Apple renders unlocked iPhones useless

Don’t say they didn’t warn you. A week ago, Apple released a statement saying that the newest iPhone security update, to be released this past Thursday, might make hacked iPhones completely inoperable. A $600 (or $400, whatever) paperweight, in other words. In one sense, this makes sense: Apple has a relationship with AT&T to protect, and nothing upsets cell carriers more than unlocked phones. In another sense, it was, well, nonsensical. Unlockers were and are fully within their rights to do so, so why would Apple punish them for a perfectly legal act? In short, because they can. There is nothing prohibiting Apple or any company from deterring people from unlocking phones. So not only aren’t we surprised at this, but we expect similar updates to do the same thing in the future. Tech blog Machinist riffs on why this is still ridiculous, legal or not:

It’s only in the cellphone business that anyone would tolerate such behavior. If a company tried this in any other industry, people would howl to the heavens. Imagine the outrage if Apple or Microsoft sold desktop PCs that allowed you to connect to the Internet only through Comcast — and then, if you tried to use Earthlink instead, the company would shut down your machine. Or what if Ford allowed you to drive your new Explorer only to Wal-Mart to buy your groceries; if you went instead to Whole Foods, a company official would come by and slash your tires.
This once again proves that the iPhone is far more trouble than it’s worth. Yes, it’s a neat gadget that lives up to the hype — in theory. In practice, it seems to be a headache, what with the slow EDGE network, the complete lock-down to AT&T, the price reduction, and the bricking by Apple. The worst is that AT&T is refusing to give customers unlock codes for the iPhone. This is supposed to be provided by carriers to customers in good standing for a certain period of time. But AT&T wants no part of it, and is basically daring you to complain to the FCC. We’re sorry if you have a brick of a phone now. Hopefully the people at the Apple store can help you out. There are reports that, despite the warning that unlocking your iPhone voids the warranty, some Apple stores are fixing these iBricks. [Machinist] ]]>