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Jobs' Next Fight — Dealing With iPhone Hackers 341

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the or-you-could-just-open-it-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With Steve Jobs' recent announcement of his intention to fight off the independent iPhone developers, the question worth asking is: How will Apple try to defeat the hackers: Software updates, or lawsuits? Will Apple risk losing its most frequently (ab)used legal tool, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in order to try and punish the developers of the iPhone unlocking tools? This CNET article explores the legal issues involved in this, which make it perfectly legal to reverse engineer your own iPhone, but illegal to share your circumventing source code with others."
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Jobs' Next Fight — Dealing With iPhone Hackers

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:35PM (#20670027) Homepage

    CNET article explores the legal issues involved in this, which make it perfectly legal to reverse engineer your own iPhone, but illegal to share your circumventing source code with others."

    The iPod is already available in countries without DMCA-style laws.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Apple is an American-based company, Slashdot is an American-based site and, last I heard, the majority of users were in America. Being American-centric makes sense in this case. However, Slashdot also covers other countries, as recently as the last Michael Geist column.
      • I'm European, you insensitive clod!
        • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @05:25PM (#20673813) Homepage
          "Slashdot seems to be very U.S.-centric. Do you have any plans to be more international in your scope?

          Slashdot is U.S.-centric. We readily admit this, and really don't see it as a problem. Slashdot is run by Americans, after all, and the vast majority of our readership is in the U.S. We're certainly not opposed to doing more international stories, but we don't have any formal plans for making that happen. All we can really tell you is that if you're outside the U.S. and you have news, submit it, and if it looks interesting, we'll post it."

          From http://slashdot.org/faq/editorial.shtml#ed850 [slashdot.org]
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Tim Browse (9263)

            Our site is IE-centric. We readily admit this, and really don't see it as a problem. Our site is run by people who use IE, after all, and the vast majority of our readership use IE. We're certainly not opposed to supporting Firefox, but we don't have any formal plans for making that happen. All we can really tell you is that if you're not using IE, and you have Firefox, try using it - maybe it will work.

  • Easy to pay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cez (539085) * <info&historystartingyesterday,com> on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:37PM (#20670061) Homepage
    TFA:


    Other hacks, such as the much hyped iPhone Dev Team's anySIM unlocking tool, or the numerous free-ringtone tutorials that have been floating around the Net, can be more accurately described as a developer-lead attack upon Apple's revenue streams.


    ...ummm no, it means that people in a position too are trying to help others not get screwed by a vendor locked-in product that wants to charge you for a ringtone that you can make yourself. Instead of attacking developers who wish to enlighten a public entranced by Apple, perhaps they shouldn't base a revenue stream on vendor lockin and ripoff ringtones. If you ask me (flame on that noones asking), they should be the ones providing such a ringtone app. They are all about ease of use for the masses... oh wait, I forgot its easier for someone to pay them then do it themselves.

    • by cliffski (65094)
      if you don't like the terms of the product, do not buy it. I don't like all manner of companies, so I do not purchase their products. it's a simple philosophy, but it makes me happy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CRCulver (715279)
        The problem here is that the product itself is desirable, for its features make it competitive, but the company that designed such a fine device is now trying to cripple it. Buy the product and resist the company's attempts to lock the features down. It's a simple philosophy, but it makes me happy.
        • Re:Easy to pay! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @02:05PM (#20671307) Journal

          It's a simple philosophy, but it makes me happy.


          It's not a simple philosophy, it's a stupid philosophy. The better, more logical way to move is not to. If Apple were forced to deal with abysmal sales, then they'd likely respond with the product the way you want it. The message you send to Apple is "Yeah, I hate your tactics, but I'm going to give you money anyways." That's hardly going to fill them with fear.
      • Re:Easy to pay! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:57PM (#20670423)
        The iPhone doesn't have "terms" - it is a physical device, not intellectual property. The hardware can be interesting enough to buy (and useful) all by itself. You own it, not Apple, and they cannot dictate what you do with it.
        • While I agree with you that it doesn't have "terms" in a traditional sense, it most certainly does have "terms" in a manner of speaking; namely, that it is understood to be locked to AT&T in the US. And if you figure out how to unlock it, great. But Apple is under no obligation to keep a particular set of conditions that enable unlocking in future firmware iterations, nor is it guaranteed that an unlocked phone will remain unlocked if, for example, the radio firmware gets updated by Apple and you choose
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            Yeah, I guess "might not be able to use future versions of firmware" doesn't really seem like such a big deal to me. I mean, I've never updated the firmware on a phone that I've owned. I just did a quick Google for my phone (a V360) and it's not even clear that Motorola supports flashing your firmware at all - and I certainly couldn't find an "official" update. In that sense, the hacked iPhone is no less encumbered than any ol' Motorola handset... certainly nothing that would keep me from buying it - though
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by daveschroeder (516195) *
              You're right, of course...but the problem with the iPhone is that it's *easy* to update the firmware, and people will want to do so, because it will fix bugs and add new features, sometimes significant (like the iTunes WiFi Music Store, new apps, etc.) And these firmware updates, especially those that update the radio firmware, could at best re-lock or at worst break the phone, even if Apple doesn't intend that to be the case. And as Apple fixes issues in the software itself which were first used to enable
      • by cez (539085) *
        I agree with that statement and practice it myself. But what if you do like the product and not the "terms" which they try to hold you too. Its like buying a sleek new hybrid sports car and being told you can only put X brand's Y Octane into it. Sure, a lower octane might be bad for the engine, and someone else's high octane might be cheaper... so you use those. But now after plugging in your new hybrid sports car and it gets a firmware update, it won't run on the other brands gass...

        damn, where's BadA

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656)
        if you don't like the terms of the product, do not buy it

        "Terms of a product"? Trying to prevent the owners of a product from using it however they want is no concern of the manufacturer. They can withdraw warranties if they feel justified, the rest is bullshit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Braino420 (896819)
      Interesting. I was under the impression that Steve Jobs thought Apple was a hardware company, if so, why would he care about something that could make him sell more hardware? Oh I see, they lure you in with the hardware and then lock you down with the software!
  • Arr! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:37PM (#20670063) Homepage Journal

    They be takin' on the Jolly Roger. I be thinkin' they be changin' the iPhone to detect meddlin' with their cabal. Add a checksum or something.

    Lawsuits be expensive.

  • iPhone... (Score:4, Informative)

    by headkase (533448) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:38PM (#20670069)
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:44PM (#20670187)
      Yes, it is. (And apparently you didn't read any of the linked articles, because there are a lot more issues here [slashdot.org].)

      But it the manufacturer doesn't have to allow or enable it. If you can figure it out, great. But if they also stop that same unlocking procedure in future software or hardware iterations of the phone, they can.

      And I really don't think Apple will be "relocking" phones...they'll likely just be plugging the holes that allowed them to be unlocked in the first place in future firmware versions. That said, I guess I wouldn't be stunned if some unlocked phones broke, intentionally or otherwise. But all of this has NO BEARING on the DMCA exception. The vendor is under zero obligation to enable unlocking.

      So it's not "too bad for Jobs" at all, unfortunately.
      • by headkase (533448)
        In the great Slashdot tradition you're right I didn't read any of the links - I went with a recollection of the legality fact and a quick google allowed me to make my post quickly. I believe the important thing about the exemption however is that although you must do it yourself, the instructions can be hosted overseas where they do not contravene the DMCA and people in the US can follow the instructions there while remaining within their legal rights in the US.
        Please reply?
        • Sure, if the information and/or tools are out of reach of any US jurisdiction, e.g. overseas, absolutely people can download the tools or follow the instructions to unlock the handset. But your post made it sound like Apple MUST allow unlocking and/or not try to stop it, and they don't have to do anything of the sort.

          The handset manufacturer is under no obligation to keep the same set of conditions whereby a particular tool or set of instructions works to unlock the phone. It can be argued that they also sh
      • by headkase (533448)
        Here's [arstechnica.com] a good article about the iPhone in specific over at ArsTechnica too.
      • Sure they are under no obligation to help you unlock your iPhone, but I would bet that if they unrecoverably brick all the unlocked iPhones with the next software push, that they could be looking at a class action lawsuit.
        • A class action lawsuit for what?

          Updating baseband radio firmware that is expected to be in a predictable state, which ends up unintentionally breaking because it has been hacked in a completely unsupported and unpredictable way by the customer?

          No, I think not. But they can certainly try.

          I think you expect Apple to maliciously brick or re-lock unlocked phones. That may be the end result, but it will likely be for technical or other unforeseen reasons, not intentional.

          (That said, I think Apple will take the p
    • by JoelKatz (46478)
      Even without this rule, it would be legal. Owners of physical devices aren't circumventing anything when they use the devices they own. It's well-settled law that you can't use copyright to cover "magic words" or purely functional mechanisms. See Chamberlain v. Skylink and Lexmark v. Static Controls.

      You can use copyright to protect the actual thing you are copyrighting. But you can't use copyright as a lock out to secure a monopoly. You can't own "every way to make an iPhone work with another wireless compa
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by minginqunt (225413) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:38PM (#20670079) Homepage Journal
    Does Apple truly have much to lose from iPhone hackery?

    The only people this really harms is AT&T, and Jobs has never shown the slightest inclination before towards caring about a business partner getting fucked over. If it suits his needs, he'll probably want Apple to subtly encourage it.

    I would.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Barsteward (969998)
      doesn't Apple get a share of the line charges from A&T?
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by click2005 (921437) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:45PM (#20670217)
      It might just be he has to show hes trying to stop the iphone hacking. Jobs isn't stupid. He knows stopping the hacking will be almost impossible. At least now AT&T cant sue Apple for their not taking action.
    • The only people this really harms is AT&T, and Jobs has never shown the slightest inclination before towards caring about a business partner getting fucked over. If it suits his needs, he'll probably want Apple to subtly encourage it.

      incorrect, as you may remember in previous slashdot postings, Apple makes quite a chunk of cash from their deal with AT&T otherwise it would be beyond foolish to lock the iPhone without some sort of financial incentive. That is, had it not been foolish to crush any a

    • Yes. (Score:5, Informative)

      by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:52PM (#20670337)
      Does Apple truly have much to lose from iPhone hackery?

      Yes. [thestreet.com]

      To say nothing of other intangibles like wanting to guarantee a seamless user experience with iTunes, activation, the carrier partner, etc.
      • No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:30PM (#20670869) Homepage
        If you actually read the link you provided, you will see that Apple gets the same amount of money from AT&T whether or not the phone is unlocked.

        And AT&T doesn't even suffer, they get they subscription fee whether or not the customers use any of their service.

        iPhone unlocking only have winners.
        • Wrong (Score:4, Informative)

          by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:40PM (#20671023)
          While it says, "Apple is getting an unprecedented windfall on the sale of each new iPhone", the implicit assumption using any level of logic is that AT&T pays Apple based on activations, not on Apple simply giving them a report of the number of iPhones sold and AT&T anteing up without question. Further proof that it is based on activated phones on AT&T, and not just sold phones, and that there is an infrastructure to track and support this, is the fact that Apple is also getting a kickback on monthly service fees, to the tune of a rumored 3%/month for existing customers and a whopping 10%/month for new customers.

          Even IF AT&T were just paying Apple for iPhones sold and not activated (which they're not, and which would be utterly stupid), Apple would still lose the monthly fee kickback, and AT&T would likely get very irritated at paying Apple for iPhones not activated on AT&T.

          Your statement about AT&T not suffering in that scenario is remarkable, because they absolutely do not get the service fee if the phone is unlocked and not used on AT&T's network. Now if you're talking about people who ARE AT&T iPhone customers that simply choose to unlock their iPhone, I'd agree with you - to a point. But I'm talking about iPhones unlocked and never activated or used on AT&T, which is going to be an increasing number of iPhones. That's a much bigger market than you think it is.
          • Now if you're talking about people who ARE AT&T iPhone customers that simply choose to unlock their iPhone, I'd agree [that Apple doesn't lose money if the phones are unlocked] - to a point. But I'm talking about iPhones unlocked and never activated or used on AT&T, which is going to be an increasing number of iPhones. That's a much bigger market than you think it is.

            But the question is, if the iPhone couldn't be unlocked:
            a) How many of those phones would have been bought and activated with
  • A few issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:39PM (#20670089)
    For the record, I will be surprised if Apple actively tries to re-lock already-unlocked phones, but I would not be surprised if they try to prevent unlocking in future firmware updates, considering the current unlock mechanism uses an overflow condition that will likely be, well, fixed in future updates (should Apple not fix a potentially exploitable buffer overflow on the iPhone?). Then, someone will find some other exploitable condition to unlock the iPhone, and the game continues.

    Every GSM handset under the sun has been unlocked. The main difference with iPhone is that people are more likely to do regular full firmware updates with the iPhone due to the kind of product it is and the ease of doing so via iTunes, as opposed to other GSM handsets. But I can't see Apple relocking already-unlocked phones.

    That said, while an explicit exemption [arstechnica.com] exists that allows end customers to legally unlock GSM handsets in the US, no such requirement exists for a vendor to allow it, document it, or provide such a capability to the customer (see also "DMCA Exemption Attorney Weighs in on iPhone Unlocking" [ipodobserver.com].

    Further, requirements in various jurisdictions that the carrier provide a means to unlock the handset after the contract term, i.e., after the subsidy is paid, MAY NOT at all apply to the iPhone, since the iPhone is technically unsubsidized. Apple appears to be negotiating backchannel subsidies and unprecedented monthly kickbacks [thestreet.com] from carriers...but the iPhone itself still isn't subsidized under the traditional subsidy model: you can buy an iPhone, walk out, and NEVER activate it, and the phone is yours to keep. However, this may also mean that no carrier is ever obligated to unlock it for you.

    Also, Apple is depending on the expected profits from AT&T kickbacks for AT&T activations...that's how the iPhone price is structured. Now, if you can figure out how to unlock your phone and use it on another carrier, great. But also don't cry if Apple throws roadblocks in the way. You can argue that "it's only good for Apple" if people get to use unlocked iPhones, but that's not your decision to make, unfortunately - it's Apple's. Don't get me wrong: YOU can decide it's good for YOU. But you don't get to decide that it's good for Apple, or anyone else. And with things like seamless activation via iTunes, Visual Voicemail, and all the tight integration that requires enormous amounts of backend cooperation with the carrier partner (think about how iPhone activation works and how it must have been to pull something like that off), is it any surprise Apple wants to keep the iPhone experience with the carrier partner?

    And think of all the other ways iPhone is unique: you get to walk out of the store with it sealed in a box, it can be easily bought as a gift, the customer does activation themselves in the comfort of their own homes with a pleasant interface, and so on.

    So if people can figure out how to unlock the phone, great. But don't expect Apple to not fix actual bugs like buffer overflows in the phone that are coincidentally used to enable unlocking, and don't assume that ANYONE will ever be "required" to unlock iPhones, unless it is simply flat out illegal to have a SIMlocked phone in a particular jurisdiction, in which case Apple would probably elect to skip that market entirely.

    This is a lot like the Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware arguments. People always say it's "better for Apple" or "free advertising for Apple". No. Pirating the OS is not good for Apple. And even if you say "but I'd buy it for $129!" that also doesn't solve it...the $129 price is predicated on the fact that there is Apple hardware that goes along with it. So then you say, "Well, I'd even pay $250 or more! Would that fix it?" No, because part of the Apple experience is the seamless integration and things "just workin
  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:39PM (#20670095) Homepage Journal

    Jobs said, "It's a constant cat and mouse game," according to ComputerWorld's account of the discussion. "We try to stay ahead. People will try to break in, and it's our job to stop them breaking in."

    Mr. Jobs, can you tell us why it's your job to do that? You sell hardware. We are the customer. Is AT&T paying you to keep that exclusivity by all technical means? Oh, wait, I see. We are the consumer, not the customer. See, whenever industry uses the word consumer, it means there's someone else (such as another company) who is actually the customer. "The customer is always right" doesn't apply if we're just sheeple consumers.

    • Correction. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by juuri (7678) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:00PM (#20670493) Homepage
      Mr. Jobs, can you tell us why it's your job to do that? You sell hardware. We are the customer.

      People often get this wrong on Apple, like them or not, they don't sell hardware... or really software (much). Apple sells you a solution, an experience, a total package. Their focus and developments are all based on expected hardware and software components being in a certain order or place to ensure they can provide a specific experience to the end user.

      In this case the contracts with the carriers probably have explicit clauses saying they will fight to combat unlocks in the same way they fix their aac every quarter or so to try and appease the music companies.

      • Re:Correction. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Speare (84249) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:33PM (#20670905) Homepage Journal

        If Ford sells me an "experience" like a Mustang, and I decide to rip out the Ford stock stereo or take off the Ford street tires and replace it with an aftermarket stereo or racing whitewalls, that's my decision, not Ford's. And court precedent bears this out. Apple wants to explain that this is somehow different, but it's not. I'm the customer. I decide what "experience" to have with the product, after they've sold me the goods.

        I'm not arguing their ability to put junk I don't want in there. I'm arguing that unless there's nefarious anti-consumer contracts with carriers, they have no right to "fix my experience" away from the configuration I choose. A patch to re-lock SIMs to a sole vendor is explicitly against the legal and moral arguments that define SIM transferrability. And if they do have those contracts, like Ford with Firestone or Ford with Panasonic, I say this is unconscionable and such contracts should be made void.

    • by Shadowlore (10860)
      It is Apple's job to work against people "breaking in" to their stuff for the same reason it's Microsoft's job to stop people from "breaking in" to their stuff, IBM's job to .... you get the picture.

      So you wanted to give off a rant on "consumerism". Fine. But at least do it on an article that is about consumerism. Of course, the only difference between a consumer and a customer in a business sense is .... well how it is spelled. Jobs spoke of customers and you go off on a rant about consumers. Kinda undermi
    • Again, he was talking about the O2 contract, and this has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH AT&T.
  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:40PM (#20670117)

    Exemptions are allowed for 1) the educational library of a university's media studies department, in order to watch film clips in class; 2) using computer software that requires the original disks or hardware in order to run; 3) dongle-protected computer programs, if the the dongle no longer functions and a replacement cannot be found; 4) protected e-books, in order to use screen-reader software; 5) cell phone firmware that ties a phone to a specific wireless network; and 6) DRM software included on audio CDs, but only when such software creates security vulnerabilities on personal computers.
    This was an exemption introduced last year by the Register of Copyrights. Linky [arstechnica.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by daveschroeder (516195) *
      Doesn't matter.

      If the customer can figure out how to unlock it, great.

      But the vendor is under no obligation to document it or otherwise allow it. It's just that if you figure out how to unlock your handset, it is exempted from DMCA provisions. In no way does this mean that being able to unlock is somehow mandatory or required. Just that it's legal, and only if you can figure it out. Other business profiting from it, services that unlock for you for money, and even free applications that unlock all have ques
  • asswipes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wamerocity (1106155) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:41PM (#20670125) Journal
    I love how companies don't deny your right to fair use, they just put restrictions around the device that make it illegal to even access fair use. That's like saying, "You have the right to free speech, but only at this designated microphone that can be found inside the 4th underground level at Area 51."
    • by jkerman (74317)
      I take it you havent ever seen a "free speech zone" before? That is the state this country is in im sad to say.

      Wear an anti-bush t-shirt to a bush speech someday. youll get a fantastic lesson in the current state of free speech.

      hell, at this point, i WISH we got a microphone
  • by tgatliff (311583) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:44PM (#20670189)
    Lip service. There is very little interest for Apple to stop people modifying their products because their current business model focuses on hardware sales. The problem is, though, if they are not looked upon by their content partners as working very hard to protect their content, then there will not be anything to put on that hardware... So, the end result is a constant stream of weak patches and allot of talk. (The recent iPhone ringtones "patch" is a great example of this) At the end of the day, though, nothing will change...
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:48PM (#20670253)
    Apple does not seem to know who its friends are. People are taking a great hardware design (for which Apple is justifiably famous), and improving its functionality through improved or additional software. Everybody wins!

    Except when some company becomes egomaniacal and starts trying to grab it all for itself. Even Microsoft did not go so far as to actually try to block "independent developers" outright.
    • Even Microsoft did not go so far as to actually try to block "independent developers" outright.

      Have you tried writing an app to run on the Xbox without paying licensing fees/royalties to Microsoft?

      -jcr

    • Cheers! The iPhone has a beautiful UI and is a really neat piece of hardware. But a lot of functionality (IM, decent SMS client able to even save drafts or SMS multiple people, etc, so forth) is missing out of the box. The iPhone is a beta device, still, and 3rd party developers increase Apple's development team about tenfold. Apple should leap for joy and even offer to buy some third-party applications rather than complaining.

      Note that I'm not talking about SIM unlocking, which is a seperate issue.

    • Unlock != Jailbreak. TFA focuses specifically on the applications being developed that *unlock* the phone - i.e. allow SIMs from other telephone service providers to work in the iPhone - the process to do this exploits a buffer overflow vulnerability in the software, which, IIRC is not required to install custom software on the phone. I don't think Jobs has any problem with developers creating their own third party applications for the phone, but he (quite reasonably) doesn't want to a) advertise that par
      • The articles referenced are about unlocking the phone, but the posting specifically mentions "third party developers". Only a small fraction of those are working on GSM unlocks!

        A friend of mine last month showed me his iPhone running programs written in Ruby. The "hack" that was necessary to allow this was done of course by third party developers.

        I agree that unlocking the phone and writing extra apps for it can be considered two different things. But that is what the posting implied.
  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:48PM (#20670265) Homepage
    I think Mr. Jobs is required to say things like this. How would it look to his big (and only) US carrier partner locked in for 5 years or whatever it is, if he said "We condone the hackers and their unlocking software". What they actually do about it will really tell the story, and that's a wait and see game, so no use speculating.
    • by Xtravar (725372)
      Not to mention, if they condone the hackers then they are obligated to support the iPhone under such hacked circumstances, etc.

      This is actually a great business strategy.
      1. Release a locked device that's pretty cool, but not TOO flexible
      2. People unlock it to do fun things
      3. Consequentailly, their warranties are voided... boo hoo :'(
  • by Falcon_Delta00 (1156119) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:52PM (#20670339)
    Ultimately, if there is enough motivation in the tech community to hack products then they will be hacked. Look at the RIAA and music files, P2P file sharing and hacking is prolific even after years of intense legal battles. But let's look at what's happening here. Not all hacking is for evil and malicious ends, often times hacking products or developing new programs for them is a way to improve a product. If there is enough interest to crack the iphone and generate a lot of 3rd party apps, then maybe apple isn't doing enough to deliver a product that consumers really want. Finally, look at a company like Sony. They were very draconian about DRM, proprietary formats, and not letting their devices be tweaked and they've had a lot of lost market share and failed products. Does anyone remember the MiniDisc player? Letting the community be involved in a product, whether through 3rd party apps etc. helps generate users, as well as keeps people interested in the product.
  • if the unlocked iPhone can work with ANY carrier, doesn't that mean that other carriers besides Ma Bell will be interested in your products? If someone can explain this to me, I'd be grateful.

    (Interesting note: The captcha for this post is "perish". Are you sure these captchas aren't generated with an AI or something?)
  • by chowhound (136628) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:55PM (#20670381) Homepage
    I believe that statement was for the benefit of AT&T and future partners. The fact of the matter is that since June 30th, Apple has released only two updates to the iPhone software. Is this the action of a company desperate to keep people out? Jobs is not concerned with hackers playing around with iPhones. Presumably they bought them, Apple got paid.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      . The fact of the matter is that since June 30th, Apple has released only two updates to the iPhone software. Is this the action of a company desperate to keep people out? Jobs is not concerned with hackers playing around with iPhones.

      Put a strong lock on the front door to appease your wife (AT&T) and keep the back porch door unlocked so that your friends can come in, drink, and play cards late at night. This strategy has been going on since time immemorial and kudos to Apple for making the iPhone ea

    • by kuzb (724081)
      Microsoft: We're going to actively persue hackers who mod the XBox 360 to play game backups Slashdot Reaction: They are hellspawn demons from the 5th level of hell. Microsoft should be punished. Apple: We're going to actively persue hackers who unlock iPhones Slashdot Reaction: Steve would never do this to us! He's saying it because he has to! ... Wake ... up. Steve is not your friend. He's not someone who has your best interests at heart. He's not a philanthropic man with a vision of peace and harmo
    • The posting talks about "Steve Jobs' recent announcement of his intention to fight off the independent iPhone developers..."

      This is incorrect. Jobs only said they have to fight the unlock. The actual quote [crunchgear.com] of what he said is,

      Q: What are you going to do about iPhone unlocking?

      Steve: This is a constant cat and mouse game. We play it on iPods with DRM. We promised music companies to stay ahead of this problem. We try to stay a step ahead. It's going to be the same way here with the iPhone. It's our job to keep them from breaking in. That's job security.

      In fact, last week Greg Joswiak, a high level marketing guy at Apple, said that Apple would neither forbid nor support native code on the iPhone/Touch [gearlog.com]. (He initially said something a bit more positive, but later corrected it since he thought people would read too much into it).

  • Remember when all the fanboys were soapboxing that the iPhone was going to revolutionize the cell phone market and make it more open? Misinterpreting the fact that the phone wasn't going to be subsidized by AT&T as a sign that there would be no carrier lock-in? Those cynics among us - which oddly were in the minority - predicted that no subsidy meant you're simply paying more for a device that STILL requires a two-year contract, and that Apple's attitude toward developers and users was going to be exac
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @02:39PM (#20671715) Journal
      Well, your comment shows you're on the OTHER extreme from "fanboyism" ....

      In reality, I think the iPhone *is* going to revolutionize the cellphone market. To say otherwise takes some rather close-minded thinking.

      Visual voicemail, for example, is a great enhancement to the tired "call in to pick up your saved messages" strategy everyone has been using since day 1. It wouldn't surprise me at all if AT&T starts making use of it on other new phones, and eventually, other carriers offer something similar as well to compete.

      It also raises the bar on browser usability. Safari on the iPhone is quite simply the BEST mobile web experience out there on a phone. This is bound to spur on others to improve their built-in browsers too.

      It's certainly an easier set-up experience than any carrier has ever given people before! Just buy a phone, take it home and let it sit around as long as you like. When you're ready to activate service, port an existing number over, etc. - you just click the options inside iTunes and do it yourself. No pushy salesperson to wait in line to speak with. No big "credit check" paperwork to fill out first and turn in to said pushy salesperson. No hassles with being "upsold" on accessories for your phone you didn't really want.

      Apple's "lock-in" with AT&T reminds me a lot of their buddying-up to the recording industry in order to get the iTunes music store launched. Sometimes, you're just shooting for something that's too big to accomplish completely on your own. (Apple was in no position to sign up hundreds of thousands of good artists on their own record label, just so they could then put that content THEY owned onto an online music store.) By the same token, they were in no position to build out their OWN cellular infrastructure, just to launch their new phone. So you have to dig into all the "red tape" and politics of joining an established partner - and hope you can create change one little piece at a time.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @12:59PM (#20670463)

    How will Apple try to defeat the hackers?
    "We take off and nuke them from orbit; it's the only way to be sure."
  • I have always wondered why there are so many FOSS advocates who put up with Apple's DRM'd little empire. Somehow, if Apple does the same thing that Microsoft does, Apple gets a pass, but why? And perhaps, more important, what can the FOSS community do to move Apple in a more Free and open source direction.

    Are people really happy with Apple's contributions to BSD and Konqueror code?

    If people are willing to put up with lock down just because Apple products are slick, I have to ask, are Apple products real
  • by /.Rooster (54989) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:03PM (#20670541)
    ... To say roll on OpenMoko http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Main_Page [openmoko.org]

    I know which way I will go and Jobs can stick his iTunes et al. Free your phone!! What more is there to say :)
  • They do this to their own detriment (if true). Look at the way Microsoft rose to power: coddling developers. Don't fight off fans of your hardware (ie the true hackers)--embrace them. More unlocked iPhones == more sold iPhones. I'm sure not switching to AT&T for some iPhone device. *shrug*

    Let them do it. Watch their market share.
  • I don't see how the the DMCA is useful to Apple here. Nothing they may have copyrighted is being copied. Quite the contrary. So, not even the anticircumvention elements of the DMCA should be relevant. About the only thing that looks likely to be a useful legal took is contract law.

  • the hackers are made to be the bad guys when it's apple and AT&T who are engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. Clearly the iPhone has no technological reason to be locked to AT&T, and even if it were, why shouldn't they be allowed to modify their own damn phone.

    This is like blaming the victim when they don't pay protection money. "Your store wouldn't have gotten broken into, if you had just paid them off!"

  • by venicebeach (702856) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:17PM (#20670729) Homepage Journal
    Yes, Apple has officially made their position against unlocking hacks. (Is this a surprise to anyone?). But on a happier note, they have taken a "neutral" stance towards third-party applications. From an interview with Apple's Greg Joswiak [gearlog.com]:

    He said Apple doesn't oppose native application development, which was new to me. Rather, Apple takes a neutral stance - they're not going to stop anyone from writing apps, and they're not going to maliciously design software updates to break the native apps, but they're not going to care if their software updates accidentally break the native apps either. He very carefully left the door open to a further change in this policy, too, saying that Apple is always re-examining its perspective on these sorts of things.

    At the UK iPhone launch Steve basically reiterated this stance: [appleinsider.com]

    Meanwhile, Jobs acknowledged that third-party developers have started to produce several intriguing, yet unofficial iPhone applications. He said Apple is looking at some of them closely, especially those that don't require a connection to the Internet. It's likely that those applications would be the first of any to receive an official endorsement from Apple, according to Jobs' comments, as those that require Internet access could threaten the 'high standard' of experience customers have come to expect with the iPhone.

  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:19PM (#20670747) Homepage Journal

    Oh, wait - it's not locked in the first place. It does everything the iPhone does, except calls, and cost $300 less. Actually, it does more - I can run whatever code I please, and even write my own programs on the Palm. iPhone owners share the dubious distinction of owning a computer they aren't legally allowed to program.

    I'd like to own an iPhone. Honestly, I would. But, though I can pay for the phone, only AT&T can own it. Jobs, Apple, and AT&T want it that way, and if you've paid for an iPhone, you've essentially told them that they can have your cake and eat it too.

    The very thing which makes the computer such an enabling device is that it can be reprogrammed to perform almost any task. Unlike the single function devices of the past - such as a calculator, which performs at most one function - a computer is a totally open piece of hardware. The task which it can be programmed to do are limited only by the ingenuity and creativity of the programmer/user.

    Until now. With the advent of cellphones, especially locked ones, we are seeing a new trend in computers. Rather than expanding the functionality of computers, they seek to limit it, in order to serve the greed of Corporate America. A device which formerly could be repurposed for any task the owner thought fit is now restricted to performing only the functions which make the manufacturer money. Consumer benefit beyond the original purpose of the device is explicitly and legally forbidden.

    And here ends the computer revolution. A formerly beautiful piece of machinery, capable of solving almost any problem, is reduced to serving the utilitarian greed of corporations, in effect, an intellectual slave of the willfully ignorant.

    How long before the same happens to the PC? When a PC can only be bought in conjunction with an internet service, and users are legally prevented from installing their own software?

    I hope those who buy the iPhone are prepared to deal with a future in which everything they possess is owned and licensed by a corporation. Because they're paving the way for the increased use of restricted, defective by design, hardware.

    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @01:43PM (#20671055)

      It does everything the iPhone does, except calls

      Oh yeah, that's like, totally a secondary feature anyway, I'm certainly not missing it. Who uses the iPhone as a phone?

      I'd like to own an iPhone. Honestly, I would. But, though I can pay for the phone, only AT&T can own it. Jobs, Apple, and AT&T want it that way, and if you've paid for an iPhone, you've essentially told them that they can have your cake and eat it too.

      Funny, as a Canadian I've never paid a penny to AT&T, and my iPhone works fine. While I would like a factory unlocked phone as much as the next guy, there are plenty of ways for us technically adept people to have OUR cake and eat it too.

      The task which it can be programmed to do are limited only by the ingenuity and creativity of the programmer/user.

      You're right. In fact this morning the beta for a cell-tower-triangulation tool that integrates with Google Maps just came out. iPhone development is chugging right along, and many tools are already very mature and usable.

      Consumer benefit beyond the original purpose of the device is explicitly and legally forbidden.

      FUD. I have every legal right in both the US and Canada to unlock my phone and install whatever the hell I want on it. Apple may not like it, and may even do pitifully ineffectual things to stop me, but the law is on MY side.

      I hope those who buy the iPhone are prepared to deal with a future in which everything they possess is owned and licensed by a corporation.

      What part of ownership do you not understand? Neither AT&T nor Apple own my iPhone, I do, in EVERY sense of the law. Apple has chosen to cripple the device, I have chosen to un-cripple it. They don't own anything of mine.

  • Jobs said:

    People will try to break in, and it's our job to stop them breaking in.
    Oops, a speak-o. Let me fix that for you:

    People will try to break out, and it's our job to stop them breaking out.
    There we go. Hope This Helps.
  • If ever jobs/apple goes on to these people, the publicity and reputation they will be losing is going to be phenomenonal. No amount of money can buy that much publicity back in short notice. Id advise against it.

    choose the IBM way. Do what they did with IBM PC. Support 3rd party developers. If you go that way, in 10 years time youll see that ipod "compatibles" becomes the dominant standard in mobile devices.
  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stu Charlton (1311) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @03:53PM (#20672587) Homepage
    Both Steve Jobs [appleinsider.com] and Greg Joswiak [macrumors.com] have indicated they have a "neutral" stance on 3rd party hacking that's related to native application development. The area they have problems with is SIM unlocking.

    I'm Canadian, I've been paying AT&T for a while (they make it a PITA too when you don't have a U.S. credit card). I don't have an issue paying AT&T money given how crappy our data plans are in Canada so far anyway.

    Now, I've unlocked my phone, and am even happier. Sure, I'll be disappointed when future modem firmware updates break the unlock, but frankly, I expect it. There are no guarantees with hacking. But I also expect the hackers to overcome new firmware changes within a matter of days, unless there is a major software change to the way the iPhone firmware works (not likely).

  • by kiwioddBall (646813) on Wednesday September 19, 2007 @08:18PM (#20675751) Homepage
    Steve Jobs is not fighting off independant iPhone Developers, indeed Apple has specifically said that they are not going to deliberately fight them off. What Apple may fight off is the illegal distribution of unlocking tools.

    There should be a very broad distinction drawn between folks writing productive applications for the iPhone, and folks trying to ruin this by deliberately trying to circumvent the protection measures in the phone.

    Do not group these two separate activities together.

    Lastly, the posting of articles like this to the Slashdot front page written by Anonymous Cowards should be banned. Be prepared to stand up personally to your article. Real Journalists do this.

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