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Upcoming Firmware Will Brick Unlocked iPhones

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the slim-and-elegant-bricks dept.

Communications 605

iCry writes "It was rumored last week, and Apple has now confirmed it: 'Apple said today that a firmware update to the iPhone due to be released later this week "will likely result" in SIM-unlocked iPhones turning into very expensive bricks... So what are users of SIM-unlocked iPhones to do? Not run the latest software update, that's for sure. Users can instead pray to the hacking deities — the famed iPhone Dev Team that released the free software unlock, and iPhoneSIMfree, which released a commercial software unlock — to write applications that will undo the unlocks, as it were, if those users want to run the latest iPhone software.'"

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Is that even legal? (5, Interesting)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741225)

Is that even legal?

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

MistaE (776169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741261)

If you look at the comments that Phil Schiller [macrumors.com] made yesterday, Apple's taking the position that they don't "mean" to brick it, but it just "might happen" anyways, which of course is total bullshit. At least they're not shooting themselves in the foot immediately by saying that they're deliberately trying to brick 'em.

Now my question is, what exactly do they need to update that would cause such brickage.

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741311)

I would expect that people who were smart enough to pay for the phone with a credit card would say "Hey, my phone is busted. Fix it or I'm returning it. If you don't accept the return, I'm doing a chargeback." Visa/mastercard/discover/amex provide a fairly decent product warranty program for items purchased with one of their cards.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Insightful)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741369)

Smart is irrelevant. It's the morality of it. If you went out and bought an iPhone and didn't plan on using att, this is what you get. They clearly state that the iphone will only work on their network. If you decide to prove that wrong and mess up your phone why should Apple and/or the credit card companies exchange your money/replace your iphone?

Maybe I should go spike mine down onto the pavement then return it for a replacement as well?

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741523)

Morality leaves the equation when a billion dollar corporation is on the other end of the transaction. Also, Apple is the one not playing fair here. Not the iPhone owners.

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741597)

I think the unlocked iPhone owners are the ones not playing fair. THEY KNOWINGLY took the risk of bricking their iPhones when they unlocked them. They knew (or should have known) that the potential for the iphone to become unusable in the future existed.

If morality leaves the equation when a billion dollar corporation is on the other end, what makes you think fairness stayed? As far as I know, nothing requires Apple to sell you an iPhone at all. What isn't fair, is voiding your warranty then crying foul when it breaks.

I don't agree with bricking unlocked iphones, but you were warned.

Re:Is that even legal? (5, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741713)

I think the unlocked iPhone owners are the ones not playing fair.
Poor Apple - people are buying things from them and then using them in ways that Apple hadn't intended! That's so totally unfair to Apple I can't believe it!

I mean god forbid that someone would buy something and then not expect the vendor to have complete and utter control over it! What is this world coming to?!?!

Re:Is that even legal? (3, Insightful)

Kymri (1093149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741611)

In my mind, morality is never, ever dependent upon who is on the other end of the equation. Only justifications are dependent upon that.

You may consider it justified to steal from someone who has billions and immoral to steal from someone who doesn't (I'm not saying unlocking an iPhone is stealing, I am just using an obvious example), but the morality of theft depends on if it is theft or not, not who the victim is.

(Admittedly - this is purely my position and opinion, and not absolute fact.)

why try ? (2, Insightful)

richlv (778496) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741613)

right. so why do so many people try to hack the device desperately ? if the vendor does not want your money, your contributions - go to another.

like, already mentioned fic neo with openmoko/qtopia.

instead, painful attempts to hack or use the device that the manufacturer has quite clearly noted it does not want to be hacked (or even used, in some cases :) )

Re:Is that even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741575)

Maybe I should go spike mine down onto the pavement then return it for a replacement as well?

How about if I spike your phone down on the pavement because I dont like [insert whatever you're doing here]? Is that the "moral" thing to do to people who do what you don't want them to do?

Re:Is that even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741657)

The point is, that you bought a phone that was only promised to work with att.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Interesting)

laparel (930257) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741687)

What the fuck has morality got to do with this? I hope to all that is holy that you're being sarcastic.


You seriously consider unlocking/hacking an iPhone, which you legally bought and own, to be morally wrong? Now unlocking the phone would void the warranty, yes; but that doesn't give Apple the right (nor moral high ground) to purposely brick my unlocked iPhone because they, "clearly state that the iPhone will only work on their network."


Re:Is that even legal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741507)

Possible reaction from Apple: "Oh, sure we can fix it." And when you get it back, you'll find out that the fix includes re-installing the simlock.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

putch (469506) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741521)

more likely they'll just point out that you voided your warranty.

Re:Is that even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741655)

The GPP post was saying that the angry customer should backcharge it, which is different to a warranty claim (it's more of a threat to screw with their merchant's credit rating than an organised method of replacing broken phones). I'm betting though that many smart people are on the opposite side of the fence; and repaid their iPhone-related credit card bills before this was announced (I'm assuming that no smart person is going out and buying the phone now that this news is out) to avoid any interest (or in the case of the interest-free period cards, paying it back to avoid having to do accrual accounting with their finances). If the card's paid off, it's very very difficult to organise a backcharge with credit companies ("why did you pay your credit card bill if it had an erroneous charge instead of contesting it?").

just bill.. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741659)

More likely they fix it. Tell you that you voided your warrenty, and then bill you for the repair.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741393)

Apple's taking the position that they don't "mean" to brick it, but it just "might happen" anyways, which of course is total bullshit. - you cannot prove that this is total bullshit though. You may believe it, but whether it is true is totally arguable. If Apple is fixing a security flaw in their code that by chance happened to be the same flaw that was exploited to unlock the phone, then it can be very easily argued that this is just a real security patch. Now, would have they fixed it if it wasn't used to unlock the phone, this I don't know, maybe yes, maybe no.

Oh, and I don't own any IPayApple products and don't care about them, not a fan, but I see how the fan's minds work here: they buy IPayToApple products and rightfully expect to use them anyway they want, not how the Apple intended. But from Apple point of view this is a 'total experience' package, not just a piece of hardware. So they may introduce a patch that will 'brick' the phone. However the fans still expect to upgrade with Apple firmware and continue using the phones the way they want. Well obviously this is a conflict of interest for both sides. Should Apple have to provide you with meaningful upgrades once you unlock? I don't see how you can make them. Don't install their upgrades now, that you are really just using the phone in a way that is different from the 'total experience' Apple intended. Now you just own a piece of hardware and it is up to you how to use it.

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Interesting)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741543)

Apple's taking the position that they don't "mean" to brick it, but it just "might happen" anyways, which of course is total bullshit.
To any developer I would think it would be immediately obvious what you are saying is not true (it's in no way 'total bullshit' that rendering the device unable to boot "might happen" accidentally). Hell, even to any use of a Linux or BSD distribution that uses binary packages that should be immediately obvious it's a likely scenario that you could screw the device by blindly applying a delta to a binary that is different from the intended target binary.

Of course it might "brick" a hacked iPod without them meaning to (note, Phil Schiller is quoted as specially referring to 'unlocked or hacked' iPhones). Even if they are just making a minor update to a simple app, they might be using a newer version of an existing library in the new version, so that library update gets rolled into the delta too. That might also mean other more core things (which have been recompiled to also use that new library) get included and a hack that hooks into them might break, which would screw up the device, rendering it unusable.

This is unlikely to affect users who have only unlocked their phone and is much more likely to affect at users who have also modded their phones in other ways (particularly if they have any software that activates on startup - and particularly software that might screw up if it can't start properly).

I don't have an iPhone, but I'm assuming even if it was "bricked" to the point of not being able to start up normally it would *still* be possible to reset the firmware on it (as it is with the iPods), so it wouldn't *really* be bricked - hence my use of inverted commas.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741545)

In a civil lawsuit against Apple, there would be discovery under which they would be compelled to reveal their internal communications related to the matter. The truth will come out.

It's definitely not legal as they are challenging a consumer's right to do with his personally owned property what he wishes.

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Insightful)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741287)

What, releasing a firmware update? Or do you mean because it renders unlocked phones useless? I highly doubt it. I am sure the fine-print means you would forfeit your right to warranty and fitness for purpose if you go modifying your phone at such a basic level, so no, I am doubtful you could argue this is illegal. So long as you have the right not to accept the update, I guess. But even if the update were forced upon it, I'm sure you'd still have a hard time convincing a judge that it was an illegal act on Apple's part.

Re:Is that even legal? (1, Interesting)

ji777 (1107063) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741347)

Isn't this still the same sort of anti-competitive action that people have sued Microsoft over (with varying degrees of success), or am I missing something?

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Insightful)

fymidos (512362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741437)

Actually it very much resembles the actions taken by apple to make sure that macintosh will lose the battle against IBM PC's and MS-DOS back in the 80s ...

Re:Is that even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741509)

Apple doesn't have a monopoly.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741531)

Well, yes and no I suppose. Yes, since they are preventing users from using their phones on other networks, but no because it's not really Apple that gains from this. After all, if you've bought the iPhone, Apple already has your money. OK, I guess they lose the potential revenue from the loss of the contract, but I would have thought AT&T would be the big loser there. But then again, doesn't the purchase of an iPhone also require a minimum contract (genuine question...I don't know)? If it does, then even unlocking your phone is a hollow victory - since you're still lining the pockets of the AT&T and Apple execs by either continuing to pay for a service you're not using, or having to pay a fee to break the contract early. Either way, AT&T are the winners.

Sure, it's obvious that this update is aimed at breaking unlocked phones. But that's unfortunately the risk you take by unlocking your phone. Yes, it sucks, majorly, but it's not like Apple have made any secret of the fact that they don't want you unlocking your phone.

Bricked iPhone still useful... (2, Funny)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741547)

Or do you mean because it renders unlocked phones useless?

Even bricked iPhones have a use... You can always blend it. [willitblend.com]

Re:Is that even legal? (2, Insightful)

arkanes (521690) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741697)

The iPhone is hardware, and as such you can't disclaim warranties of fitness for purpose the way you can with software. It's amazing to me how many people here are so willing to just accept any sort of claim that a company can do anything it wants to your product, *after* you buy it. You probably voided your warranty, but if Apple intentionally pushes a brick update, or even has a good reason to believe it'll brick it, there's all kinds of justification for a claim.

Unlocking phones is something that is explicitly legal in the US - there's even a DMCA exemption for it. There's absolutely no legal justification for doing this.

Furthermore, Apple got their money, and so did AT&T - you can't buy an iPhone without a contract, so everyone with an unlocked phone already paid everyone involved. There's no moral justification for doing this either. Apple is getting arrogant in its success, and it's making the same old "lock everything down" mistakes that led to it being destroyed by the PC.

The people who have iPhones right now are, by and large, Apples best customers. They're early adopters, who love shiny gadgets and who are willing to pay a premium to get the latest thing right away. They're the bread and butter of Apples product line. They don't give a damn about AT&T, though, and bricking their phone in an attempt to force people to stay with them would be a huge mistake.

when you upload a crack (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741313)

you most likely break your warranty, so yeah, the update turning the phone into a brick is probably legal, and you were warned about it at various stages of the purchase, unpacking and using the crack. whether that is good PR ... well, that remains to be seen. real apple fanbois won't be cracking their phones, and apple won't probably care about the semi-fanbois that do crack them. also, I am sure most of the people who bought an iphone realize there is this exclusive contract with the relevant carrier, and that both apple and the carrier will do their best not to let people off the hook via some free hack. so, if you bought an iphone to crack ... you knew what it means ;)

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741319)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it optional to accept a firmware update through iTunes? I thought it was just something that comes up in iTunes much like an iPod firmware update. If that's the case, any user with an unlocked iPhone could/should choose to ignore it, thus it is not mandatory.

If they made it a background/transparent upgrade over-the-air without the user's knowledge then I could see it being a legal issue since it would unknowingly stop their service and potentially leave them stranded in an emergency. An iTunes update just makes it an annoyance, so long as they prompt you saying "Warning: if you unlocked your iPhone this will disable it."

Anybody that unlocked their iPhone must have known there'd be fallout, and that the future would probably turn into a game of cat-and-mouse. They unlock the phone, Apple brick the phone, they unbrick it, etc.

I personally think all phones should be sold unlocked, but it's rare to find them. The fact that Apple is reactively fighting back is a little new, but not unseen.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741485)

If you don't keep your phone updated, then you run a much greater security risk. Kinda like running Windows XP with no security patches applied. Really want to run that risk???

IMHO, the only way Apple could release a firmware update that would brick a hack iPhone is if they INTENTIONALLY brick it on detection of the hack. This "oh gee, it might happen" attitude is BULLSHIT. You KNOW Apple is testing the hacks internally to see how they work, and KNOW that they have been testing updates against hacked phones. To claim otherwise is offensive. I fully expect a class action lawsuit.

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Insightful)

fymidos (512362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741333)

IANAL, but i'm pretty sure that *not byuing* the iPhone untill apple stops doing stuff like that, is perfectly legal...

Re:Is that even legal? (4, Funny)

putzin (99318) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741457)

No, Microsoft had the option to not purchase made illegal and immoral quite a while ago. Apple is just riding the coat tails. In summer 2008, I believe it also becomes illegal not to use AT&T for all services including face to face visits with friends and family. In 2009, not only will it be illegal to smoke, but also to not use Apple and AT&T HW, SW, and services for everything you do (I hear the iToilet touch flush will be amazing). All this for the low cost of 40% of your yearly salary or $30K, whichever is greater.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741557)

It isn't but they bribed all congressmen with iPhones.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741647)

Does it matter??

Just make sure the phone is convered for accidental damage under your house insurance and then "accidently" run over it in a car, then "accidently" trip and the phone should "accidently" fly out a top floor window. All that remains is a quick call to your insurance company to place the claim.

Re:Is that even legal? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741737)

Can you say "insurance fraud"? And hey... by openly mentioning that method and encouraging people to use it, you've even given insurance companies all the proof they would need to refuse such a claim.

Well... (5, Funny)

zantolak (701554) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741227)

At least it's a stylish brick!

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741409)

a stylish brick!
That's what people say about Steve Jobs too.... oh, hang on, "brick". I thought you said.... ah, nevermind.

(Side note: captcha is "contempt". Hmm.)

Re:Well... (-1, Redundant)

djbckr (673156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741525)

I quite frankly cannot understand what the fuss is about. Apple releases a really cool product that only works on AT&T. Ok, I don't buy it because I don't like AT&T. Done deal. I have patience, I can wait until something else comes along. You messed with a product that voids the warranty. Apple has every right to protect what they've sold. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Really, is that so hard???

Oh, and don't give me the line that you have the right to do whatever you want with it. Sure, you can, and you did. Pay the consequences.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741579)

You're absolutely right! It's called the free market. Apple is free to tie their product exclusively to AT&T. They are free to lock out all third party apps. And I'm free to take my business elsewhere. Which I fully intend to do.

Re:Well... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741573)

Sell it on eBay as "New iPhone SIM game".

Dazzle your friends as you quickly progress from "IDK, my BFF, Steve" to "Can you hear me now?"

$1. No reserve price.

What are they to do... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741229)

Are you telling me it's impossible to reinstall/reset the software on an iPhone?

Anyway what are they to do: sell their iPhones and buy iPod Touch, this is what they wanted right?

Re:What are they to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741567)

I'm sure it's possible to restore a bricked iphone, but you'd probably have to use the JTAG that was used in the initial unlock hack [blogspot.com] , which isn't feasible for the average person to do themselves.

What did you expect... (2, Insightful)

moseman (190361) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741235)

What did you expect Apple to do, sit back and watch their monthly payback from AT&T go away? And AT&T not get their expected revenue?

Re:What did you expect... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741325)

Those who have hacked the phone are already denying ATT/Apple their revenue, so bricking the phones will not change that situation.

And so... (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741331)

...we have the unedifying spectacle of Apple fanboys scrambling to justify the exact same types of behaviour they constantly condemn Microsoft for:

- defective by design hardware featuring crippleware to degrade functionality in the event of uses which differ from the uses the parent company approves

- intentional attempt to force customers to buy uncompetitive/unattractive services in addition to the thing they want

- vague and misleading corporate spin which dodges the real issue

Apple have done some good stuff lately, particularly playing hardball over music licensing on iTunes. But this is not good, and you should have the guts to say so, just as you would if it was Microsoft or some other similar company.

Re:And so... (1)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741427)

In all the points you made just now, you neglected to mention one thing in your comparison. Apple told people they'd be doing those things. Microsoft doesn't.

Re:And so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741499)

Its no big secret how Microsoft operates.

Re:And so... (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741629)

There are some Apple fans who do what you are saying, but mostly what we see is people saying that Apple fans will do what you are saying. I am an Apple fan, but I'm not happy with the approach they are taking with the iPhone and iPod touch. Which isn't to say I wouldn't buy one (in fact I'm getting a touch - I can't afford a $60 per month phone bill, so no iPhone for me). They are still great devices, but the restrictions are irritating and a bit disheartening. Still, they are pretty fantastic devices anyway. I hope that, with time, Apple will open the things up, but for now you do have to decide if the devices, as delivered, are adequate. For me, the touch is still pretty damn nice (and if I could afford $60 per month, I probably would get an iPhone.) Yeah, I'd like the touch to have more capacity, but I'll manage. I'd like it to have the Maps and Mail apps, but I can live without them. If hackers manage to make those apps work on the touch, or provide good substitutes, I'll be hacking them into place (as long as their is a way to revert back to stock if needed.)

Quiiiick. (1, Flamebait)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741247)

My. Thats a brave move. First they chopped $200 off, and then threaten to turn them into paperweights if you dare to use them away from their selected few. They *really* know how to treat their early adopters well.

Quick buy shares in O2 and AT&T! Quiiick!

Statutory rights? (2, Insightful)

JonyEpsilon (662675) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741253)

Don't people have statutory rights with regards to purchased goods in the US? I'm pretty sure if they tried such a trick in the UK they'll get a kicking in court.

Re:Statutory rights? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741407)

I suppose we'll find out. I'm assuming that the firmware update will get to phones in the UK as well.

Re:Statutory rights? (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741479)

Statutory rights to use, abuse, tear, twist, or mutilate any object they own.

Doing so simply breaks the warranty.

Re:Statutory rights? (2, Funny)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741585)

Unfortunately, statutes are used to take away our rights in the U.S.

Build a very expensive house? (4, Funny)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741255)

in SIM-unlocked iPhones turning into very expensive bricks... So what are users of SIM-unlocked iPhones to do?

Bricks have uses too. You can build houses from them. Very expensive houses. But bricks are bricks after all.

Re:Build a very expensive house? (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741335)

And at least your house won't scratch easily

I think... (3, Insightful)

LLKrisJ (1021777) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741259)

... This is most likely to be just lowly scare mongering. Apple is becoming evil awfully quick.

Re:I think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741423)

Apple has been evil for years, they've just never been popular enough to warrant the unwashed masses noticing it.

Re:I think... (1)

eventhorizon82G (954828) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741541)

Or maybe they were being nice enough to give folks some warning to revert back to the original firmware and to prevent others from modifying it? Should Apple really screw over all the good customers who didn't void their warranties, who didn't blatantly ignore the absolutely clear advertisements the iPhone is for use on the AT&T network only, by pushing back the release of new features in order to make them place nicely with a hack? Give me a break. An evil company would have done it without warning.

Going one better (3, Interesting)

Andrew Kember (1056488) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741269)

I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone Dev Team released a work-around rather than a roll-back. I.e. Have your unlocked iPhone cake and eat it (upgraded s/w) too. How? That's up to the clever people...

Re:Going one better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741419)

Hey, they did it with the PSP. I'm sure it's possible.

impying any 3rd party software is not warrantable? (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741283)

It seems to imply that running any 3rd party software on the phone voids your warranty.

I wonder how long Apple will be able to play hardball before they are in court on the wrong end of a class action suit?

How to relock an iPhone (5, Informative)

EvilSpudBoy (1159091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741291)

There are instructions on how to relock an iPhone here [tuaw.com]

It seems a bit involved

That is the question (2, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741295)

To brick or not to brick...

Thats What You Get... (2, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741299)

Thats what you get for giving Mac any of your hard earned money,a suckerpunch.Remember although you bought it ,it belongs to Steeev Jobs.
If he says no,you better listen.After all he is richer,smarter and better than you.Think Different.

Legal responsibility (2, Interesting)

da_matta (854422) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741307)

This could create an interesting legal situation in countries where modding the equipment is a protected consumer right. On the other hand, if you hack the iPhone you pretty much void the warranty and can't expect the official updates to work. But with "FUDdish" threats like this Apple makes it sound like their intentionally breaking the phones. And I wonder how Apple plans to prevent returning the bricked phones for warranty. If they can detect that afterwards, they probably could have detected it as part of the bricking update.

That sucks (1)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741323)

That sucks for the people that bought iphones specifically because they could be unlocked and used with anyone. On the other hand, it's been known for a while that the iPhone was going to be tied to a specific carrier.

I have a feeling that regardless of how many times someone comes up with a hack to unlock the iphone, there will always be something new to come along and give the tie in with att some sort of bright side. Kind of like how you only get the visual voicemail with att and not another carrier. I would expect to see new features rolled out as time goes on, giving additions to the iphone only to att customers, at least during the duration of their contract together.

Regardless of anything though, right or wrong, it's been widely known that the phones would be locked into att and if you purchased it to unlock it for another network you have nothing to complain about when the next update kills it.

I'm sure this is actionable! (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741327)

If something you do that intentionally destroys private property, that is absolutely something that can be brought to court.

I think it is time to stop thinking of Apple as anything less than an even more evil version of Microsoft with slightly less money.

Re:I'm sure this is actionable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741395)

The DMCA explicitly allows people to remove carrier lock-in from their cell phones. If apple brick units that have been made SIM friendly, they'll be facing a class action suit if enough people are hit (or lawyers paying attention).

Re:I'm sure this is actionable! (1, Insightful)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741441)

You're nuts. The iPhone as purchased continues to work. If you do something to unlock it and it bricks, well you shouldn't have violated the warranty by unlocking it.

You should feel happy that Apple is warning people that if they unlocked the phone they shouldn't install the update. They didn't have to do that.

You can be sure that any iPhone returned for warranty will be checked for unlocking and returned unfixed if found. As has been said many times, you can sue anybody for anything in the US. In this case, you won't win.

Re:I'm sure this is actionable! (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741625)

*shrug*

Legally, the government has recognized the consumer's right to unlock a cellphone. The FCC is big on phone portability and number portability.

Yes, so far the it's only been recognized in regards to a DMCA exemption, but I have a feeling both the government and the courts would look well upon consumers who unlock iPhones.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061124-8280.html [arstechnica.com]

Re:I'm sure this is actionable! (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741631)

You should feel happy that Apple is warning people that if they unlocked the phone they shouldn't install the update. They didn't have to do that.

The next Service Pack for Windows Vista will cause your computer to self destruct if you have installed Firefox or OpenOffice.org. As a bonus, a chair will be arriving via your living room window.

    Your's truely,
    Steven A. Ballmer

Re:I'm sure this is actionable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741535)

Yeah, right. Bring Apple to court. Its lawyers will slice your face off with a dull knife, wipe their asses with it and nail it back on upside-down.

Seriously, what part of "the one with the gold makes the rules" of the Golden Rule didn't you understand?

Eula? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741339)

Perhaps they borrowed a bit of jargon from microsoft along the lines of "You don't own what you just paid 300 bucks for, you just licensed it, its ours to with however we please, you just get to use it in the meantime. Share and Enjoy."

ongoing developments in planet/population rescue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741349)

have 'tricked' unprecedented evile once again.

the lights are coming up all over now.

see you there?

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, intolerable to advertisers)
by already_gone (848753) on Friday July 08, @08:57AM (#13012644)
as there are never any benefits, only debt/death & disruption on a glowbull scale.

fortunately there's an 'army' of angels, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be. the only way out is up.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost/forgotten.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I am waiting for a Neo1973 OpenMoko phone (5, Interesting)

dominux (731134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741353)

if you want a Linux based, good looking, feature full and open phone then have a look at Open Moko [openmoko.com] it is probably going to be capable of multitouch (the touchscreen hardware can do it but the software does not take advantage yet) it will come without a contract so I will be getting an O2 sim only contract when they come out next month. OpenMoko in October, OLPC in November, wow, I am going to be skint by Christmas.

Re:I am waiting for a Neo1973 OpenMoko phone (0, Troll)

Bartab (233395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741529)

That rock is missing wifi, so can not be described as "feature full"

Re:I am waiting for a Neo1973 OpenMoko phone (3, Insightful)

dominux (731134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741623)

WiFi support for OpenMoko is in the works. Current Neo1973 GTA01 does not include a wireless LAN chip, but the upcoming Neo1973 GTA02 is going to have one: Atheros AR6K 802.11 b/g. http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/WiFi_support_in_OpenMoko [openmoko.org]

Re:I am waiting for a Neo1973 OpenMoko phone (3, Informative)

dominux (731134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741665)

in fact, if I may reply to my own post, there is another bit worth quoting from that page where they discuss the reasons why they didn't initially have wifi:

We can't find a WiFi Chipset with GPL'ed drivers -- We know this has been discussed (to death) on this list, but as we're beginning work on the next summer hardware refresh we still can't seem to find a vendor that meets our strict requirements: Namely, we refuse to put anything binary in the kernel.
so until they found the Atheros AR6K 802.11 b/g. they were willing to compromise the spec in order not to compromise their principals. I like that.

Just RESTORE the phone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741363)

Anyone who altered their software can just do a wipe/restore. That will reinstall all the software. Stop freaking out... no worries.

iPhone Unlocking, Ethical and Practical (5, Interesting)

bstarrfield (761726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741365)

I'm an Apple fanboy - I've used Macs since 1984, worked for Apple for a couple of years, and have promoted Apple equipment and software where I've been employed. But at this moment, I'm disgusted. There is no need to disable the unlocked iPhone's, and Jobs and crew should damn well accept that some of us actually refuse to use AT&T on principal. Think Different my a**.

I'm not going to subscribe to AT&T. AT&T, the firm that's trying to eliminate net neutrality. AT&T, the reconstituted (near) monopoly. AT&T the firm that opened their switch boxes to the NSA without hesitation and is now attempting to manipulate legislation to provide immunity from prosecution in that matter.

On a practical note, Does Mr. Jobs even recognize how expensive his bed partner is overseas? And this matter practically to myself and my family. Apple, as normal, has forgotten that Israel exists. Apple has, as far as I know, has never sold its products directly in Israel. If I want to send an iPhone to my family in Israel, should I have to sign up for AT&T and pay for their pathetic World Traveler plan? The world does exist outside the US and a few European markets.

Incidentally - my evil unlocked iPhone works perfectly on T-Mobile - without Visual Voice Mail, but gods, I'll live. So what, precisely, is the point of altering the modem firmware, except to break unlocking? Point out examples of the baseband firmware wreaking havoc on the network; explain how this change benefits users.

The iPhone is the first tablet computer I've seen that inspires the imagination. I want to write programs for it, I want to explore a new user interface. If it runs OS X, treat it like an OS X box and let us get on with writing the programs that will sell the bloody thing. Don't freeze us out while you write such amazing accomplishments as the "Wireless i-Tunes Store" while we're trying to write vertical apps for the medical profession, law, and other fields.

Job's, former AT&T hacker, has decided to repeat the folly of the early closed Mac, the early closed NeXT, and even at times the Newton. Apple made a terrible choice in its partner, and seems incapable of realizing the potential of the iPhone.

Not exactly sure how 'we' got to israel.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741477)

But why should it matter what Apple or Steve Jobs does? The US Government seems to take care of 'em just fine:

"In the spirit of Yom Kippur, the United States will not hold Israel to any agreements obligating them to accept Dollars as payment for their foreigh aid. We will translate our obligations into Euros or whatever currency that best fits Israel's needs" Secretary RIce said in the Friday, Sept 21 announcement.

"We need to place our Israeli obligations at the top of our national prioriy list. Israel should not suffer any inconvenience due to currency fluctuations" said Rice before heading off to Camp David.

A similar request from Egypt was declined last week.

Re:Not exactly sure how 'we' got to israel.... (-1, Offtopic)

bstarrfield (761726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741555)

Oh for God's sake... can't you give the Israel bashing a rest? "We" in this instance refers to myself and my family. Want to ban Israeli's from Slashdot?

Not all, or even close to a majority of Israelis are the monsters that you think we are. But in this particular instance, Israel is a country that has a very significant technology export industry. For example, if you really hate Israel, please throw out your Intel based PC and leave us the hell alone. Don't you wonder why Intel chips often have code names like Banias, Merom, etc? They're designed in Israel, many are made in Israel.

Skipping the post-modernist, hip-to-be-liberal, all-purpose-activist crap, and you may want to consider that my point remains valid: if Apple bricks the iPhone to prevent unlocking than people in many countries will never have the chance to use it - which is simple stupidity.

Re:iPhone Unlocking, Ethical and Practical (3, Insightful)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741511)

If you don't like AT&T don't get an iPhone. Nobody is forcing you to buy one and you're definately not entitled to own one just because it exists.

Re:iPhone Unlocking, Ethical and Practical (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741651)

It's called "contractual obligation".

The news sites I've read have stated that the contract AT&T and Apple has REQUIRES Apple to make an honest attempt at keeping people on AT&T or AT&T can invalidate their(Apple's) cut of the subscription sales.

If you don't think AT&T is watching every move Apple is making to nail them for it and take back any percentage of the subscription profits then you are naive.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741379)

One time, I was watching this real-time documentary about Apple and Steve Jobs called Pirates of Silicon Valley. Well, Steve Jobs was interviewing this guy for a job and all of a sudden he starts making fun of the guy for being a virgin!! It was total BULLSHIT. That could have been any one of us sitting in that interviewees chair - don't forget that!

Ever since I saw him pull that shit, I've known that Steve Jobs is a DICK.

'Break' the phone send it back for a refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741381)

Good grief, why would anyone get into this DRM shit. The minute you start letting remote vendors change things according to THEIR interpretation of an agreement, you're automatically saying that you have no valid view of the agreement, only their's is valid!

In this case people bought it, assumed it was theirs despite Apple saying it must be plugged into ATnT, simply because of local laws covering the sale of goods. Yet if they let Apple directly apply the terms by changing the phone remotely, they've automatically given up any local rights they may think they have.

Steve says... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741421)

...bend over and grab your ankles!

And so it goes (2, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741455)

Apple overreaches with a very expensive experiment, and proceeds to knock itself out of a (or even THE) market. It's Newton-time all over again; the karma of Steve-o.

Undo the hack (4, Informative)

Dark_Nova (27836) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741459)

While the jury's out on whether the bricking is intentional or not, it's clear that something in the update process is incompatible with the changes made by unlocking.

The solution is to reverse the changes before updating. There is a preliminary guide to doing this at:

http://www.tuaw.com/2007/09/24/how-to-relock-your-iphone-before-the-firmware-update/ [tuaw.com]

Of course, this means that your phone is no longer unlocked.

The other option is to just not upgrade.

Thank god I misread that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741469)

Still just waking up, I read the headline as something about "Upcoming Firmware Wii Brick". That wouldn't have been very good news four days after soldering that WiiKey on.

Don't tell me no-one saw this coming? (2, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741481)

Anyone who owns an iPod will know the firmware gets updated fairly regularly will fixes and on occasion new features too. To hack your own firmware onto an Apple device is tight-rope-walking at best.

For goodness sake people, you don't buy Apple products because they're cheap or because you want to save money; nay fellow brethren, you buy because Apple products are the coolest, the best user-tested, and yea, because you are blessed enough to afford luxury. It comes at a price.

Amen.

Re:Don't tell me no-one saw this coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741591)

And cool software.
They need to stop screwing with 3rd party apps too.

One more thing..... cyberterrorism? WTF? (3, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741491)

If you own something, its yours. You paid for it, you paid taxes on your purchase, you completed the transaction.

If a company intentionally destroys your property and thus denies you the rightful use of your property, how is that *ANY* different than a DDOS?

If Apple does this, it should be sued into the ground. I'm not talking just statutory damages, I'm talking "punitive" damages intended to reduce the likelihood they do this crap again. If every iPhone use who gets bricked sues for $1m, it could be interesting.

I am sick of U.S. companies treating customers like shit. Damn it! Make a good product, sell a million of them, and support your customers. What the hell is so difficult about that formula? It is the basis of real capitalism, not this fascist lock you in and bend you over crap companies are doing today.
 

Re:One more thing..... cyberterrorism? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741595)

This is ridiculous! There are multiple versions of the hack that all do things slightly differently. Do you really expect Apple to take into account each hack whenever they release an update? And why should they? They built a product to do a job. You knew what it entailed when you bought it. You violated the device when it was hacked (and I have read the hacks - they're not trivial) and now you complain when an update potentially causes a problem. Poor babies.

Apple release more details (4, Funny)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741497)

Apparently the phone won't be disabled immediately. It will first make a call to the nearest AT&T NSA approved logging center, where the phone number will be recorded and your address details passed on to Apple.

Then the phone will disable itself.

Shortly after, you will meet with a mysterious accident.

Apple users that we interviewed were of the opinion that while this was a good first step, it didn't really go quite far enough. "Ideally I'd like to see the offender's family murdered in the streets as well. It's really the only way to teach the proper respect for Apple's products and business strategy.", said one person who was soon copied by all the others in an attempt to show their individuality.

An Apple spokesman who we contacted offered the following statement, "LOL, Windows, LOL!".

NeXT!!!!!!!! (0, Offtopic)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741527)


"Hey Steve, I believed from way way back
'Cause I felt that you were on the right track
Well, I laughed and I cried when I heard you speak
And I put down ten big bills that week
Hey Steve! (Hey Steve!)
I believed! (I believed!)
And I did what it took to buy into the dream!

Now, I'm hearing some stuff about optical drives
And I'm starting to feel some real bad vibes
'Cause I put down twenty-five hundred bucks
And I'm starting to feel like I'm sure f***ed
Hey Steve! (Hey Steve!)
Oh Please! (Oh Please!)
Hey Stephen, don't you be thievin' my optical drive!"

From "Vision in Black" by Nathan J. & the NeXTsteps

New plan (1)

nysv (47963) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741607)

Now all we need is a trojan or worm which will unlock any iphone connected to the system.
Apple couldn't possibly deny replacing bricked phones when they have thousands of innocent people screaming at them.
Hurray for plausible deniability!

Yet Another Arms Race....DRM, Satelite TV, DVD.... (1)

teambpsi (307527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741621)

This is just another arms race in the making. We've seen this with the Cable Boxes, then Satelite TV, DVD, XBOX's

The more complex the systems get, the more opportunities to circumvent.

After all, the Death Star was brought down by a snot-nosed-wombat-shooting-hick from the backwaters of the galaxy :)

All it takes is motivation and a lot of free time....

DMCA Loophole (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741709)

This 'cat and mouse game' is a result of a legal loophole in the DMCA, one that prevents consumers from being locked-in to a single phone service. We need more leaders to step forward, and foil these hackers from cracking our iPhones.

1) Threaten to void warranties
2) Force frequent updates and patches
3) Send DMCA notices to stop sharing of unlocking software
4) Moderate down anyone slandering our Great Leader
5) Moderate down any Grammar-Nazi that tells us it's libel, not slander
6) Profit!!!

Yes, It Sucks (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#20741717)

While it sucks for users who have unlocked their phones, I am forced to wonder if Apple is backed into a corner because of their contract with AT&T. Are they required, by the terms of their contract, to react in just this way or face stiff penalties? I suspect they are. My prediction is that the next update will screw unlocked phones but the various teams out there will find a way to break the fix in short order, allowing users of unlocked phones to again get back to enjoying their phone, with the latest update installed. And I suspect that's exactly what Apple wants and expects though they are forced to act otherwise because of the terms of their deal with AT&T. Yeah, I might just be touting the Apple fanboy party line, but I suspect the pressure to fix things is not coming from Apple in this case.

thank you fanbois! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20741723)

keep on praising good old steve there as he locks you in both on the hardware and software end of things.

apple as an alternative to microsoft? are you kidding?

but they are coming and we still don't hear the howls we'd hear from the slashdot lemmings if this were done by bill gates.

so thanks to the fanbois for proving me right yet again. you guys suck, but you still got my back. how sweet it is.
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