Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple May Be Breaking the Law With Policy On iPhone Unlocks

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the read-the-fine-print dept.

Communications 385

an anonymous reader writes "Apple's recent decision to void warranties for folks that unlocked their iPhones may wind them up in legal hot water. The site Phone News points out that Apple appears to have broken a key warranty law relevant to SIM unlocks. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law decades old, would seem to prevent Apple from voiding warranties in the way it is threatening to do with the iPhone, or so the site argues. 'The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that Apple cannot void a warranty for a product with third-party enhancements or modifications to their product. The only exception to this rule is if Apple can determine that the modification or enhancement is responsible [for] damaging the product in question ... The legal [questions are]: Is the SIM Unlock process that has become mainstream doing damage to iPhone? And, also, is Apple designing future software updates to do damage to iPhone when said SIM Unlock code is present?'"

cancel ×

385 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why this is probably wrong (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743221)

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?

NO!

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.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743291)

anonymous submitter = dave schroeder

Re:Why this is probably wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743343)

Thanks for blowing my cover!

Hugs and Kisses,
Dave

Re:Why this is probably wrong (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743361)

Apple knows that the best course is to protect their exclusive contract, not to leave the phones as-is, and certainly not to shrug off people hacking their iPhones. Apple isn't doing this because they dislike their customers; they are doing it because they don't respect their customers. They also happen to be thwarting attempts to sync iPods with software other than iTunes -- I suppose this is also a completely normal, acceptable practice, to prevent people who use Amarok or Rhythmbox from syncing up their iPod?

Maybe they didn't tell their developers to find a way to cause hacked iPhones to stop functioning. But I doubt that when one of their developers said at a meeting, "...and this update will cause unlocked iPhones to stop functioning..." they thought anything other than, "Good!"

Re:Why this is probably wrong (3, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743451)

Except your statement assumes that Apple hacked a few iPods into the exact same state as all the hacked iPhones and already ran a patch to see what would happen.

My feeling is why waste that time and moeny? THey will build a patch that will work with a non hacked iPhone 100%. They won't spend a single dime testing it on a hacked one (why should they the ROI on that is a negative). Simply say we can;t guarantee what it will do on a system with a changed state not done by Apple.

From what some posters are posting on here (not the parent just what I have read) is that Apple should somehow make sure the patch will work with every combination of a hacked iPhone. Hmm wonder what that would cost.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743601)

Oh no, certainly not. But a developer could probably tell what effect his code will have on the hacked iPhones (developers should be sitting down and carefully designing code before writing it). The developers would probably mention it as a footnote or afterthought, but I doubt they would simply skip over it when their manager says, "OK, tell us what this update does and how it will affect the customers."

Re:Why this is probably wrong (3, Insightful)

garyrich (30652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744053)

"Except your statement assumes that Apple hacked a few iPods into the exact same state as all the hacked iPhones and already ran a patch to see what would happen."

IF you think they haven't already, I'd have to say you are barking mad.

"My feeling is why waste that time and moeny?"

What does it cost to have some junior level dev guy hack one and play around with it for a day and write up a report? Basically nothing.

"THey will build a patch that will work with a non hacked iPhone 100%. They won't spend a single dime testing it on a hacked one (why should they the ROI on that is a negative). "

OF course this is true, but you are answering a different question. Real testing and "validation" would be very expensive. Particularly since that validation would have to meet the standards of AT&T, which obviously has a vested interest in having any such thing fail validation testing.

"Simply say we can;t guarantee what it will do on a system with a changed state not done by Apple."

Unofficially, they will know perfectly well what it will do. If there are two roughly equal ways to implement a desired feature and and they know one of them breaks on the hacked phone -- that is the one that will be used. Apple would reverse engineer an unrelated reason for why they picked that implementation.

"From what some posters are posting on here (not the parent just what I have read) is that Apple should somehow make sure the patch will work with every combination of a hacked iPhone. Hmm wonder what that would cost."

They have no such obligation, totally agree. What they do have is a contract with AT&T to ensure and protect their exclusive carrier rights. If they don't do everything legally possible to make sure people can't switch carriers - they will sure Apple for everything they can.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744171)

Except your statement assumes that Apple hacked a few iPods into the exact same state as all the hacked iPhones and already ran a patch to see what would happen.

That's a pretty damn safe assumption to make. Any COMPETENT product engineering team / product management team would ABSOLUTELY do so.

You KNOW that they have at LEAST applied the unlock hack to phones to see exactly what it does and how it works. You also know that they are working on (and surely finished by now) a patch that "undoes" the unlock hack.

It would be ridiculous to think that they would make the statement that their updates will brick a phone without knowing for sure.

It would also be ridiculous to think that any information on this at Apple would remain secret during a court case and the resulting subpoenas / depositions.

Come on. We, and Apple, just are not that stupid.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743621)

They also happen to be thwarting attempts to sync iPods with software other than iTunes


They added a hash, that the firmware checked before loading. That was cracked fairly quickly and could have been much harder. Prove to me they did it deliberately and intentionally to remove other syncing utilities.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743775)

This hash has absolutely no technical use. The iPods worked fine before the hash, and exhibit the same level of functionality with the hash. All the hash does is restrict how the iPod can be synced.

Or can you demonstrate a legitimate, technical need for that hash to be there?

Re:Why this is probably wrong (0, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744049)

If they wanted it to be truly restricted, they'd encrypt the database.

But I suppose you've never had a terrible 3rd party sync util (EphPod) go and fuck your iPod's database up on what was only supposed to be a read, have you?

Re:Why this is probably wrong (4, Informative)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744217)

Apple knows that the best course is to protect their exclusive contract, not to leave the phones as-is, and certainly not to shrug off people hacking their iPhones. Apple isn't doing this because they dislike their customers; they are doing it because they don't respect their customers.

No, Apple is "doing this" (I assume you mean, discouraging unlocking of iPhones) so AT&T doesn't have any reason to claim Apple is violating a contractual agreement. Could Apple make sure nobody can unlock the phones? Probably, yes. Have they done so? Nope. Just like every other time they've changed something to make some mega-corp happy, they make it so joe-user has to go out of their way, and that way Apple is covered. Want to copy a CD? Can't do it with drag & drop, sorry. Download a tool to do it? Well, it's not Apple's fault, they didn't give you the tool. Want to get around the DRM? You need to use a tool that isn't from Apple to do it. Want to unlock your iPhone? Same story. They can't just give you a way to do it, or they'd be in trouble with AT&T's lawyers. But, if they put up a token effort to keep people from doing it, and someone smart bypasses that (my bet is at 2 hours after the release being the time to workaround), well, (shrug) we tried, AT&T, I guess they're just too smart.

They also happen to be thwarting attempts to sync iPods with software other than iTunes -- I suppose this is also a completely normal, acceptable practice, to prevent people who use Amarok or Rhythmbox from syncing up their iPod?

I don't disagree that a recent update broke that function. I don't think we agree on why the change was made though. And, how long did it stay broken? If Apple really wanted to lock people out, I'm pretty sure they could have. The fact that they haven't tells me something.

Maybe they didn't tell their developers to find a way to cause hacked iPhones to stop functioning. But I doubt that when one of their developers said at a meeting, "...and this update will cause unlocked iPhones to stop functioning..." they thought anything other than, "Good!"
Yup, "Good"...followed by a chuckle, and a thought of "That'll keep AT&T off our ass, and the mods community will have it licked in an hour or three".

Re:Why this is probably wrong (4, Informative)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743365)

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.

I think you'll find that locking phones in the UK is only permitted because the carrier subsidises the cost of the phone.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743459)

I think you'll find that locking phones in the UK is only permitted because the carrier subsidises the cost of the phone.

Then I guess we'll find out whether the iPhone is locked to a carrier in the UK when it comes out, won't we?

And if it is, then what? A bunch of crying and whining?

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1, Insightful)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743831)

I think you'll find that locking phones in the UK is only permitted because the carrier subsidises the cost of the phone.

Then I guess we'll find out whether the iPhone is locked to a carrier in the UK when it comes out, won't we?

It will be.

And if it is, then what? A bunch of crying and whining?

Probably a consumer rights lawsuit after they void a couple of people's warranties for unlocking. But not from me. I really couldn't give a shit about the iPhone or any of Apple's other predatory business practices.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (2, Informative)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743587)

It's pretty well known that Apple gets a kickback of the charges collected by AT&T within the two year contract with an iPhone.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (0, Troll)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743369)

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.
That would be so Apple, and you know it.

One more time: Warranty != Rights (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743389)

All the people posting here that, somehow, the warranty defines your rights or a manufacturer's responsibilities are absolutely 100% wrong.

Federal, state, and local statutes trump warranties every time.

If Apple knew, or should have known, that its firmware will destroy an iPhone regardless of after market modification, it *MUST* exercise care to prevent this from happening.

Any defense of Apple that does not account for law or relevant legal precedent are, at best, flawed.

Re:One more time: Warranty != Rights (4, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743669)

If Apple knew, or should have known, that its firmware will destroy an iPhone regardless of after market modification, it *MUST* exercise care to prevent this from happening.
Nope. State and Federal courts are quite clear on the fact that the manufacturer is in no way obligate to support a item if the user manipulates said item so as it is not covered under the agreed to contract or warranty. Since hacking your phone to allow it to use other carriers SIM card both voids your AT&T contract AND your warranty with Apple, Apple legally has no obligation to support it at that point. And if your wondering how they came to know this courts wise, ask your local cable company. This is why its completely legal for them to burn out all the tuners in your house with a firmware upgrade to kick off people who are hacking the boxes to steal cable. A least in this case Apple isnt knowingly doing it unlike the cable companies who actually flat out broadcasted that you WILL get your equipment burned out if you put illegal stuff on their system.

Re:One more time: Warranty != Rights (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743781)

Since hacking your phone to allow it to use other carriers SIM card both voids your AT&T contract AND your warranty with Apple, Apple legally has no obligation to support it at that point.

Only in so far as the modifications affect "supportable" operation. For instance, if the modifications keep it from connecting to the AT&T network, they don't have to fix that, but that does not free them of further responsibility.

Re:One more time: Warranty != Rights (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744119)

since the software for the iPhones whole purpose is based around the AT&T network, yet it does mean they do not have to support it.

Re:One more time: Warranty != Rights (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744243)

since the software for the iPhones whole purpose is based around the AT&T network, yet it does mean they do not have to support it.

This would have to be an assertion for the defense, but ....., seeing as the same basic software with a few small modifications works with other phone companies, it doesn't seem all to promising.

Re:One more time: Warranty != Rights (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744257)

since the software for the iPhones whole purpose is based around the AT&T network, yet it does mean they do not have to support it.
AT&T's network bis essentially a bog-standard GSM system. There is nothing special about it the iPhone can be "based around".

Re:Why this is probably wrong (2, Insightful)

drcagn (715012) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743447)

Apple has already explicitly stated that they are not going to intentionally or proactively do anything to unlocked phones.

No, Apple has said that they are not going to intentionally or proactively do anything to people who write third party applications.
On the other hand, Apple has said that they are going to do what they can to stop unlockers.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743823)

...and the misinformation begins.

No. Apple said [yahoo.com] :

Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed. [...] Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones. Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone's warranty.


and [nytimes.com] :

''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.''

The current unlock mechanism uses a buffer overflow in the current version of the iPhone's OS to unlock. Will that be fixed, thereby "stopping" unlockers? Yes.

This doesn't mean they're going to intentionally damage phones that have ALREADY BEEN unlocked.

So I'm sorry, but you're incorrect.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744327)

Your right. Misinformation began already... But it was with the original and subsequent Apple statements.

Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software

This is bullshit by definition. The phones still work, so the software is not "damaged." Yes, the firmware values may now be "different" but "different" does not automatically equal "damaged." In fact, one may go so far as to conclude that the software was "enhanced" by the unlocking code as it allows the phone to work with other carriers AS WELL as AT&T.

This exact scenario has been well hashed out in the courts regarding third party modifications to automobiles and warranties. I believe Apple will lose this one in any court case, certainly in the court of public opinion.

Apple = Conservative company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743453)

As we have seen in many instances, and especially in SteveJob's recent flagrant disregard for the law in his options backdating, Apple is a very conservative company, in the respect that it doesn't really care what the law is (meaning, they behave as a conservative).

So the conservative solution to this is like all conservative solutions: if you break the law... just get rid of the law you broke! Support "deregulation" of the consumer protection laws Apple ignores. It's the only truly conservative recourse.

Re:Apple = Conservative company (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743713)

"conservative"

That word doesn't mean what you think it means. Perhaps you meant "neo-conservative"?

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743465)

Ruh roh, for once I actually agree with you.

I don't see how this is huge news, it's pretty much the same for hacked HTC (running WM) phones...of course they've been hacked quite a bit more. After applying custom firmwares to the phone, if you want to go back to an official release there are several downgrading steps that need to be done. Directly applying an official update can seriously screw it up, but that's not HTC's fault.

Welcome to the world of custom firmware Apple fans!

Re:Why this is probably wrong (3, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743501)

Except, AFAIK, the burden of proof is upon Apple to show that the SIM unlock process being employed by the customer is bricking the phone. I have an unlocked iPhone, and as far as I can tell the only tricky part about the unlock process is the buffer overflow to get into the phone in the first place - certainly not something that will damage hardware. The firmware modifications are not real modifications, so much as it appears to be flipping a switch - literally a setting that Apple had placed in there in the first place. The phone supports unlocked mode, and no custom firmware code is being written, just settings, AFAIK. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (2, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743527)

See my post here [slashdot.org] . Firmware shouldn't be able to cause permanent damage to the hardware, and the user should be able to recover the device from a botched firmware upgrade (or a bad hack job), without a JTAG. Not ensuring those two things will cause problems for Apple, even if they can discourage people from trying to hack the iPhone.

Have you ever used a PDA or graphing calculator that required a JTAG to un-brick after a failed update? It's simply unacceptable in those markets. Why should Apple get away with it in the iPhone?

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743639)

"Why should Apple get away with it in the iPhone?"

Because the iPhone is cool.

The new iPhone has DTT!!! (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743857)

Because the iPhone is cool.
The new iPhone is much cooler because it has DTT [washingtonpost.com] *.

*Digital Turnip Twaddling (I'm quoting what I think you will agree, or not, is an authoritative technical authority. Opus threw his obsolete iPhone in the trash.)

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744135)

Firmware shouldn't be able to cause permanent damage to the hardware
Keyword: shouldn't. It happens in the real world all the time, though.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743553)

The astroturfers are quick!

-1 industry apologist (4, Interesting)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743661)

I don't know if you've written any software yourself, but the first rule about deploying patches to consumer software is that you are NOT allowed to make any assumptions about the state of the hardware or software.

The reason people are up in arms is because apple has raised the possibility of this update permanently bricking your iPhone. That possibility is unacceptable. Any decent programmer would just have the update checksum the software and firmware and overwrite any hacked copies with the new version. None of your arguments about altered radio firmware and so on have any bearing on the issue...what does it matter which piece of firmware we're talking about? If an update requires consistency on the part of other elements of the phone, it needs to ensure that they are consistent, and if they are not, either fix them or fail gracefully.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of precedent for hardware warranties being unaffected by the actions a consumer takes with his software. Any manufacturer who causes users 4-600$ dollars worth of hardware loss via a software update would be liable. End of story.

Believe me, if PC manufacturers could have voided your warranty for installing a different operating system (as they would be able to according to your arguments), they would have years ago.

Re:-1 industry apologist (3, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744015)

Apple is doing this with iPhone OS updates; that is, checking to see if it is in an expected state, and if it's not, requiring the iPhone to go through a "restore".

However, for the radio firmware, Apple is alleging that some unlock mechanisms may have irreparably damaged the hardware of the phone. If that is correct - if the iPhone hardware has been permanently damaged - then I don't think Apple is to blame. If, however, it is all software-only and reversible, then I agree with you completely, and expect Apple to try to follow exactly that path.

Re:-1 industry apologist (4, Interesting)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744247)

Believe me, if PC manufacturers could have voided your warranty for installing a different operating system (as they would be able to according to your arguments), they would have years ago.

They do try! Years ago, I made the mistake of buying an HP PC that came with a very new XP (pre-SP1). Before I even turned the PC on, I took the hard drive out, installed a new one, and installed a fresh copy of Windows 2000. Less than a year later (still within warranty), the optical drive died. Sure enough, HP's outsourced, "have to follow the checklist" tech people tried their best to tell me that I was not entitled to a DVD drive replacement because I didn't have the "correct" operating system installed. Anyone of a less stubborn nature than me would have given up, but I fought through several days' worth of phone calls and demands to talk to managers. At that point it became a matter of principle. But I finally got the replacement sent to me. They might not have been "voiding" the warranty by initially denying my warranty claim, but I don't see any difference between voiding and trying to not honor a warranty. Either way, you're not getting the service that you're entitled to.

Just because we know that trying to blame software for hardware failures is ridiculous, there are even more people out there who have no clue that they're separate issues and will just give up.

Software controlled radio (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743717)

You are plugging a radio device into a regulated liscenced network. You have a responsibility not to screw with the emissions of the device or misuse it. More than a responsibily--a legal obligation. But Apple also has a responsibility to try to prevent misuse of the device since it can't be expected that every user knows what they are doing and can weigh the ramifications of software installation. They need to make it reasonably safe but beyond that it's the end user that commits the crime.

It's also remotely plausible software can ruin the device and even increase the risk of fire. So making it hard to mess with also makes sense from that perspective. This is much more of a minor concern than the former, as there are already many perfectly safe battery operated computers. The reason it matters here at all is simply the numbers game. Unlike most moddable handhelds, theres millions of these things and they are very likely to be operated on airplanes and public transportation. Some prudence is required.

But beyond apples need to due dilligence above they also have the desire to make the thing have some value to the carriers and to the music sellers. Thus locking them helps the carriers. If there's a kickback for sales then it lessens the initial purchase cost to the consumers too. And it makes a market for DRMd music. (people who whine about fairlplay can't be pleased--it's a freakin fair-use speedbump folks, not a lock in. At least for the music. Video is a different story.). People may not like DRM but the mass consumer likes having a marketplace so they want to make that possible. To do that they need to enhance the sales value to attract the sellers. Personally I'm pretty happy with the line apple walks between buyers and sellers interests on audio sales. You can disagree with me on the DRM, but please see the point that apple has its reasons for needing to keep the device secure given its middleman position in the market.

Finally, my guess is that like their video DRM (as opposed to audio) they are not trying to win the cat and mouse game here but simply perpetuate it at a level where the rodent population is tolerable. hardcore folks will play update games. Everyone else will not.

So sure there may be sim card laws that say they can't prevent that. But they can prevent people from unlocking many of the other parts of the phone which may amount to the same thing, indirectly.

Re:Software controlled radio (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744281)

Beyond the immediate iPhone issues, the Video DRM is actually more emblematic of my complaint with how Apple is dealing with this. The iPod and consequently iTMS would have never caught hold if it wasn't for the whole "rip, mix, burn" campaign-- the fact that it was possible and legal, and not the marketing. The same is required for the success of video sales long-term-- things need to be opened up sufficiently to allow unintended uses that expand the market.

When taking this argument to the iPhone, people must realize that there are unintended uses of the iPhone that both drive sales and improve customer satisfaction. You can buy an iPhone in Bangkok today. There are over 100 stores with them in stock by my estimates. The stores are charging a healthy premium above cost in the US, and they are selling fairly well. Apple is not likely to ever sell iPhones directly in Thailand. The same story is true the world over.

What incentive does a company have for restricting their products from a market at a cost comparable or higher than their target markets?

There is also a specific subset of people that buy Apple's products whose needs are different than everybody else. If you travel abroad, leave the iPhone at home! Why the hell would I buy a quad-band world phone if I can't use it to at least make calls-- ideally take advantage of some of the functions with a controlled cost?

I've been an Apple fan, consumer, and stockholder for a long time, and I have to say that they are moving in a direction that is not conducive for me to remain any of the three.

Why this _is_ wrong... (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743799)

In the US, a warrantor can say the whole warranty is nullified for just about anything they can define. The only thing they need to do is state so in plain terms. Read the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act [house.gov] , if you want to know.

Most of the "they can't do X" crap, stems from a misinterpretation of one specific part of the act:

No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if -
(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and (2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

The clause is to prevent, say, a vacuum cleaner company from requiring used of their own brand of bags (unless they provide them free). It doesn't mean you can modify your car for more horsepower, and expect the manufacturer to cover the engine under warranty when it breaks. It also doesn't mean a manufacturer can't put a clause in the warranty which says the car's warranty is voided if you hang fuzzy dice from the mirror. It means that they can't put a clause which says "Use of any brand fuzzy dice other than ACME brand fuzzy dice will void the engine warranty."

Specific to the case at hand, since Apple provides firmware "without charge" during the warranty period, Magnuson-Moss does not require that they allow third party or modified firmware to be used under the warranty terms, and Apple is within the law if they require that only their firmware be used to maintain a valid warranty.

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743851)

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.

Maybe Apple's brilliant line of reasoning will catch on in other industries.

You: I want to buy this house! *hands realtor a check for the full price of the property*

Realtor: Thanks.

You: Can I have the deed to my new property?

Realtor: Nope. See, we have to give you the title to the land after you pay off the mortgage.

You: Um, but I didn't take out a mortgage?

Realtor: Right, so I get to keep your money and never have to give you the deed! Ha ha ha you sure are a moron! *walks off, sticking the check in his pocket*

Re:Why this is probably wrong (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743859)

Considering how authoritative and absolute this post is, I'm going to have to assume (only for discussion purposes) that daveschroeder is an Apple employee who is *very* highly in "the know" about their corporate politics. Because if not, then this is just an Apple fanboi rant trying to save some face from what is a corporation knowingly reducing functionality of a device to (questionably) boost their own profits.

That said, I do agree that since the unlock process does take advantage of a buffer overflow problem that Apple should fix it, but I'm not sure why subsequent upgrades would be an issue.

I'll be upfront about me not being 100% sure about the following, so please correct if I am wrong. Considering that this only affects the baseband chip, which serves a single purpose...to communicate with the GSM/GPRS networks, and those methods are well understood and for the most part static. I would highly doubt that they would need to make any changes to that stack/chip. Most of the times when building phones, you just purchase the baseband chips and you can't directly interact with the firmware...there is that whole FCC licensing that they have to get after all (only the chips have to have the certification, i think). Anyway, if this next update does brick the phone I would be inclined to think that it was nothing other than 100% deliberate.

Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743227)

If you don't like the product then don't buy it.

That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (3, Insightful)

mjpaci (33725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743257)

...from a few days ago is a better lithmus test for this act, don't you think?

Re:That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (1)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743371)

No, because the store already admitted that was a mistake and are honoring the warranty.

Re:That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20744007)

The company admitted it, but the manager at the store was still being a prick about it last time I heard.

Re:That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (2, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743409)

Apart from the fact that it's on a different side of the Atlantic, it's a damn good precedent.

(Disclaimer: IANASNAB,WATTKOLWHIE&W.IHNIAS,BIPD)

Re:That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (1)

mjpaci (33725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743439)

What, you expect me to READ the article? I just read the comments, they're usually much more entertaining.

Re:That Linux on Laptop No Warranty Story... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743471)

That was probably a typo, but it's spelled "litmus test [google.com] ."

John McCain: Former Presidential Candidate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743267)


U.S.A Communist Party FP !

Nice law - may applie to linux installs too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743289)

It seems that this would also apply to people who have had their warranties voided due to linux installation. like here [linux.com] . Let's hope so.

Its not Apples QA Departments responsibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743307)

If a firmware update from Apple breaks an iPhone, how it that Apples fault?

Its not the QA departments responsibility at Apple to test their updates on unsupported platforms. What is the QA department suppose to do scourer the web for iPhone hacks and test their Firmware updates against them.

Re:Its not Apples QA Departments responsibly (1)

gr3kgr33n (824960) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743625)

No, they should not have to scour the web for these modifications however they also should not push out an update that will knowingly cause Unnecessary Damage [slashdot.org]

Re:Its not Apples QA Departments responsibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743689)

It states that a firmware update "May" not "Will" break the iPhone, meaning they did not test their update against modded phones.

Re:Its not Apples QA Departments responsibly (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743989)

It should be impossible to brick the hardware, *period*. There should be nothing, other than data loss possible with any failed firmware update. If the customer can't reset the phone to a known good state from any failed update, then it is IMHO, Apple's fault entirely.

Why? (0, Redundant)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743327)

Naturally, the whole thing is taken out of context as far as the law is concerned. This is what happens when non-lawyers hack up a plate of leagl code.

But even if it wasn't, I don't understand why certain sectors are frothing about this. The iPhone is a product and it's configured in a certain way at the factory to work a certain way. It's not "commodity" hardware, a generic phone. I just don't understand why, if you dink around with it's software, which is an integral part of its operation, its "total experience", why Apple shouldn't void the warranty. It's not the same thing they sold you, why should they be responsible for it?

Software/Firmware != Hardware (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743531)

If they grant you a warranty on the phone, then that warranty is on THE PHONE. If you change the configuration of the phone, including the software, they can only get out of their warranty obligation if your configuration actually damaged the phone. The iPhone is billed as a computer (and it is), so installing different software on it should not void the warranty, unless that software deliberately damaged the phone. If they install software and your phone that stops the phone from working, I fail to see how they are not responsible for fulfilling the warranty.

But I can see them simply re-locking the phone as part of the warranty. IANAL, by the way.

Re:Software/Firmware != Hardware (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743591)

If they grant you a warranty on the phone, then that warranty is on THE PHONE.

The software that runs the phone is part of the phone.

If you buy a Chevy arnd replace the engine with some aftermarket engine, Chevy isn't going to fix it when you break it.

Re:Software/Firmware != Hardware (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743719)

The software is part of the configuration of the phone, not the phone itself. Software (including firmware) is not some tangible thing like a car engine. Software is just another form of data -- data that directs the behavior of the hardware. A better comparison is taking your new Chevy, and reconfiguring the the buttons on your dashboard, so that they are more comfortable for you, and Chevy claiming that voids your warranty when your brakes fail.

Re:Software/Firmware != Hardware (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743795)

The software that runs the phone is part of the phone.

If you buy a Chevy arnd replace the engine with some aftermarket engine, Chevy isn't going to fix it when you break it.


In most markets, if you buy a Chevy and replace the engine and then find the door hinge is defective. They must fix the door hinge. Any part not directly affected the replacement. The manufacturer would obviously not want to fix anything. Laws vary by jurisdiction.

Re:Software/Firmware != Hardware (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744059)

If you buy a Chevy arnd replace the engine with some aftermarket engine, Chevy isn't going to fix it when you break it.
Utter bullshit, and could only be said by someone without the slightest inkling of what consumer protection laws are for. Why do you think there's an aftermarket for car parts at all? If you replace the engine in a Chevy, Chevy won't fix the *engine*, but if the differential burns out they'll sure as hell fix that. And if you take it to the dealership to get your brake pads changed, they'll do that. And if they ruin your car while doing that service on, they're going to be liable no matter how many aftermarket parts you had in it.

I could see cases where an update might legitimately brick a phone, like if someone installs custom firmware on it. But the SIM unlocking isn't a firmware replacement or even a hack, it's a settings update, and there's no reason whatsoever why a firmware update should damage the phone in any way. At the very worst, it should refuse to install, but there's not really much justification even for that.

Re:Why? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743721)

As an aside, I think its valid to argue that a large portion of the legal morass these days is caused by the rise of lawmakers with no legal training. Back in the "good old days" (sarcasm intended) the vast majority of members in a State Legislature, or United States Congress would at least have legal education (whether they had actually practiced criminal or civil law or not although the further back in time you go, the more common it is for members to have experience in Criminal Law Practice). Nowadays, Bill Frist is the more common model, a Medical Doctor with no legal education whatsoever. MBAs are also common.

I argue that this gives rise to chaos when it comes to actually enforcing the law, as actual legal professionals have to then interpret and decode the ramblings of uneducated amateurs into their language.

For a Comp-Sci analogy - what happens when you take an amateur web-developer, who does mostly HTML, but knows a little Perl and PHP, and put him in charge of a production C/C++ OS development team?

The way they are going about it (1)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743335)

I think Apple is simply going about it wrong. Rather than being all vocal and tolling hell's bells, it could just release updates that make the current method not work. Once the new update is cracked, release another. It's a motivation to deliver something new in every update (*cough*flash*cough*).

Yeah, it's might be like brushing it under the rug, and AT&T wouldn't like that. A policy of "We are not responsible and we do not support the unlock and will not repair the software of unlocked phones--only the hardware, but un-unlocked phones are repairable in full" might do the trick.

Re:The way they are going about it (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743759)

Yeah, its a bit of bad PR spin. If they had relased the update and a 'few' iPhones had stopped working, and they just happened to be the modded ones then people wouldn't be so up in arms.

The trouble is people don't know if Apple are deliberately going to kill the iPhones where they have been tampered with or whether it's just some part of the update mechanism that has been hacked and therefore doesn't work any longer.

I still say move development over to the iPod Touch. No one actually brought the iPhone for the phone part of it. They brought it for the touchscreen. I am sure hacking the touch will be a lot less problematic.

Sorry Charlie (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743339)

All this sounds like griping from people who hacked their phone to unlock it.

What did you expect? Now that Apple will probably brick your hacked phone you are pissed off. You took the risk.

Now, everybody (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743345)

FUCK iPHONE.

Fuck it, fuck their Apple zombie army, and fuck zonk.

Keep iPhone posts to the maximum of, what, every other post these days?

Modchips? (2, Informative)

fishybell (516991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743399)

It's not illegal to unlock a phone because of an excemption in the DMCA, but the DMCA says nothing about requiring warranties remain invalid. If this law were used to force Apple into maintaining warranties on unlocked iPhones, then wouldn't Microsoft be also obliged to maintain warranties on 'chipped Xbox's. Right now they're merely banning them from Xbox live, but shouldn't the inability to get online with a product which heralds its online capabilities be a warranty issue?

Re:Modchips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743733)


Once I read The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that Apple cannot void a warranty for a product with third-party enhancements or modifications to their product. The only exception to this rule is if Apple can determine that the modification or enhancement is responsible [for] damaging the product in question I thought of modchips as well.

Looks like I may have had warranty on my PS2, XBOX and xbox 360!

Auto makers have been doing it for years (4, Informative)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743423)

Any car reseller, big or small, will tell you that installing 3rd party stuff in your car voids the warranty, and if you're not willing to fight, they'll walk all over you. Usually it's things like turbos and aftermarket brake systems, but sometimes they'll try to get away with little stuff. I have an aunt who had a new stereo installed to replace the factory tape deck (about 5 years ago) and when there was an ABS problem they tried to say that the CD player voided all warranties. Until I called them...

iPhones can probably play the same crap. As long as they warn you that 3rd party software or hardware may brick the system, they're fine. Nintendo just did that with Metroid Prime 3. There is a warning saying that upgrading the firmware will most likely brick machines with mods, and even gave instructions on how to circumvent the installation. You couldn't play the game, but at least you don't have a brick.

Re:Auto makers have been doing it for years (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743539)

That is exactly what the law is supposed to prevent.
If you fry a piston and have an aftermarket turbo yea your warranty is void. But if your ABS has issues you are covered.
So yea they might try to tell you that but it is baloney.

Re:Auto makers have been doing it for years (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743675)

Of course, in this case, you have aftermarket software and you've fried your software.

It's a bit trickier ion that their software has fried your software. I don't think there's an obvious parallel that can be drawn by a service causing damage because of aftermarket components.

not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743707)

Some car manufacturers integrate non-audio circuitry into the radio. GM, for example, did (still does?) that for the airbag controls so its not necessarily baloney that replacing your car's factory audio headunit caused your ABS to cease operating or operate incorrectly.

Sometimes the line between vendor-forced lock-ins and blind cost-reduction engineering is hard to distinguish.

Re:Auto makers have been doing it for years (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744009)

No, thats not what its supposed to prevent, the aftermarket associations wishful thinking aside.

MM is meant to do one thing and really one thing only -- prevent a warranty to be dependent on the use of manufacturer provided service and parts in lieu of *equivalent* OEM parts and service.

It has *nothing* to do with modifications. They *can* void your warranty for changing one part of a car to an out of spec part, and its up to you to prove in the court that the change could not have caused a seemingly unrelated failure. In your example, the replacement of a piston with an aftermarket one that is not equivalent (nevermind that makes no sense) absolutely can void the warranty on the ABS because you could've damaged the ABS as an inexperienced mechanic who does not have credentials up to their standards while you were making the change.

So, you might be trying to tell people otherwise, but FYI, its baloney.

Re:Auto makers have been doing it for years (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744261)

Try reading the example given again. The piston wasn't replaced with aftermarket parts. The situation is, if you were to install a turbo and you fried a piston due to the new turbo the warranty would not cover the damage. These parts are not directly related. As to another post about airbag circuitry included in the radio makes absolutely no sense. Not because it isn't true, but because factory radios are known to be very faulty...

This relates to the iPhone ordeal because a third party application certainly can interfere with other parts of the systems, but it should never 'brick' a system. At least the user should be able to un-install and be done with it. But if you modify the system files you might be in a bit more trouble. The internal memory can obviously be edited by Apple remotely, so why not make it 'resetable' from iTunes to rid it of the unlocking if that is what needs to be done?

Re:Auto makers have been doing it for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743827)

I personally just want to know when we'll start tagging defectivebydesign on hardware made by folks other than Microsoft. Sounds to me like every modern game console, the iPhone, and a multitude of other devices need it.

Oh wait, I'm sorry, it's Apple we're talking about here. Not allowed to accuse them of doing wrong. Even though they're, you know, mini-Microsoft in a turtleneck.

I can understand refusing to give technical support (as in deal with the calls) from unlocked users. But refusing to give basic updates, destroying the phone, then saying "Tough shit"? Refusing to support hardware warranties when the software/firmware was all that was altered? How the hell is this accepted? Because people have stopped insisting on being treated as customers, and started ACCEPTING being treated as mindless consumers.

If more people would vote with their bucks not to pay for this bullshit, we might manage to get companies back to serving US instead of the other way 'round.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743477)

Is the SIM Unlock process that has become mainstream doing damage to iPhone?

Who said it's mainstream? I know of no one that has actualy unlocked their iphone.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743643)

I think he means SIM unlocking in general, which is fairly mainstream in the UK. If a friend asks me whether he can give his phone to his mum or it needs unlocking he would certainly understand my reply.

My question is... (2, Interesting)

IwarkChocobos (881084) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743497)

Why should apple care? Doesn't unlocking a phone only take customers away from the carrier? Apple already got the profit from the phone when it was purchased, who gives a shit if someone wants to use it on a different network. If anyone should be pissed, it's Cingular/ATT. Also, this practice of voiding warranties for "hacking phones" is not new. I've hacked my Verizon Razr V3c because it just works way better with the hacks (all it does it enable features that are normally disabled, I dont change the software) and guess what, that voids the warranty with Verizon, but not with my phone insurance company.

Re:My question is... (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743751)

Apple has a exclusive contract with AT&T. When the exclusiveness of said contract is being threatened, I think the carrier is going to bitch to you to lock your fucking phone better.

Re:My question is... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744087)

Apple makes money monthly [news.com] for every iPhone on the AT&T network. Apple probably doesn't care about the profit on the phone, considering the $3/month they make for every AT&T subscriber with an iPhone. And an additional $8 for every non-AT&T subscriber that switches over to an AT&T iPhone. Sell 3 million iPhones, you're making $108,000,000 a year.

Note that this is pure profit for Apple; they have zero costs in receiving this revenue! AT&T pays for the wireless network and its maintenance. Apple just gets the "royalty", so to speak. One hundred million dollars a year in gross profit.

The iPhone isn't revolutionary because of its form factor or UI. It's revolutionary because for the first time in the US a cell carrier is sharing monthly revenue with a phone manufacturer. That's never happened. And the rumors are that Verizon and T-Mobile rebuffed Apple over this very sharing. Which is why Apple partnered with AT&T.

It's the backend royalties where the big money is. Considering cell phones are kept for 2 years on average in the US, that means Apple makes at least $72 additional on every iPhone (this is $72 in PROFIT, not just revenue) that sticks on the AT&T network.

No, there's a huge incentive to keep the iPhones firmly in the grasp of AT&T...

No other option outside of the US (1)

Starturtle (1148659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743499)

If Apple would assist with providing an easily accessible method to have a working iPhone in Canada I'll have no reason to unlocked an iPhone.

Re:No other option outside of the US (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743843)

Sorry, I guess that like me, you are not special enough to be in the exclusive Apple club. I cannot run iTunes on my computer, nor can I access iTunes 7 shares over my LAN. Remember: Apple is EXCLUSIVE! Apple is a high standard than everything else; you can't have everyone using Apple hardware and software, or else Apple wouldn't have that image of something that is "better" than what everyone else has.

Why else would they deliberately limit their market by refusing to license iPhones to other carriers?

Yes i am a troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743507)

Apple fanbois can lick my sack and take a big ole bong load of my pubes.

redux: Warranty != Rights (0)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743565)

People wake up!! All the people posting here that, somehow, the warranty defines your rights or a manufacturer's responsibilities are absolutely 100% wrong.

Federal, state, and local statutes trump warranties every time. You have rights, and Apple has responsibilities!!!

If Apple knew, or should have known, that its firmware will destroy an iPhone regardless of after market modification, it *MUST* exercise care to prevent this from happening.

Any defense of Apple that does not account for law or relevant legal precedent are, at best, flawed.

Re:redux: Warranty != Rights (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743819)

If Apple knew, or should have known, that its firmware will destroy an iPhone regardless of after market modification, it *MUST* exercise care to prevent this from happening.

They did. They told you not to fuck around with modifications, dummy.

Re:redux: Warranty != Rights (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744047)

If Apple knew, or should have known, that its firmware will destroy an iPhone regardless of after market modification, it *MUST* exercise care to prevent this from happening.

They did. They told you not to fuck around with modifications, dummy.


Depending on the applicable laws, they probably don't have the right to demand that you do not modify YOUR property.

if, they can't prove that *you* damaged the device, and mere modification is not necessarily "damage," regardless of their protestations, they have legal responsibilities. If an expert testifies and can prove the modifications made do not harm the unit, and all reports seem to indicate that, Apple is responsible regardless of what ever their warranty says.

Application of this Law (1)

raijinsetsu (1148625) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743589)

I can see how this law would prevent Apple from voiding the HARDWARE warranty, but I see that "hacking" your phone would void all software warranties. According to the excerpt, unless Apple could prove that the changes to the firmware caused hardware failure, then they would have to continue their warranty on hardware replacements. They could, however, refuse to re-flash the phone or deal with any interface/software problems. I think this law would be better applied to those stories we hear about laptop and PC owners being denied under-warranty hardware replacements when they are using non-Windows OS's.

Jobs had a sink-the-company idea: AT&T! (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743633)

This entire problem occurred because Apple partnered with AT&T. It was a sink-the-company idea for Apple, in my opinion, guaranteed to get Apple some VERY bad press.

People have a legitimate need to use other SIM cards in their phones. For example, if you travel to Europe or Asia or South America, it is common to buy a SIM card there (GSM phones only) because then you get a local number, making it much cheaper for local people to call you and for you to call them.

Locking the iPhone while charging the full price for it was an attempt to squeeze more money from buyers, most of whom don't fully understand all the ways cellular phone companies, and now Apple, can abuse them, in my opinion.

AT&T is no longer the old AT&T, because the name was sold [att.com] to SBC. My understanding is that the SBC trademark was worse than useless because the company is so abusive. So, the managers decided to use another name. Those interested in how that happened can watch Stephen Colbert explain in a 1 minute 14 second video: The New AT&T [google.com] .

SBC taking the name AT&T is, in my opinion, a kind of legal fraud, but fraud nevertheless. People are bound to be confused and misled. AT&T had a very good reputation. SBC-AT&T is a completely different company, and has no connection in its culture with the old AT&T. At the very least, the SEC should require the company to disclose in the first sentence of any prospectus for its stock that there is no connection whatsoever.

Call me a pessimist, but... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743715)

...I believe there's a good chance that other corporations are monitoring this case very carefully, then will dispatch fleets of lobbyists in Washington to push legislation to repeal the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, with Harry Reid more than willing to comply. It cannot be understated that both major political parties in Congress have made it very clear, in the last ten years or so, that they are for the most part sympathetic towards Big Business.

Think copyright laws and the virtual demise of public domain.
Think file sharing. Think internet radio.

Seems that TiVo might be a guide here (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743761)

You can hack your Tivo, and there has been some (backhanded) help from Tivo insiders to do so. You can make it do all sorts of wonderful things that Tivo did not intend, or were to litigation averse to embed in the system. Thing is, when Tivo updates the boxes you lose all your hacks. The community realized this and created a workaround that prevented automatic updates. Then they get the new software update, sifted through it, and either provided new hacks or a customized update to work with existing hacks.

I don't own an iPhone - I have a cingy 8525. I have flashed it to a not-quite-released WM6 firmware. If I want the latest and greatest approved stuff from AT&T, I need to load their software (though it does not appear to affect my unlock status...but it could). If I don't want the updated goodness, I don't update. My DTivo is about 3-4 minor updates behind, and before the last update I was a major upgrade behind. I'm not willing to lose my TiVo hacks for a couple bells and whistles (proper DST...which could be an issue coming up here...and folders).

If the firmware upgrades are "forced", those with hacked phones need to either code a workaround to avoid the updates or just suck it up.

Disagreement from Slashdot's Unofficial Law Dude (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20743767)

The author is no doubt referring to 15 USC 2302(c): "No [company] may condition [a] ... warranty ... on the consumer's using ... an[] article or service ... which is identified by brand ... or corporate name; except ... if the [company can show] that the warranted product will function properly only if the ... service ... is used in connection with the warranted product."

What this literally means is that Apple's warranty cannot say "This warranty is void if you use the iPhone with a company other than AT&T." However, Apple's warranty doesn't say that. It says that the warranty is void if you mess with the firmware. It HAPPENS TO BE that the only way to make it POSSIBLE to use another company's service requires doing something else that will void your warranty, but the warranty terms themselves aren't anti-competitive, the firmware is.

Even if the terms of the warranty did say this, Apple is probably still safe because it wouldn't be hard to argue that the iPhone isn't "function[ing] properly" if Visual Voicemail is broken.

Any case brought under this law would be without merit and would probably be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

I'm thinking it's Apple FUD (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20743881)

...like the printer instruction books that warn you that third-party ink cartridges may damage your machine.

It could even be just what Apple says: they've found that there really is an innocent, unintended incompatibility between their updates and the hack. Certainly, there are perennial conflicts between Apple OS updates and software tweaks like Unsanity's "Haxies," and I don't think Apple is doing it deliberately.

I think Apple is using scare tactics, both to keep AT&T happy and to keep them out of the nightmare scenario of being forced to provide support for hacked iPhones.

I could be wrong, of course, but I'm curious to wait and see whether iPhones actually do get bricked... and whether a smoking-gun memo will emerge--"The job's not complete 'till unlocked phones are dead meat"

Simple question.. (2, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744005)

Ok, if you buy a brand new car with a warranty, and you then perform a bunch of aftermarket mods to it, including modifying the computer, should the manufacturer support it? No. You performed modification to a device which is meant to function in a specific way. You assume whenever you hack something you're voiding your warranty. There are books entitled, "How to have fun while voiding your warranty" about hardware hacks. You're just pissed because you bought a 500$ device, and now you face bricking it because you rushed out of the gate to mod it. You have implemented things from a 3rd party, not apple. Why should apple support things that aren't theirs? It is no longer the device they sold you. Turn to the 3rd party hack vendors to update. Seriously, you can't have the best of both worlds. Get the hell over it. The most important thing is that apple informed you. Imagine if they released the update and said nothing? At least now you can continue using your iphone as is. So really, you haven't lost anything.

not (1)

scolbert (1122737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744109)

Apple is not violating this law. Often people read the article about the law and not the law itself. Apple is not bound to provide warranty coverage on an altered product any more than one would expect a car manufacturer to warranty a car engine if it were altered under its warranty period. This is much to do about nothing, no one will succesfully press this to the point of suit because any reasonable lawyer knows Apple will prevail. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, any fool that "bricks" his iPhone through modifications and then doesn't restore the "factory" firmware before service/etc. deserves what they get.

-
Sammy
iPhone [personafile.com]

What's the Fuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20744127)

Nothing ever goes wrong with Apple products, right? So what do you need a warranty for?

Licence Terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20744195)

Peoples approach to thinking that they actually 'own' an iPhone is wrongheaded. You technically 'own' the nice shiny plastic/metal case, but that's about it. The firmware is licenced to you. You have a licence to use the firmware , for a particular purpose (make and receive calls, use features, etc).

You are NOT licenced to reverse engineer/dissassemble it etc.

Don't like Apple's terms, too bad, should have read the licence agreement.

Enjoy your pricy brick. Apple is not obliged to do anything to fix it.

iCRAPPLE (1)

BSDetector (1056962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744199)

iCRAPPLE

Antitrust law 101 (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20744219)

Duh. Would you like to pay monopoly prices, which are twice as much or more?

In the wild west of free-market capitalism, a few companies dominate most big industries, the way Carlos Slim took over the Mexican phone industry.

In the U.S., this got so bad that we passed antitrust laws to prevent businesses from doing this. IBM used to sell computers, and make you buy the punch cards from them. Those were the most expensive punch cards ever sold. If you bought a Chevrolet, you had to buy GM parts at twice the price.

So because of these abuses, we passed antitrust laws. You can love or hate the free market, but it works a lot better (for everyone except Carlos Slim) with more competition.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>