Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Businesses Wireless Networking Apple Hardware

Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Locking? 533

Posted by kdawson
from the brick-my-device-at-your-peril dept.
An anonymous reader writes "InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe reports that some iPhone users are mad as heck at Apple for bricking up their device in response to non-Apple-authorized software downloads. In a discussion thread on Apple's own iPhone forum, one user posts that he's 'Seeking respondents for possible class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. relating to refusal to service iPhones and related accessories under warranty.' Some who have replied to the post agree that Apple is being unbelievably arrogant and is ripe for legal action. But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device." Apple seems to have removed the cited post, but it is reproduced as screenshots in the article.

Update: 10/02 02:42 GMT by KD : Reader Cleverboy wrote in to note that the screenshots present in the article are of a posting on Macosrumors, not Apple's forum, and to question the conclusion that Apple removed any posting. The article has been updated since this story went live to make clear that the original posting by user "myndex" was on the Apple forum and was (apparently) removed by Apple; and that the screenshot is of a mirror post myndex made to Macosrumors.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Locking?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:35PM (#20805071)
    can be found here [blogspot.com] ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by benburned (1091769)
      Steve Jobs- About Me "I love beautiful objects. I love creating them. Negative people upset me." lol
      • by exploder (196936) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:18PM (#20805427) Homepage
        Steve Jobs: "Oh, shit, someone on a discussion forum is threatening a lawsuit? I give up!"
      • by IdleTime (561841)
        The class action law suite should be thrown out, every Apple customer know that this is what Apple does. Apple is no better than MS, in fact, in many areas they are worse then MS.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
          So this is what you're saying...

          1. A bunch of people figure that Apple did something illegal.
          2. We should all recognize that Apple is going to do stuff like this, just like MS
          3. ???
          4. Profit?

          Seriously, whether or not 'this is what Apple does' is completely and totally irrelevant to whether the Class Action Lawsuit should go through, in fact you couldn't get more irrelevant if you tried (well I guess you could mention Vista, and a Beowolf cluster of bricked IPhones...but you might still be more relevant)
          • by LKM (227954) on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:08AM (#20807887) Homepage
            What part of what Apple did was illegal?

            1) People change their OS in a way not expected by Apple
            2) Apple does not take these changes into account when writing update
            3) Apple tells people with changes to not install update in case something goes wrong
            4) Users install update anyway
            5) Update on changed phone leads to unexpected results such as calls no longer working
            6) Apple fixes said results, but old hack is not possible anymore

            What part is illegal?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Planesdragon (210349)

          The class action law suite should be thrown out, every Apple customer know that this is what Apple does. Apple is no better than MS, in fact, in many areas they are worse then MS.

          1: A law suite? As in, a bunch of lawyers working in a group of connected rooms, like in a hotel? Yeah, that's kind of creepy. Better disbar the lot of them. (It's "lawsuit", one word.)

          2: This is above and beyond Apple's previous behavior, and even if it weren't it may very well violate interoperability laws. An iPhone isn't a standalone device like an iPod or a PSP -- it's a part of a fairly regulated network, and the FCC has some fairly specific rules as to what they can and can't do on a cell phone

    • Mad as heck (Score:3, Funny)

      by jolyonr (560227)
      Well, if people are only as mad as "heck" then it shouldn't be a big worry for Jobs. Once they get as "mad as hell" perhaps he'll change his mind.

      Seriously, any blogger who can't use the word 'hell' in their blog and feels obliged to tone it down loses serious respectpoints from me.

      Jolyon
  • Bad move apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:35PM (#20805075)
    The problem here isn't just that you're pissing off people by bricking their phones. The problem is you are locking down a device that would otherwise be a killer development platform.

    Remember how you lost the OS war to Microsoft? Its because Windows had more apps, and it didn't matter that it sucked.

    The iPhone's is a fine phone, but its UI and hardware are well suited for all kinds of other apps that will drive sales way beyond just the smart phone market: games, vertical business apps, voip, home controller, etc. It's not just an mp3 player. If you need to rework the AT&T deal just do it, because the platform play is a much bigger opportunity.

    Please just open it up already.

    Sincerely,
        Apple shareholder
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 (1148909)
      Totally agreed. I would have bought an iPhone if I could make applications for it/use it on any network without fear of voiding the warranty or Apple bricking it. Apple has always been a company that goes in cycles, they come up with a great product (the apple 2) then make bad decisions (Apple 3 and Lisa) then make a good one (Mac) then go back to bad ones (firing Jobs) then a good one (acquiring NEXTSTEP and making OSX) But now they are back to a series of bad decisions and its going to hurt Apple. If I bu
      • Re:Bad move apple (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jasen666 (88727) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:16PM (#20805775)
        The Lisa was not a bad move. It was one of the first GUI based systems available, and helped shape things to come. Its major problem lay in the fact that the damn thing cost too much.
        And to be honest, acquiring NextStep back when they did was a failure. NextOS and those cubes, as cool as they were, pretty much tanked. It took them a decade to actually start using a derivation of that OS commercially again (the original OS X Server), and a few more years after that before it was truly ready as a desktop/workstation environment.
        • Re:Bad move apple (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:50AM (#20807037) Homepage

          And to be honest, acquiring NextStep back when they did was a failure. NextOS and those cubes, as cool as they were, pretty much tanked. It took them a decade to actually start using a derivation of that OS commercially again (the original OS X Server), and a few more years after that before it was truly ready as a desktop/workstation environment.
          Apple acquired NeXT in 1996, and Mac OS X Server 1.0 [wikipedia.org] was released three years later, not ten. The consumer version of Mac OS X 10.0 [wikipedia.org] was released in 2001. The big mistake Apple made was in not anticipating the need for Carbon; they expected all application developers to rewrite their apps in Cocoa. Adobe's rejection of Cocoa was the main thing that forced Apple to create Carbon, and doing so is the reason Mac OS X took so long to get out the door, but it was definitely worth it - Mac OS X would have flopped without native apps.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cthellis (733202)
          Yes, yes... a horrible idea. After all, they had such amazing OS prospects in house previous to the NeXT acquisition, and building enhancements based on BeOS would have been much more viable.

          ...

          o_O

          Just about anyone trying to enter the OS business with any real commercial viability has failed, because... well... the deck was kind of stacked, eh? NeXT had some real "holy crap!" technology that they were delivering--and had been delivering for years what other OS'es were promising and NOT delivering
    • by davetd02 (212006) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:49PM (#20805201)
      It seems the problem is easy. It's legal to unlock a phone. But once you've modified the phone to do that, it becomes your problem. Don't install the new firmware. There are plenty of owners that stayed with 1.0.2 and had no problem. Apple doesn't secretly go around bricking phones -- they offer a new software update that's compatible with their operating system, not whatever modifications users made to it.

      If I completely wiped the OS and then tried to install the firmware upgrade I'd be shocked if it _didn't_ brick. Once I've made the software my own, it becomes my problem to support it. The easiest way would be to just not install new firmware upgrades (or at least wait until there are new unlocks available).

      It'd be nice if they had a "bring in your brick" program whereby they re-flashed phones that had been bricked, but I'm not convinced it's a legal requirement.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:04PM (#20805319)

        It's legal to unlock a phone. But once you've modified the phone to do that, it becomes your problem. Don't install the new firmware.
        I'm pretty much in agreement. Except for one unanswered question - is the bricking intentional or really and truly a side-effect? If it is intentional, then I'd says Apple is due a class action lawsuit. However, proving it may be very difficult.
        • steve jobs has gone on record calling it a "cat and mouse game" if that doesn't dispel reasonable doubt about intent, i don't know what does
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z00L00K (682162)
          It is obvious that allow a phone to be bricked by the update is intentional - this doesn't mean that it was designed to be intentional.

          A good design would be to let the software do some "self-healing" if a checksum didn't match so that the phone wasn't bricked. By not allowing for that it is effectively the same thing as saying that "We do brick your phone on purpose if you don't use it as we want.". The problem here is that they don't own the device - the consumer does - and by not allowing the consumer

          • by senatorpjt (709879) on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:56AM (#20808953)
            I think you might be able to make an argument about the warnings given by Apple before the update was even released. They released the update, knowing that it would destroy a large number of phones, and they have admitted knowing before the fact in public.

            It's like if Microsoft released a security update to Windows that would corrupt the BIOS if Firefox was installed. If it just happened, it might be chalked up to a mistake, but if Microsoft released a statement saying "If you have Firefox installed, this update will corrupt your BIOS," before releasing the update, then it looks a lot shadier. And, being a security update, it's harder to say "If you don't want the new features just don't update."
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tgibbs (83782)

              I think you might be able to make an argument about the warnings given by Apple before the update was even released. They released the update, knowing that it would destroy a large number of phones, and they have admitted knowing before the fact in public.

              It seems to me that they took action--by publicizing the problem, and including a prominent notice warning owners of modified phones not to install the update--to prevent the owners from destroying their phones by installing the update.

      • by adona1 (1078711) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:55PM (#20805659)
        One of the more intelligent things I've seen pertaining to this....and it's not hard to understand either.

        You buy an iPhone, you can do what you want with it. Apple might not like it and maybe has T&Cs forbidding it, but for all intents and purposes, if you want to unlock it, you can. This software update is optional, and by now everyone with an unlocked phone knows that if they want to keep it that way they shouldn't install the update. Those who have are a little screwed, but a workaround will be developed shortly, so they'll get their phones back.

        If Apple had released the firmware as a 'stealth update' a la MS - uploading it to your iPhone when you got your email, for example - then yes, the cries of "Evil!" would be justified. But they didn't. Don't download it if your phone is unlocked. End of story.
    • by Lane.exe (672783)
      This may be the first intelligent response to this issue I've seen.

      Your gripe is that Apple made a bad business decision by not opening up the platform. That is valid. What I am tired of seeing is people complaining that Apple won't support their unauthorized hard- software hacks. There is no legal basis that these customers might rely on to compel Apple not to produce firmware updates that will not work with these hacks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)

      The iPhone's is a fine phone, but its UI and hardware are well suited for all kinds of other apps that will drive sales way beyond just the smart phone market: games, vertical business apps, voip, home controller, etc. It's not just an mp3 player. If you need to rework the AT&T deal just do it, because the platform play is a much bigger opportunity.

      And there is the exact issue for Apple. Clearly they want a cut of the profit from anything designed to run on iPhone, i.e. Apple approved third party apps.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)
      To be fair, when I bought my Mustang, Ford forced me to only play the CDs and MP3s that they want me to listen to in my audio system, said I could only drive on their pre-approved list of highways, interstates and streets, said I could only buy gas at certain approved gas stations, welded my battery into the chassis frame and forbid me from using third-party shifter knobs, kits or non-approved cleaning products. Then, when I took my car into the Ford service center for it's regular check, they took the keys
      • Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smurfsurf (892933) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:48PM (#20805613)
        For your analogy to be valid there need to be a "if unauthorized software present then brick the phone" routine in Apples update. Is that your claim? What is it based on?

        A better car analogy would be: You buy your car, go to a tuning shop for some chip tuning. When you get back to your dealer for the next inspection, he fries the motor electronic because your custom chip does not play well with the dealer's diagnosis instrument.

        You can't start blaming the dealer for that, now can you?
    • Re:Bad move apple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:59PM (#20805683)

      way beyond just the smart phone market: games, vertical business apps, voip, home controller, etc

      I hate to break it to you, but those apps are all part of the smartphone market.
      But in any case, it seems to me that Apple is going "way beyond just the smart phone market" in an entirely different fashion that you're advocating.

      Apple is pursuing a less-is-more strategy here imho...
      Geeks online have flame wars about weather of not the iPhone is a "real smartphone", with the implied presumption that smartphone status is, or ought to be, a goal Apple is trying to achieve. On the contrary, I suspect that Apple is actively trying to avoid having people perceive the iPhone as a smartphone. Smartphones are either toys for geeks or corporate tethers keeping us chained to work; the iPhone is targeted at the mainstream consumer, not a corporate IT department or the individual geeks working in it.

      Apple doesn't want to compete in the "smartphone space", it wants to invent the "iPhone space" and grow it by consuming the mainstream featurephone (and, almost coincidentally, smartphone) markets.

      I suspect that Apple will eventually allow some form of native apps for the iPhone, just as they eventually added a bunch of random functionality to the iPod (photos, notes, calendar, video, games, stopwatch, etc...). However, it seems to me that they find it essential to their strategy that the iPhone be initially perceived as a simple, easily understandable, and rock solid device (like an iPod that can make calls, rather than like a complicated programmable smartphone).

      Personally, as a programmer and potential customer, I was mad as hell when I heard that the iPhone wouldn't let me write my own native apps; I was overflowing with ideas for that gadget the instant Steve started mentioning all of it's sensors in it's introductory keynote.
      But if I were speaking as a shareholder, as you claim to be, I would be hesitant to criticize Apple's initial direction for the iPhone here. While their strategy has yet to prove itself in the cell phone space, and replicating the iPod's crushing success in the semi-mature cellphone market is a very tall order indeed, I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if "no user apps, less features than an N95, lame" is 2009's version of "no wireless, less space than a Nomad, lame."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by king-manic (409855)
        Apple is pursuing a less-is-more strategy here imho...
        Geeks online have flame wars about weather of not the iPhone is a "real smartphone", with the implied presumption that smartphone status is, or ought to be, a goal Apple is trying to achieve. On the contrary, I suspect that Apple is actively trying to avoid having people perceive the iPhone as a smartphone. Smartphones are either toys for geeks or corporate tethers keeping us chained to work; the iPhone is targeted at the mainstream consumer, not a corpo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Remember how you lost the OS war to Microsoft? Its because Windows had more apps, and it didn't matter that it sucked.

      This has been Apple's Achilles heel since the introduction of the Mac. The old Apple II was a wonderfully open system and was phenomenally successful for it. Macintosh changed that philosophy and they've been repeating the same mistake, and failing for it, ever since. Woz has been openly critical of Apple's closed systems for a long time and rightly so. Apple just doesn't get it anymore. The

  • Apple's device? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codemachine (245871) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:36PM (#20805083)

    But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device.


    Wouldn't the phone belong to the person who bought it, not Apple?

    It'll be interesting to see what happens here, since it isn't uncommon for companies to refuse warranty for "unauthorized" use.
    • Herein lies the crux. I believe Apple is well within their bounds to refuse warranty on modded iPhones, however they should not be deliberately breaking them. Insert stupid analogy here.

      Unfortunatly, I'm not familiar enough with the relevant U.S. Code or the iPhone warranty to make any judgment on how far their reach goes. I'd imagine this would be an interesting read.
    • by darkonc (47285)
      "Unauthorized use" might be things like taking your sports care racing on dirt roads. This isn't unauthorized use. This is apple willfully inducing flaws into their machine so that it breaks. People have already installed this software, and now apple is making these -- perfectly functional machines 'spuriously' break. That's not my fault. It's Apples, and they're bound to fix it.
      • by davetd02 (212006)
        At least one of the earlier unlocks required re-soldering [wired.com] inside the phone. That's not like taking your sports car racing on dirt roads, that's like adding a NOS system and asking for warranty support when the engine overheats.

        I agree the argument doesn't apply to the software unlocks, but the hardware ones meet your analogy.

        "Unauthorized use" might be things like taking your sports care racing on dirt roads.
    • > Wouldn't the phone belong to the person who bought it, not Apple?

      If it were any other vendor Slashdot would be in 100% agreement that Apple doesn't 'own' the product once it is bought, in fact they would be venting almost as much fury at /. for posting such drivel since the way it is posted isn't attacking such a notion as stupid. But since it IS Apple we are talking about and so many here live fully inside the Reality Distortion Field you get Slashdot editors leaving otherwise insane sentences like t
      • I'm betting few people take you as seriously as you'd like. Perhaps you should avoid using phrases like "Listen up you primitive screwheads" when you're leading into a point you want people to accept.
        • Explaining jokes.... (Score:3, Informative)

          by jmorris42 (1458) *
          I guess we have a slashdot user who has not watched Army of Darkness enough times. Sad. :)

          But seriously, just watch how His Steveness reacts to a little market dominance. Macs are a footnote in the PC world so being overtly Evil would just be suicide, thus Macs aren't infused with much Evil. But look at the iPod and now iPhone game, where Apple feels itself to be dominant. All of teh new iPods are infested with DRM from the bootloader on, no RockBox or iPod Linux on any of the newer hardware. The iPhon
      • As I see it, this is suing for the wrong thing. You bought a device, did two unauthorized modifications (used a different SIM and hacked the software), then are mad that a software update for an unmodified device caused you problems. This is your fault. You should have seen this coming a mile away, whether intentional on Apple's part or not.

        "I replaced the tires on my Ford Escort with big tracks, and when I installed the free hubcaps they sent me it caused the tracks to lock up and destroy themselves. Damn

    • It'll be interesting to see what happens here, since it isn't uncommon for companies to refuse warranty for "unauthorized" use.

      How about warranty for stuff Apple broke trying to lock down other people's iPhones [slashdot.org]? iPhone is a beautiful device, crippled by non free software and ATT. One is bad enough but the combination is unworkable and unbearable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)
      Bill Gates has done a LOT to screw up the world of hardware and software.

      Before Gates, software was not a "product." It was something that helped to make hardware useful. People created it, shared it, ported it and everything that OSS is attempting to recapture. The "product" was the hardware. And sure, hardware makers paid software writers to make stuff for their hardware, but the idea of selling the software to the USER as a product I blame on Bill Gates and the problems that come from that continue o
  • Users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:38PM (#20805107)
    It is true that Apple are in their right to release the device under the license they want. The problem is in the user. How in hell do you want to buy a device with is locked to a single carrier, and more, whith a solded battery (we are talking about a PHONE here!), and wich is imo (and in other's opinions) overpriced, and not even the "best" in their class? Just because it has a rotten apple drawn in it's surface? Well, the buyers **are** the stupid part here. Hell, I don't even own an Ipod because it's not good enough for me. Having the Apple in the white shining surface may make you cool in the eyes of the teenagers, but doesn't mean a thing for me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by King_TJ (85913)
      I know you're trolling here, but I'm going to bite anyway.

      The REAL problem here is AT&T, plain and simple.

      Everybody whining about the iPhone being locked to them as the only carrier (and Apple's subsequent attempts to enforce this) were pretty much requirements for Apple to successfully launch this phone in the first place. If they had an unlimited budget, I'm sure Apple would have just started their own cellular carrier or bought one out, and then built a phone to work with it with all the features pe
    • by srmalloy (263556)
      The problem with Apple bricking iPhones is that there is an explicitly-defined right -- 37 CFR Part 201 [copyright.gov], Exemption to Prohibition on
      Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies"
      states that one of the exempted classes of copyrighted works is "Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless tel
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by voidptr (609)
        All the exemption does is say Apple can't take you to court on a DMCA violation if you mod your phone.

        It doesn't say they can't make it as difficult as they want on you to mod it in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Americano (920576)

      How in hell do you want to buy a device with is locked to a single carrier

      For those of us who were already Cingular customers, it wasn't that big a deal to continue being "locked" to a single carrier. I've been a Sprint customer, and am now a Cingular/AT&T customer (better coverage in the area I just moved to on Cingular than Sprint). I've never received stellar customer service from either of them, but they've gotten the job done.

      Yes, I would've liked to bring my iPhone with me, and be able to u

  • Apple=RIAA (Score:2, Funny)

    by sup2100 (996095)
    Does this arrogant behavior remind you of any one else? (RIAA??!!)
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:41PM (#20805139)

    I quite clearly remember Jobs standing on stage at Moscone declaring proudly that the iPhone ran OS X. Everyone oohhed and ahhhed as they began to realize what this meant: the iPhone was a full-fledged miniature PC powered by their fave OS. Think of the killer apps that could be written for this thing, etcetera. Now that reality is setting in, one has to wonder what Steve's thinking. What use is a PC you can't write apps for?

    • by SashaMan (263632) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:41PM (#20805569)
      Agreed. While I realize it was probably inevitable that Apple would lock down unlocked (i.e. running on a non-ATT network) phones due to contract obligations with ATT, disabling 3rd party apps was a major screw up. Apple is pissing off its most loyal customers, the ones who are most excited about the capabilities of the phone. There are probably more Apple fanboys per user on Slashdot than anywhere, and look at how many of us are rightfully mad that Apple is being a prick about this.
  • by MSRedfox (1043112) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:42PM (#20805149)
    As an owner of an unlocked iPhone I think people are just acting stupid. I'm perfectly content to sit back and use the 1.0.2 firmware until a solution is found for the new firmware. Going around and blaming Apple is a waste of time. While I think Apple could've handled things better to prevent bricking of phones, it isn't truly bricked. It is possible to revert the system back to the older firmware if you know what you're doing. The problem is, a bunch of naive users are playing with their firmware and they don't have a clue as to what this means. I think most intelligent iPhone hackers understand that you can't upgrade firmware the day it's released and expect it to work right with previous mods. But I guess all this complaining shows that a lot of ignorant people are hacking their phones without understanding all the complications involved.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jombeewoof (1107009)
      Your comment just goes to show the measures which the unlearned, or ignorant will go through to get an iPhone that they can use.
      Same basic concept as the PSP hacks a while back, people want to do specific things with the hardware that they buy. If that functionality is unavailable, the masses will create it for themselves. The fact that they cannot get it right, and end up bricking their phones is both their own fault for doing something they do not fully understand, and Apples's fault for not providing a p
    • Don't you think that Apple resetting the SIM lock is a rather different matter though? I buy an iPhone and pay AT&T a big wad of cash to end the contract. They either hand over the unlock code or they don't - doesn't matter, US law says I can circumvent this anyway. So, I have my nice shiny iPhone, no contract, unlocked to work with any service provider I choose, then Apple comes along and screws me over by locking me back to AT&T, and while they are at it, they change the system so that it can't be
      • by MSRedfox (1043112) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:10PM (#20805365)
        I don't think the current unlocking of the iPhone is a legit unlock. The current unlock method reflashes the modem firmware(with a modified version) to allow it to use multiple carriers. On my old smartphone, the unlock software scanned my phone and then when I booted with a different SIM, I typed in an unlock code and the phone actually unlocked itself (the same as if my carrier had given me the unlock code). The modified modem firmware, while it creates the unlock effect, it isn't the same method AT&T would use to unlock the iPhone.

        I think the unlock method will change over the next few months. In the US, Apple uses AT&T, in Germany, they use T-Mobile, ETC... When the hacking groups begin to compare the differences between the various regional iPhones, they'll find that there is a better way to unlock. I doubt future firmware updates will convert German iPhones to AT&T. So by examine the difference, we should get closer to having a real unlock and hopefully we'll be able to avoid issues with firmware updates as a result.
        • by aaarrrgggh (9205)
          Apparently the iPhone does not actually have a end-user unlock code option. It was designed to never be unlocked under any circumstances.

          When I entered into the contract that Apple alleges I entered, this was not made clear. My assumption was that it could be unlocked after 90 days by my carrier, whereby I would have the freedom to do with it as I needed. I was willing to pay a three month premium when I travel, but not a "life of phone" premium.

          Apple is wrong on this, and they are going to get themselve
  • by nattt (568106) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:43PM (#20805151)
    As much as I lke what Apple does, I like the Mac, OS X, X Code etc. I think they've really got it wrong here. It was wrong to tie into AT&T exclusively and wrong to stop the phone being unlocked. It should never have been locked in the first place. I was at WWDC when the lack of SDK was announced, and that again was a big bad move. The iPhone is a wonderful little device, but without proper 3rd party app support, it's a fashion accessory. I know some mac geeks who are geekier mac geeks than anyone else, and although they've got the iPhone, they're still on their Blackberries for practicality.
  • by bizitch (546406) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:46PM (#20805171) Homepage
    I mean - wtf - do iPhone users own the thing or not? Whose property is it anyway?

    If you were to lease the thing then I can side with Apple. But if they sold it then I dont get it ...

    Aren't they violating the DMCA or whatever?
    • by Lane.exe (672783)
      iPhone users own it... but does that mean that Apple should have to release software to work with homebrewed mods and non-Apple firmware? Why do people insist that it's Apple's duty to support people making hard and soft hacks that Apple themselves didn't envision? No way. You may disagree with Apple's closing of the platform to non-Apple development, but don't thereby expect Apple to cave in and support non-Apple hard and soft hacks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by noidentity (188756)
      "I mean - wtf - do iPhone users own the thing or not? Whose property is it anyway?"
      Yours. You modify your hardware, fine. You install Apple's update that's not made for your modifications, fine. But don't go expecting Apple to cover the problems you caused to your hardware. See how that works? If on the other hand you exercise some restraint in what you do to your iPhone, Apple will back you up if problems occur.
  • by The Webguy (41698) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:47PM (#20805185) Homepage
    A procedure exists - and has been tested quite a bit now - to reverse the iBrick'd efforts. linked here [fiveforty.net].
    • If you actually read the article linked from the parent comment (at this time, as it is a wiki), you can plainly see that there is NO KNOWN METHOD to recover phones that were unlocked with the free SIM unlock.

      The fact that the baseband cannot be backdated to previous versions imply that apple intentionally removed the previously existing method for updating the baseband. This intent Jennifer Bowcock's statement that people need to buy a whole new iPhone seems pretty damn evil to me.
  • by GaryPatterson (852699) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:50PM (#20805205)
    Apple's update re-locks iPhones that were unlocked by third parties. Given that there have been several methods, none of which were approved or passed through Apple (obviously), how can Apple write OS updates that work around these hacks? At least one hack required physical modification to the iPhone - how can any update be expected to allow for unknown changes?

    In fact, should Apple be expected to work around hacks at all?

    I see the choice as either Apple updates the iPhones regardless of any hacks (over-writing them, re-locking iPhones) or Apple refuses to update hacked iPhones. Clearly Apple are taking the former path, and I agree with that.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:51PM (#20805219)
    First, what kind of clueless idiot runs an update on a hacked device after being told explicitly that running the update on a hacked device will brick said device. Second, what kind of feature phone/PDA maker creates a device that doesn't include a usable SDK and APIs so that developers can add functionality without compromising the core firmware and creating the brick-on-update problem.

    Both sides have shown less than stellar judgment and both sides will lose. I suspect that the iPhone plaintiffs will lose their case and Apple will lose a chunk of market-share opportunity.
  • by spooje (582773) <spooje@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:55PM (#20805243) Homepage
    It was a buffer overflow that allowed the hack that was exploited to unlock the phone in the first place. If Apple didn't fix it, people would be complaining Apple had lax security.
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi. c o m> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:57PM (#20805261) Homepage
    In the story headline I saw

    But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device.
    and was thinking that this must have been written by a younger person. Some one my age would believe that if I bought something, it belonged to me. I bought it, I paid for it, it is mine to do with what I want. I guess I must have a "customer" mentality being born in the middle 50's instead of the new in vouge "consumer" mentality. Sad state of affairs, that "consumers" let themselves get pushed around in a way "customers" never ever would.
    • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:21PM (#20805441) Journal

      > >"But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device."

      >"and was thinking that this must have been written by a younger person. Some one my age would believe that if I bought something, it belonged to me. I bought it, I paid for it, it is mine to do with what I want."

      Naw, sounds more like a Windows user - they're trained to believe that Windows says "My Computer" because Bill Gates thinks he owns it.

      Apple simply doesn't have the right to brick a phone - not only is it against consumer law in many areas, but its also against the PATRIOT ACT, which increased penalties under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (iPhones are both communications devices and networked computing devices). Finally, Apple as terrorists ...

  • If Apple gets away with this and doesn't suffer a backlash from its customers then other companies might follow suit. Microsoft bans people with hacked XBOX's from playing online, but at least they don't brick the system. What if Microsoft, Sony or even Nintendo were to follow suit with their game systems?
  • As always (Score:2, Informative)

    by Usekh (557680)
    The lawsuit. America's answer to everything.
  • by jerkychew (80913) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:13PM (#20805385) Homepage
    This is not a troll post, I swear. I agree that if we own a piece of hardware we should be able to do with it what we want. But, that line starts to blur when said hardware needs a particular network connection to function.

    I can hack my (original) xbox or Wii. I just can't connect to their online services or download any updates because, surprise, the updates may brick my consoles. It sucks, since there's no proof that a hacked console is being used for illegal purposes, but that's the way it is. And I can't attempt to get the consoles serviced, because I've voided their warranty. The same policy applies to my Ford Ranger - If I change the chip in the onboard computer, I've voided my warranty.

    Where it's a little different in this case is that the iPhone downloads its updates automatically. There's no real benefit to using an iPhone as just an iPod, now that the iPod touch is out. But it's not like you don't have a choice in what phone you buy. There are plenty of other phones on plenty of other carriers. You chose to buy an iPhone, and you chose to hack it to run on another network, knowing full well that it was not only unsupported by Apple, but would void your warranty and possibly brick your phone. If you didn't know that, you shouldn't have been involved in hacking your iPhone in the first place.

    For better or worse, the iPhone is a closed system. It's meant to run one OS on one carrier. Am I going to sue Chevrolet because my Corvette got stuck on a mountain bike trail? Of course not. I used the car in a manner not supported (or warrented) by the manufacturer, and now I pay the price.

    All this talk of class action lawsuits and people whining about the supposed Apple 'monopoly' of the iPod and iPhone just makes me mad. Nobody's forcing you to buy the shiny, pretty Apple gadget. Go buy a Zen. Or a Treo. Or a Dell. Stop trying to blame the big bad corporation for telling you how to use its product.
  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:18PM (#20805421)
    "But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device."

    Control its own device? So Apple takes your money but the phone is still theirs? Sorry but that's just plain wrong.

    You give Apple money.
    They give you a phone.
    You lose ownership of the money -- it now belongs to Apple.
    Apple loses ownership of the phone -- it now belongs to you.

    That's the fundamental basis of all commerce.

    On the other hand, anyone stupid enough to pay hundreds of dollars for an over-priced over-hyped phone with ridiculous limitations deserves to get screwed. So I guess it isn't so bad after all.
  • Intent To Brick! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aldheorte (162967) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:34PM (#20805529)
    I believe a class action is going to break out and I think it will be successful, though perhaps by media pressure and not by judgment. I acknowledge there are various technical arguments to the effect that Apple can only test its patches against firmware or software it knows, so if a phone that has different firmware or software 'just happens' to be bricked in the update process, that doesn't prove 'intent to brick'.

    But it doesn't matter. This is too fine a technical detail to dally over and Apple trying to use it in defense will just glaze over the eyes of judges or jury that to whom this is presented. The rule of law is that of what seems reasonable to an adult, and that people who pay hundreds of dollars for a non-subsidized device can have it bricked by the manufacturer carrying on as if they still own the phone is plainly not reasonable.

    Instead, I think this will become a turning point for the carrier and handset industry. Around the iPhone, a critical mass has gathered that is passionate about the device, which no other device has enjoyed in this space until now (most handsets sales are small number or subsidized, cheap commodity phones no one can get excited about). Many of these people are the obnoxious, uppity Mac crowd stereotype who are convinced they are right regardless of the facts, but in this case their conviction may be a triumph for everyone. Once precedent swings against the ridiculous situation where carriers and handset manufacturers believe that they can control and restrict a device they have sold in good faith, it will crumble and just perhaps we will see a shift in power in the mobile space from carrier/manufacturer to consumer. Therefore, I say to iPhone owners: Sue, and sue hard. Punitive damages. Criminal RICO prosecution. An all out attack will keep it in the press and that may be more powerful than the suits themselves.
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:44PM (#20805589)
    I'm frankly disappointed by Apple and Steve Jobs on this whole issue. I understand that when Apple was smaller, it would have been suicide for them to put a big legal bull's eye on their back. They paid to license Amazon's one-click "technology", which if I remember write drew howls of anger from us for the perception of giving the patent merit. They did it to avoid a lawsuit over having the best shopping experience for their customers. When they first introduced the iPod with the tabline "Rip. Mix. Burn." RIAA was outraged. Even though "ripping" a CD was perfectly legal and even protected by the Home Audio Recording Act, Apple backed off the message rather than risk a lawsuit preventing the iPod's introduction. Smart move on their part seeing how the iPod turned out.

    But now Apple is not some little computer company struggling as a small fish in a pond of predators. Apple isn't even a computer company anymore. They are a consumer electronics company, and they are dangerously close to repeating Sony's mistake of letting fear of the content producers influence the design of their consumer electronics. That's a recipe for failure. Hardware sales directly benefit from the availability of content, and if you cut the flow of content, you strangle your hardware sales. No one would buy a MacBook or iMac no matter how great it was if it was as closed as the iPhone has become.

    The reason Apple has to take such a hard line on the iPhone is because, for perhaps the first time, Apple is at the mercy of a "content" provider: Cingular/AT&T (the content in this case is access to the cellular spectrum). I would bet any amount of money that somewhere in the contract between Apple and AT&T is the stipulation that if a Voice-Over-IP application appears on the iPhone platform, Apple will forfeit a big chunk of change. That's why there's no Flash (microphone interaction has been possible with Flash for a while now). That's why there's no native development. It's not about protecting the network from faulty a application that might screw up the mission critical cellular network. Cell phones don't have that power, otherwise you could make the same attack with the cellular PCMCIA cards and adapters that the cell phone providers already sell. Until Apple can negotiate a price they are willing to pay or give up to allow full development, knowing full well that job number one for everyone will be a VoIP app that eliminates the need to even keep Cingular around for Pay-As-You-Go, Apple is going to keep the phone locked down tight.

    So I'm understand Apple. I don't expect to ever see native iPhone development as long as AT&T is in the picture. But Apple has gone too far with the warrantee cancellations. It's against the law, at least in California. A manufacturer can't void a warrantee based on a 3rd-party modification unless you prove that it was the 3rd-party modification that caused the problem. Toyota can't tell you that your warantee on your new car is void because you had Audio Discounters install a stereo unless they prove Audio Discounters cut the main system bus or something. Apple is hiding behind the fact that as a software company, they are more familiar with licensing which seems to dictate that Apple can declare the moon made of cheese and anyone who clicks "I Agree" has to live with that. But courts don't let people waive rights that are guarantee regardless of what a contract says, and so I suspect that if this case goes to court, Apple will lose. For the courts to rule otherwise would shut down nearly every hardware aftermarket industry overnight.

    And, Apple would also have to prove that hardware can be, in fact, damaged by just software. That's a very scary thing to admit about a product you engineered. If it were truly possible for software to damage the iPhone hardware in a way that it would be unreasonable for Apple to be require to fix it, that's a timebomb waiting to happen. Let's say there is an exploit in Safari (there are). Let's say someone writes some cod
  • by kent_eh (543303) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:49PM (#20805969)

    But others say Cupertino is well within its rights to control its own device."


    And I'm well within my rights to continue to not buy one.

    Proud member of the "I just wanna make a call" crowd.
  • Super Chicken quote (Score:3, Informative)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:58PM (#20806031)
    "Ya knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

    You hack a device when they told you not to then you cry foul when they wipe out your hack and leave you without your phone? Ever read the service contract? On what basis are you planning to sue, "gee I didn't think they were serious Judge?" Under what legal president does that fall? Trying to hack a $500 phone comes with a fair amount of risk. If you didn't like the deal don't buy the phone. Simple enough. If you did and you hacked it and now you have a high tech paperweight you've got nothing to complain about other than your own stupidity.

  • by BearRanger (945122) on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:30AM (#20807969)
    And work on your reading comprehension.

    How much clearer could Apple have been? They put out a press release days before releasing the software, warning people that the firmware update could potentially damage unlocked iPhones. Then, when you downloaded the firmware update it threw up a warning screen saying that hacked/unlocked phones could be damaged by the firmware update. If that didn't scream "don't install me on a hacked phone" what would have?

    Now people are looking to sue because they ignored these warnings and installed the firmware update anyway. Please grow up and take responsibility for your actions. You hacked the phone. Don't expect updates or further support, and, most of all--HEED THE VENDOR'S WARNINGS!

    These potential lawsuits will go nowhere.
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday October 01, 2007 @04:23PM (#20815525)
    According to engadget [engadget.com] many unlocked iPhones are coming through the upgrade unbricked, albeit with loss of their hacked capabilities. It seems to depend upon how you unlocked your phone.

    So the notion that Apple's software is designed to recognize (which should be pretty easy) and disable modified phones seems to be false. It sounds more like Apple simply didn't bother to test and debut the upgrade with all of the hacked configurations. And why should they? After all, when you choose to violate the warranty by messing with the "not user serviceable" parts of a device, you do it at your own risk.

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics

Working...