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September 24, 2007

Apple Patch Said to Cripple Unlocked iPhones

Apple and AT&T have responded to the efforts to unlock the iPhone and liberate it from the AT&T network.  Apple plans to issue a software update that ads a WiFi link to song purchases at the iTunes store.  Apple warns that the update will irreparably wreck an unlocked iPhone.  No warranty service will protect customers if this happens.  AT&T will not service any unlocked phones no matter what the circumstances.  Unlocking an iPhone violates the warranty as far as both companies are concerned.

The Apple approach is the same strategy the company follows when someone successfully breaches its DRM system for music files.  That goes back and forth, though.  A breach occurs, Apple patches the software to eliminate the breach, and someone finds a way to get around that, and so on.  AT&T on the other hand has a slightly different problem.  They may not service an unlocked phone, but they still don't get the benefit of the 2 year contract they would have had if the customer had activated the phone.  Apple still gets the hardware sale no matter what.

More in CNN Money, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal.

September 24, 2007 | Permalink

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