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iPhone Freed From AT&T, Twice

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the everything-but-the-visual-voicemail dept.

Communications 357

A very large number of readers sent in stories about one or the other of the two new claims to have unlocked the iPhone for use on other GSM carriers. A New Jersey teenager, George Hotz, posted instructions for unlocking the iPhone using a soldering gun and a lot of patience. This is from coverage in a local NJ paper: "If someone handed him an iPhone new out of the box, he could modify it in 'about an hour,' he said. A person following his directions might take 'a good 12 hours,' the teen estimated." Hotz has put up a YouTube video substantiating his claim, and is conducting an eBay auction for one of his two hacked phones. The other hack is by a commercial outfit called iPhoneSIMfree.com, whose claim Engadget has verified. The company will be selling licenses to the hack, minimum quantity 500, at a price not yet announced. These hacks are much bigger news for those outside America. Expect to see an industry spring up to meet European (and Asian?) demand for freed iPhones.

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357 comments

Calling all Lawyers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347081)

I smell Lawsuits.

Butt Crack... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347151)

Or Butt Smack...

That is the question.

(by the way, this *is* a drug reference)

Re:Butt Crack... (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347251)

"I'm only kidding folks...I would never do crack I would never do crack I would never do a drug named after a part of my own ass, ok folks? Kind of a personal guideline..." -Denis Leary

Re:Calling all Lawyers (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347763)

The guy's blog is not responding - he's got to know this means nothing but heartache for him going forward. What was it...like four guys and three of them conned the kid into going public. Very public...?

+1 Moronic Moderation [NT] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347841)

[NT]

twitter is gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347085)

twitter is gay

So is tu madre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347421)

She artifically in-salmon-ated herself just 'cause she's a lesbian, lol.

More Like.... (2, Interesting)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347119)

Expect to see endless lawsuits spring up about this. But really, is there ground to stand on against this?

Re:More Like.... (5, Interesting)

monktus (742861) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347147)

There's nothing to stop you unlocking any other phone (in Europe anyway), so I doubt the iPhone will be any different. If anything, if Apple tries to prevent it, I could see the European Commission stepping in.

Re:More Like.... (3, Interesting)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347355)

Except (AFAIK) you need to have certified you equipment for radio transmission. And since you've physically hacked your phone, my guess is the Apple certification doesn't count anymore.

Certifiable (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347595)

That's a problem for you as an individual hacker. I suspect it'll be less of a problem for that corp. that did the software hack; they'll just make their own official certification for iPhones hacked with their software.

physical? (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347645)

Except (AFAIK) you need to have certified you equipment for radio transmission. And since you've physically hacked your phone, my guess is the Apple certification doesn't count anymore.
There's nothing physical (hardware, that is) about this hack, at least not for the iphonesimfree.com hack. And as long as the software doesn't make any modifications to the way the radio behaves (which I would imagine it doesn't), it should be just fine.

Except for one small problem (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347679)

They might step in but for one small problem: The iPhone isn't available in Europe right now.

But other than that tiny detail, I agree with your post :)

Re:More Like.... (5, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347237)

Unlocking a phone isn't illegal. (nor should it be)

Apple doesn't lose out of this, so I can't see them rushing to redesign the hardware or software.

The only loser it AT&T. And one can easily argue that if the provided a good connection product, at a competitive price and backed it up with quality service they'd have nothing to worry about.

But, of course, the only reason for all service providers all over the globe to use lock-ins is because the last thing any phone company offers is any of the above.

So, yeah, let's hear those world's smallest violins.

Re:More Like.... (4, Informative)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347503)

Apple doesn't lose out of this, so I can't see them rushing to redesign the hardware or software.
Doesn't Apple get a share of revenue from each AT&T contract? I would expect them to respond to this asap.
http://www.mobile-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story _title=Analyst__Apple_Gets_Healthy_Share_of_AT_T_C ontracts&story_id=102008J3T13I [mobile-tech-today.com]
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/07/19/anal yst_weighs_in_on_apples_rev_share_arrangement_with _att.html [appleinsider.com]

Re:More Like.... (2, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347567)

Doesn't Apple get a share of revenue from each AT&T contract? I would expect them to respond to this asap.

Sure, they'll probably respond (and I'd wager that they'll wait until AFTER the phone sells on eBay--you know, to ensure some legal technicality ensues due to the sale) but really, if their business model relies (at least partially) on the revenue of another company, then shame on them.

Re:More Like.... (4, Interesting)

Shenkerian (577120) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347627)

Why do you say that? It's a perfectly legitimate business model to develop a platform that draws revenue from third-party licenses. The video game industry is an obvious example.

Re:More Like.... (-1, Troll)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347777)

The video game industry is a crappy model that relies on ignorance and short sightedness of the unwashed masses to support it.

Re:More Like.... (3, Interesting)

norminator (784674) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347805)

But do they have more to gain from selling the hardware, or from their cut of the revenue? Estimates of profits on the hardware are anywhere from 23% ($138) [eetimes.com] to 55% ($329) [infoworld.com] of the cost of the phones (for the $599 iPhone, not sure about the $499 one). According to your links, Apple gets either $3 per contract ($72 over 2 years) or $11 ($264 over 2 years), depending on whether the AT&T customer is new to AT&T or not.

Depending on the balance of new customers to old (and 4GB iPhones to 8GB iPhones), Apple may just make more money by letting people buy the phone and use it with any provider, especially considering that the legal fees to try to enforce the locked phone policy would probably wipe out any difference in revenue from lost AT&T customers. That's provided that AT&T doesn't make too much of a stink with Apple about it. In any case, I'm sure the number of people who actually will end up unlocking their phones will be relatively small, so even AT&T doesn't have much to worry about, and Apple can enjoy those few extra sales that they'll get from it.

Re:More Like.... (4, Insightful)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347273)

I really hope they don't go after that kid. We need more smart people like him around.

Re:More Like.... (4, Insightful)

jcgf (688310) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347395)

We need more smart people like him around.

Very true, but I fear the government wants less smart people around.

Re:More Like.... (1, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347863)

"We need more smart people like him around."

Smart?

You call going on national TV with all the details and a big shit-eating grin plastered on his iFace, smart? "Hey, Mom!! Look at me!! I just pissed off two major north american companies and screwed the warranty on that new phone you bought me!!!"

There were three others in on this, according to the story so far. Those are the smart ones, but only as long as they keep quiet.

Re:More Like.... (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347369)

I don't know what the Apple-AT&T contract looks like, but I know in Apple's iTunes contracts, the companies for which it provides protected music require Apple to make "corrections" when someone figures out how to break the protection on the songs.

If the iPhone contract is similar, then Apple may be required to update the iPhone software to attempt to thwart this.

Just keep your eyes open and see what happens to the two sites making claims. If they come down, Apple got to them.

Re:More Like.... (1)

reabbotted (871820) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347583)

Really neither AT&T nor Apple lose on the unlocked iPhone. Apple gets to sell more iPhones at $600 a pop and AT&T doesn't lose anything since people who want to do this weren't going to switch to AT&T anyway. I doubt they'll choose to go after this kid since it wouldn't result in anything other than bad publicity.

Not just in lots of 500. (2, Informative)

pjcreath (513472) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347127)

From the summary:

The company will be selling licenses to the hack, minimum quantity 500, at a price not yet announced.
iPhoneSimFree will be selling to end-users as well. From their front page [iphonesimfree.com] :

Individual per unit licenses will be available starting next week

Re:Not just in lots of 500. (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347705)

I wonder how many days they'll get away with selling this before (a) lawyers find a reason to shut them down, or (b) someone in the hacking community is motivated by this proof of concept to complete a free hack, or (c) someone reverse-engineers the existing hack and releases a free version..? (will iPhoneSimFree be cheeky enough to 'prohibit' reverse engineering _their_ reverse engineering in the license?)

Implications (4, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347133)

AT&T might have a basis for a lawsuit, since it has a contract with Apple for exclusivity. For users with modified iPhones, I speculate the only negative externality will be a voided warranty.

Re:Implications (4, Informative)

adam613 (449819) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347257)

AT&T most likely has a basis for a lawsuit, but that basis has nothing to do with the Apple-exclusivity contract, since people who hack the phone aren't parties to that contract. The lawsuit would more likely be based on violation of license terms prohibiting the defeat of whatever protection mechanisms are keeping the iPhone locked. And I have no idea whether this would hold up in Europe, where this hack is actually useful.

Re:Implications (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347621)

AT&T most likely has a basis for a lawsuit, but that basis has nothing to do with the Apple-exclusivity contract, since people who hack the phone aren't parties to that contract.
But wouldn't the purchaser be bound by some sort of EULA? Consider DirecTV a number of years back who, despite the end-user purchasing the hardware, owned the access cards. That was eventually stated on the box the end-user purchased. I haven't seen the iPhone packaging, but I presume there is some reference that the purchaser is bound by some EULA.

Obviously, grey/black market iPhones wouldn't fall into this category, but for someone who wants to purchase a "legit" iPhone, this could be an issue.

Re:Implications (0, Flamebait)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347849)

Everybody in this thread with a law degree, raise their hand. Anyone? No? Then go argue about something relatively simple, like quantum mechanics.

Why do all this... (4, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347139)

When there are good projects like the Neo [openmoko.org] that are on their way?

Re:Why do all this... (5, Insightful)

sokoban (142301) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347211)

Because there are good projects like the iPhone already here.

Re:Why do all this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347381)

Not to mention that the openmoko will sell, what, tens of copies? Exclusively to geeks. iPhone has mass market appeal and will only get stronger with this news.

Re:Why do all this... (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347499)

A previous slashdot article claimed that the development units were sold out due to unexpected demand.

Anyone have any idea how many development units were made? That would at least give us a lower limit on the demand for such a device.

I think (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347673)

(I have no time to confirm it)
that 3000 development units were requested, 1500 of them are already with the buyers, the second 1500-sized lot is coming out next week. I don't think Neo will be a geeks-only thing.

Re:I think (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347737)

While these iPhone hackers will be spending their time working around Apple restrictions, these Neo people will have an SDK and full support from the manufacturer. Not to mention a market for their apps. Let the flames begin.

Re:Why do all this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347857)

The Neo has the flexibility to kick the living shit out of the iPhone because it can be customized to fit a particular business or person's needs. Imagine it being seamlessly integrated into a company's VOIP system via their wireless routers + vpn when the employee is in one of the company's buildings (sip functionality and a cisco VPN client are all that would need to be ported to the platform). When the employee leaves the building, the phone would behave like a regular cell phone. The GPS abilities would also be of interest to business.

Apple has seriously fucked up by 1) choosing At&t, a provider with a sub-par network, and 2) focusing on the consumer, not business market with the iPhone. They have made it nothing more than an expensive toy and status symbol for the rich.

Re:Why do all this... (2)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347243)

Indeed...2 words for you. 1) Neo1978 2)OpenMoko
I think the first production run of the neo and openmoko is due out in October/November.
I'm getting ready...it's gonna be schweet!

Re:Why do all this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347247)

We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

Re:Why do all this... (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347317)

The iPhone has a bigger hard drive, for one.

Hehe... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347509)

but the Neo1973 has GPS. And removable storage. And replaceable battery.
But No camera :-(

Re:Hehe... (1)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347649)

Plus, need a hard drive? Why, there's this here USB port, just crying out to plug one into!

Do you smell that? (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347145)

Tt's the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and phew, is it stinkin' up the place!

Re:Do you smell that? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347173)

RTFA dumb ass. Cell phones are not covered under the DMCA.

Re:Do you smell that? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347227)

Cell phones are not covered under the DMCA.
Neither were ink cartridges, but try telling that to Epson.

Current cell phone DMCA exemption (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347231)

The DMCA currently has an explicit exemption surrounding cellular phones locked to a specific provider (at least until November 2009). For more, see Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] or Freedom To Tinker [freedom-to-tinker.com] .

There may be other legal avenues they can pursue, but DMCA appears to be out of the running.

Yeah, but... (2, Insightful)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347177)

but what are you going to do now that you just bought a 2-year contract with AT&T that was required with the purchase of your iPhone?

Re:Yeah, but... (4, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347195)

Given that activation of that contract doesn't occur at the time of sale, but upon activation later. Not much.

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Mikachu (972457) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347379)

Interesting, I was under the impression that the price of the phone was subsidized like phones with Verizon and such, even at the $600 price tag. So the price of the phone is only under the condition that you sign the contract with AT&T.

Am I wrong?

Re:Yeah, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347411)

Actually, yes, you are. The iPhone is not subsidized in any way. You buy the phone and then activate it later, including setting up a plan, at your own home using iTunes. In fact, if you fail the credit check on the iTunes music store, you can use iPhone on a pay as you go plan.

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347479)

Yes and no, from what I've gathered, the traditional subsidy that would go to you, goes to apple. I don't know what legal rammifications there are to skipping activation on AT&T's network, but it doesn't happen at the point of sale.

Re:Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347197)

use my money to buy something other than an iphone? if they keep this up they'll be the next Zune

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

TrentC (11023) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347529)

but what are you going to do now that you just bought a 2-year contract with AT&T that was required with the purchase of your iPhone?

A contract is not required to complete the purchase.

One of my co-workers bought an iPhone and is using it month-to-month on AT&T. No trickery or hackery involved.

Thinks a lot of himself.. (1, Offtopic)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347189)

I'm not trying to belittle his achievement, but I think the fact that geohot autographed the phone with a marker pen can only detract from the value. After distributing instructions to do this yourself and acknowledging that similar auction lots are likely to appear before the end of his, he obviously believes that he's selling a part of iPhone of history. Odd.

Re:Thinks a lot of himself.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347331)

"he obviously believes that he's sellng a part of iPhone history."

Well, considering the bidding is currently at around $3000, he's not the only one that thinks that.

Re:Thinks a lot of himself.. (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347353)

Well, seeing as the autographed phone has 23 bids and is going for in excess of 3,000, I guess I'd find your statement a little odd.

Re:Thinks a lot of himself.. (1)

simdan (207210) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347447)

How much of that is because it is an unlocked iPhone rather than it has his autograph?

Re:Thinks a lot of himself.. (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347557)

So what you're saying is that any number of those bids (perhaps even all of them?) couldn't possibly be fake bids?

Good For the Kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347723)

I have lived 60 years and it is well documented that the only thing ATT does well and with consistency is to F people.

But... In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347199)

...iPhones choose their own Carriers!

Limited in its usefulness.... (3, Informative)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347213)

Its great to know that they have figured out the JTag interface, but I question how useful any of this is. Meaning, even if you can make/take calls on all the networks, the visual voicemail and SMS would still be non functioning due to software needed on the AT&T network. The SMS probably can be easily fixed by using a different application, but the visual voicemail would definitely be more difficult to get around.

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347275)

So you mean they will have to resort to making a call to get their messages?

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#20347341)

I would just use Conditional forwarding to forward my unanswered calls to my Asterisk server. Then my voicemail could be delivered via email.

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (2, Insightful)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347429)

I would not think that "patching" their visual voicemail app to be that difficult. I do not know how it stores its values, but I suspect that if you spent a couple of hours one could easily figure out its structure, you could probably just put an app that talks to a secondary app on the Asterisk server and pushes the data into the application. I dont have an iPhone, though, so it wont be me doing the work.

Also, in my opinion, anyone who honestly believes that a 17 yr "figured out" the iPhone JTag interface is nieve. I admit that someone that young is ideal for releasing the data because it is very unlikely that AT&T will go after a kid...

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347435)

I am really sick of hearing this same, lame, usless comment. Who cares about visual voicemail? My cell plan doesnt even INCLUDE voicemail, and I have a Windows Mobile 2006 smartphone.

Not everyone even cares about voicemail on their cell, let alone the visual kind. The iPhone has MUCH more going for it than that lame feature.

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (1)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347609)

the visual voicemail and SMS would still be non functioning due to software needed on the AT&T network.

The engadget article says that SMS works.

I think you are confusing the special way the phone shows the SMS messages stored on it, with a special network feature. If not and I am wrong, can you please give me a link to where you read about the SMS stuff? Thanks!

Re:Limited in its usefulness.... (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347819)

If you want to switch from AT&T to another carrier and you have a really expensive iPhone, a working phone with a few of the fancier features nonfunctional is still more useful than a phone that won't work on the other network at all.
There is still voicemail--it just reverts to normal non-visual voicemail. There is still SMS--and on a phone which can use outright e-mail, why do you need SMS?

Apple and AT&T won't care (4, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347253)

Apple and AT&T have undoubtably already discussed what they would do if this happened, as it undoubtably would, Apple will probably have to pay a fine to AT&T as per contract, or attempt to fix the issue. Most likely though neither side will care much as the majority of users will simply switch to AT&T rather than trying to install an unlocking utility, as this is Apple's whole mantra and reason people buy Apple products, they would much rather pay for convienence and an easy to use device than having to hack, adjust, and tweak it.

Functionality (3, Insightful)

martinelli (1082609) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347267)

I wonder how the functionality of the iPhone is affected - visual voicemail, uploading video, etc. Does anyone know if these are AT&T specific functions?

Re:Functionality (1)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347337)

I know this is a groundbreaking concept, but have you tried to maybe RTFA?

Re:Functionality (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347577)

I know this is a groundbreaking concept, but have you tried to maybe RTFA?
This is Slashdot, you insensitive clod! We don't RTFA around here!

Re:Functionality (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347401)

Everything works fine, with 2 exceptions: 1) Visual voice mail: that's an ATT specific functionality, you won't get it in any other carrier up to the moment. 2) Youtube: In order to work, youtube needs a set of certificates/keys that are generated during the legitimate activation process and nobody could crack that yet. Some folks have posted their own certificates/keys online. You could use then to make your own youtube work. It might get tricky though. Also you might be required to change EDGE setting to your carrier's. The main problem actually is the activation, you still ave to do it. Also, you'll need to re-hack the activation every time you restore your phone. And since all updates will demand a full restoration of hacked phones, that means that every time you update your phone you will be required to hack it again. Let's just hope all hack don't stop working all of a sudden after a possible fix from some Apple update. :)

Still... (4, Insightful)

prxp (1023979) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347285)

You still have to go through the activation process. There are tons of methods to bypass it though. Those thinking it's just to unlock the iPhone and get worry free should be aware. If you have a non-ATT iPhone, You'll still need to re-activate it after every software update from Apple. That's because iTunes checks your phone for consistency and hacked phones don't pass this test. iTunes will demand a full restoration of the hacked iPhone that creates the need for re-activation. It's not that difficult to crack the activation process, but if you are not tech savvy you may get into trouble. After every software update, Apple may change things in iPhone's OS which includes the activation process. So all activation hacks may stop working overnight. Of course the iPhone hack community will eventually modify the hacks so they adapt to the changes, but keeping track of all of that might be hard for the technological challenged.

You would think...... (3, Interesting)

budword (680846) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347301)

You would think any company with a goal of making money by out competing it's competitors in the market would take this moment to jump in the air and yell, "Holy bat shit Bat Man, we have a hell of hit on our hands. We've hit a home run ! People are willing to spend 12 hours moding our gear to get it the way they want it. I bet they'll be willing to spend a ton of money on our stuff. This is fantastic. Lets give them what they want ! We are going to be rich !" I don't think that's what they are going to do though, I think they are going to sue some people. Sorta lets you know where they are coming from doesn't it ? They want to compete by locking you in. Sorta like some other large company I can't remember the name of just now.

Re:You would think...... (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347633)

They want to compete by locking you in. Sorta like some other large company I can't remember the name of just now.

You're probably thinking of Apple and the way they lock people into using iTunes store on their iPod.

Re:You would think...... (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347717)

*eyeroll*

Most people choose the iPod for that. Kinda like how the Zune locks you into the Zune store. You could get a WM player, which allows you access to... a lot of stores with the same pricing and content. *twirls finger* It's all about making it easy.

Hoser.

Not enough for me to plunk down for one. (0, Flamebait)

Hampton_Comes_Alive (1084219) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347303)

While this is a cool hack, I'm certainly not ready to plunk down my hard earned cash on one just to unleash it from AT&T, which I am sure would void the warranty should anything bad happen.

Count me among those individuals not willing to shell out for an iPhone. I can't bring myself to lock in to AT&T for the next two years (at least), and I'm not willing to assume the risk of freeing it and subsequently breaking it (or worse, bricking it WHILE clumsily fumbling around the inside of it).

Besides, EDGE is so totally yuck!

Licensing a hack? (4, Interesting)

djcatnip (551428) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347333)

how the hell do you license a hack? That's like selling someone the way to snap their fingers.

Re:Licensing a hack? (4, Funny)

Nikker (749551) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347543)

Well I guess the guy found a bunch of people who don't know how to snap their fingers ;)

Re:Licensing a hack? (1)

setirw (854029) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347625)

For the same reason that it's perfectly legal for my private high school to "sell me the way" to solve second order differential equations, or for my violin teacher to "sell me the way" to play Bach...

Re:Licensing a hack? (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347703)

Indeed...you can sign contracts with each customer saying they're not allowed to disclose the process or else, but once it's inevitably "leaked", it's just out there. You certainly can't set the legal system against some random third party who got the information from a website and is now selling their own hacked iPhones.

OpenMoko (1)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347335)

iPhone is just another media blowed idead, created by milions pumped in commercials. OpenMoko is superior to it in many cases: -You freerly choose the operator (lower prices) -Open software and propetiary software without the need for some stupid licenses, resulting in much wider selection (Jobs has a big hunger for money and this stupid idead that you must need a special license to write soft for it is just another of his maniacal ideas) -It`s cheaper by about 100$, with probarly the same features(ofc in the iPhone the cost of AT&T monopoly is not included) -It runs on a open source, free OS with a modified Linux kernel (this should result in good OS maintance, patches, feature extensions, etc.) -It`s free (I mean Open Source, but that is more ideology, however it could result in better code maintance, patches, wider soft selection and security) -And some more

don't care (4, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347441)

Personally, I don't even care about the iPhone until it has GPS. As much as I hate the unresponsive and convoluted interface interface, the clumsy buttons, and the general ugliness of my iPaq, having GPS-enabled google maps in my pocket is now an absolutely mandatory requirement for me to even consider another mobile device.

Will eBay pull the auction? (3, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347443)

This seems to be the phone equivalent of a modchipped game console, which eBay has explicitly banned from their site. Given the insane amount of attention this is getting and will continue to get, is it likely that they'll simply pull the auction, possibly after receiving a nastygram from AT&T and/or Apple?

Re:Will eBay pull the auction? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347579)

I think eBay's reasoning behind preventing modchipped consoles from being auctioned is that they're often used to play pirated games. This iPhone hack allows one to use a different operator, which is not illegal AFAIK.

Re:Will eBay pull the auction? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347831)

I think eBay's reasoning behind preventing modchipped consoles from being auctioned is that they're often used to play pirated games. This iPhone hack allows one to use a different operator, which is not illegal AFAIK.
Chipped consoles are also used to play backups and homebrew, though, and are not in themselves (AFAIK/IANAL) illegal to own. They are, however, strongly discouraged by the big corporations who make the consoles, and who have aquarium tanks full of lawyers at the ready... as do ATT and Apple.

Hack licenses? (3, Interesting)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347451)

They're selling *licenses* to the hack? And will they send the BSA after someone if they suspect they're under-licensed?

Not Illegal (2, Informative)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347471)

This is actually explicitly legal. In an attempt to defend their lock-in business model the phone company previously tried to prohibit flashing their firmware under the DMCA. They later decided the only purpose to of this was to support a business model and hence they added it to the DMCA exception list.

DMCA on cell phones [wired.com]

Interesting to see what will happen (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347581)

This is national news now. CNBC is covering it and Apple's stock [yahoo.com] jumped $3.60 or so because of the news.

It will be very interesting to see how the players react. My prediction?
Apple: won't care. more customers = better
T-Mobile: won't care.
AT&T: Pissed!

It is very important to distribute the "how-to" as quickly and widely as possible. I hope he published them before they sue his ass and try to silence him. Because I think AT&T will do exactly that...

Remember folks, sometimes it doesn't matter if you win or lose -- only that you delay. And AT&T would love to delay people from doing this on a mass-scale.

How to connect to PC boards without soldering (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347681)

Soldering on jumper wires is only for experimenting. If it really can't be done from software alone, what's needed is a a PC board test fixture. [testelectronics.com] Once you have one of those set up for the job, connecting to the right spots is easy. With that, and a control PC programmed to do all the necessary downloads and updates, the whole operation can be done in a minute or two per phone.

Coming soon to the back room of an off-brand cell phone store near you.

not worth unlocking. (1)

cbuskirk (99904) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347837)

I think it is great the phone has been unlocked. I wish all phones were sold like that. But if I were to buy a iphone today there is no chance I would unlock it because I would lose carrier specific features, specifically Visual (Asynchronous) voice mail.

All this for a phone that sucks!? (0, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347865)

I think a hand-held video player that behaves like the iPhone is a worthy thing to want or have. I think a hand-held multi-media device that does 802.11 wireless access is DEFINITELY a worthy entertainment device to want or have. And yes, I realize the iPhone is all of that "and more."

But as a phone, it sucks and simply isn't worth the effort or money based on the fact that the user/owner can't change his/her own batteries. I pray the iPhone die a quiet but memorable death.

-1 troll me if you like, but there are other devices that are better and cheaper and for whatever limited set of features you want, there is probably a better alternative device that does those things better and cheaper. And let's face it... using AT&T's internet, it's SLOW. And I have yet to hear about an unlocked iPhone being used on any other carrier.

CNBC Coverage (3, Informative)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 5 years ago | (#20347887)

The kid got an interview on CNBC. Not quite fifteen minutes of fame but at least a couple. He also managed to get in a plug for "information wants to be free" and to note that what he did is explicitly legal.

Cheers,
Dave
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