the amount of iPhones that are broken simply because the user updated their software. We don’t even have to think twice about the fiasco’s that apple software updates can cause by themselves.

shpider: “iPhone Dev Team” issues statement

Posted Sep 25th 2007 11:00AM by Erica Sadun

A spokesman for the iPhone Dev Team, the group that developed the iPhone unlock has issued a statement condemning Apple and promising a tool in the next week which will restore your iPhone to a factory-fresh state. The unlock, he writes, made the iPhone free and useful world-wide, not just in certain countries. The text of the statement, with modifications for grammar and spelling, follows after the break.

9/25 Statement from the iPhone unlockers

Based on download numbers, the iPhone Dev Team believes that, worldwide, several hundred thousand people have unlocked their iPhones. That number continues growing every day. The removal of the lock, a bug, was a major step forward in the iPhone development. It made the iPhone free and useful to anyone, not only to those in certain countries.

Apple now announces that the next firmware update, expected later this week, will possibly break the handset of all of us free users in the World. It speaks of “damage” done to the firmware and “unauthorized access” to our own property, The removal of those firmware problems, which were built in in favor for AT&T, does not cause “damage” as they want to make us believe.

We will provide you with a tool in the next week which will be able to recover your nck counter and seczones and even enables you to restore your phone to a Factory-like state.

In the meantime we advise you not to update your free iPhone with the upcoming firmware. Wait for the next version to be fixed to work properly with your carrier and not break your phone.

shpider: People are immediately running around screaming FIRE !!!

Apple is just covering their asses… They’re not saying we’re going to destroy your iPhone.. They’re saying that they will be issuing software updates to the iPhone as they shipped it… They’re saying that if you modified your iPhone and there are unexpected incompatabilities incompatibilities, don’t come running to them for support…

I have hacked my iPhone… I expect there to be issues with updates… Not because Apple wants to punish me but because I have changed the software…

goldstarqc: TO APPLE INC. :


I had to buy a US version, then Unlock it, then use it on Rogers. I even called Rogers to ask to block any Data plan on my Line. I use only the WiFi and it’s great that way !!!!!!!!

So, Don’t brick my iphone unless you give me another way to get one than unlocking it !


*goes to hang himself*

cmadach: Don’t like it? Don’t buy one. Speak with your wallets. Consumer whores unite!

But seriously, you knew what you bought when you shelled out the cash. Caveat emptor, mofos.

minus1999: people want the iphone but dont at&t. so they unlock it, then apple, probably tired of at&t whining, does something. boo friggin whoo.
i dont remember any one using the motorola rokr on tmobile when it first came out for at&t. or sprints upstage on verizon. why such a big deal over the iphone? its really simple. may not be easy, but simple. get it with at&t and port your number. or wait, at&t wont have it for ever and you wont have to go through the trouble of unlocking it.

tweezerz: RANT:

Hey Apple! Don’t become a Microsoft! We all have to make a buck, but come on! Allow the community to enhance the iPhone! What these programmers are doing is intelligence at the highest level and all they are really doing to helping us have the proper tools to enhance our lives. What do you care? The iPhone is awesome, but you continually find ways to make it shittier (AT&T 2 year contract, 2 years?!?, no 3rd Party Apps?) Think about it this way: All of my fellow sys admins made the switch when you came out with OSX, finally giving them a shell and the capacity to control the computer (like UNIX, Linux, etc). These are the same computer guys that make suggestions to the end users on what to buy. Opening up the shell opened up the intelligent users, which has now trickled down to end users. Close off the iPhone and you have an OK tool. Open it and the sky is the limit.

Be intelligent. Think of the greater good……or get off your asses and start developing new s*** for the iPhone!


p.s. I just bought a Nokia N800. This tipped me over the line.

vladin: whew… about the 3rd party apps..

bigdaddyguido: ”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. ”It’s unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for … those consequences.”

how exactly is this saying all 3rd party software is banned. Apple specifically mentioned wanting 3rd party applications for their phone, and has repeatedly said that unlocking isn’t something illegal, but that they cannot be held responsible for some software hack destroying your phone. Sounds basically to me like every other company saying that making home-brew adjustments to the firmware voids your warrenty because they can’t be responsible for your homebrew. So stop misquoting apple to make them sound like villians, if you don’t wantcan’t afford an iphone, then suck it up and let the rest of cingular users enjoy it.

john570: Who the fuck bought an Iphone?


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