Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Communications Businesses Wireless Networking Apple Hardware

Class-Action Lawsuit Over iPhone Locking? 533

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This discussion has been archived.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:
  • 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.

        Apple shareholder
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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:Apple's device? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:45PM (#20805161)
    This isn't really about refusing warranty, that seems valid. It's about Apple intentionally making it so modified phones break completely. What if Microsoft did this with the XBox360? Yes, they have blacklisted 360's on the Live network, but they haven't bricked the hacked 360's...

  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by webmaster404 ( 1148909 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:45PM (#20805167)
    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 buy an iPhone Apple has already made its money. If I program a new program for it, Apple has still made its money and it should still be under warranty. If I take the hard disk out of it and hit it with a hammer, it shouldn't be under warranty. Apple and the rest of the phone companies need to stop making them closed platforms and open them to be the embedded computers they are. Oh well, Apple just lost $600 from that and thats just me.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @08:47PM (#20805183)
    > 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 that one in a post. And no, this isn't just a pile on kdawson rant, CmdrTaco is equally within the Field.

    Listen up you primitive screwheads, Steve Jobs is AS evil, if not moreso than Steve Balmer. He just doesn't throw chairs or dance around like a drunken monkey.
  • 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 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 kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ov i . c om> 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 noidentity ( 188756 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:02PM (#20805293)
    "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.
  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:03PM (#20805303)

    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. They obviously think they can make more from licensing third part apps than from additional phone sales as an open generic platform. I think this is pretty much in line with what I would expect from Apple given past history.

    Now then, how about fuck the iPhone. What happened to that iPhone clone that came out right after the official iPhone launch? I seem to remember a story about it here. Looked like it had the groovy iPhone look and feel with much more open software / hardware access?

  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:04PM (#20805317)
    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 away from me and locked the car down in their facilities, because they discovered that I had been taking it to a non Ford-approved detailer.

    Oh, wait . . .
  • 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.
  • Re:Users (Score:2, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:06PM (#20805329) Journal
    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 people would ever want. BUT, in the real world, breaking into the "good old boy" network of Cellular carriers and phone manufacturers meant playing by THEIR rules, *or* finding a few places they could win concessions in return for clamping down in other areas.

    This is no different than Apple's reluctant agreement to enforce DRM on purchased songs from iTunes. They weren't in a position to start their own record label and sign on thousands of good artists - so they had to work with the record labels. By accepting DRM and some restrictions on usage of their software (no sharing your music to stream over a WAN to iTunes running at a remote location, for example), they were able to bring digital music sales into the 21st. Century.

    With their agreement with AT&T, they were able to bring people a new, easier way to activate the phone. (No going into the store and filling out credit app paperwork, getting upsold on crap by salespeople, etc. etc.) They got AT&T to code custom stuff into their network for the "visual voicemail" feature that no other phone currently has. They even got AT&T to agree to a discounted "all you care to use for one price" data plan, so you wouldn't be screwed like Verizon owners of a Motorola Q ... who have to pay $150+ per month for any half-way usable cell plan that gives them unlimited data for it.

    I didn't think the iPhone was worth $599 when it came out, so I held off on getting it. But I sure did pick up one as soon as the price dropped, and a refurb 8GB was going for $349. At that price, it's definitely worth the money.... I've paid that much or more for every "Smartphone" I've owned before, including a Treo 650 and 600. and a couple Kyoceras - and NONE of those held a candle to the iPhone. In fact, I got so disgusted with them, I got a Motorola Razr and just lived with it for the last year. But even it had issues - including the inability to sync its calendar appointments with iCal on my Mac.

    Although nobody's talking on this one, I also think AT&T is behind Apple's sudden negative attitude on hackers developing custom apps for the iPhone. Why? Because it was all good until someone at AT&T realized "Hey, wait a minute! If Apple doesn't put a damper on this, they're going to install a voice-over IP app on that thing, and then nobody will ever use up their minutes anymore talking on the iPhone! We'll never sell anything bigger than the smallest plan!" (Seems kind of odd Apple's V.P. just came out and said Apple wasn't against people loading unofficial apps on the iPhone, and they wouldn't "actively try to stop it" ... only to have Jobs come out about 48 hours later saying something different?)

    Bottom line here: This may be an Apple product, but it has to function in a space controlled by the cellphone industry. This is the same industry that flashes custom firmware into almost all the really useful phones they sell, to cripple features left and right to suit them. Given the hostile environment - I think Apple did a pretty good job bringing people a compromise that's still worthy of an Apple logo on the front of it.

    I was never interested in "unlocking" my phone to get around the agreement they made very clear was part of the purchase .... BUT, I do use my phone with all the unofficial software apps people made for it. And I refuse to update to the latest firmware unless/until hackers break into it successfully like they have all the previous versions.

  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:07PM (#20805347) Homepage
    I am sure, though, if this was Microsoft, you'd be lambasting them for it. Yet, it's OK because it's Apple. Apple is hip and cool, so whatever they do is justified.

    If I post a sign on the wall that says "A means a punch in the face, B means free dinner" and ask you "A or B", I would still be in the wrong for punching you in the face for saying A. Just because someone can give you ice to put on that black eye doesn't make it any less wrong.
  • Re:Apple's device? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:10PM (#20805369) Homepage
    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 on and on and on. Worse is that buyers never "own" the software they think they are buying. They are only getting a 'license' to use it... a license with terms like "if it doesn't work, you can't have your money back and we don't *have* to support it if we don't want to" and "you can't take it apart to see how it works and you damned sure can't modify it and give it to other people!"

    The "device" that is the iPhone, is a combination of hardware and software. I'll bet that even though you think you "own" your iPhone, you don't. You own the hardware and if some genius finds a way to unbrick one and installs all new, non-apple, software to make it useful and makes it FREE, then you can claim to own your iPhone. But since the software component is a license to use and not a collection of bits and bytes wholly owned by the owner of the iPhone hardware, effectively, you don't own the iPhone.

    Now whether or not a court will over-rule this particular situation is another matter, but as it stands anything with software running on it that's not OSS runs the risk of the licensor insisting on some pretty unreasonable and limiting terms. And the worst part about it all? People [consumers] *still* can't wrap their minds around the idea that they don't own what they paid for.
  • 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.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> 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 ...

  • Re:Users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:30PM (#20805487) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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 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 JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> 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 Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @09:45PM (#20805601) Journal
    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)
  • 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:Bad move apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:07PM (#20805733) Journal
    The Apple camp just can't move away from Apple's hardware. They'll willingly buy expensive hardware, enter long-term expensive contracts, all the while being warned that hacking the hardware and then downloading an update may very well leave it completely useless and out of warranty. Then they'll complain about it.

    Here's a tip for all you Apple fanboys. Grow up. Real adult's understand a bad deal, and understand that by entering it, they're likely going to get buggered, but at least they walk in with open eyes.
  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Purity Of Essence ( 1007601 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:09PM (#20805743)

    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. They need to get back to selling a good product, instead of a slick image.
  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russellh ( 547685 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:09PM (#20805745) Homepage

    I am sure, though, if this was Microsoft, you'd be lambasting them for it. Yet, it's OK because it's Apple. Apple is hip and cool, so whatever they do is justified.
    Right. but... What's with the Apple/Microsoft comparisons? You think this somehow exposes a hidden hypocrisy or bias among slashdot readers, that they somehow disapprove of the convicted monopolist in favor of the upstart who has achieved some recent market success? Good lord. You know what? We all expect that if Apple continues on this path that it will one day, maybe in 15 years, be on the level of Microsoft. But it is not there yet. Not even close. Not even a little bit. It's not in the same universe, galaxy, solar system or ball park. The iPhone is cool, but it's not as if Apple has a stranglehold on the cell phone market. It's not as if Apple is breaking the kneecaps of hardware manufacturers if they don't include iPhone OS.

    The bigger Apple gets, the more we need to see the roadmap, which I think is part of the problem. They release this super awesome device, but with a limitation that people don't understand. If only we know why.

  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:10PM (#20805757) Homepage

    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 Ford killed my car!"

    If you want to sue, then change the suit to something more appropriate. Sue Apple for only allowing you to use AT&T. Sue for not letting you unlock your phone after 90 days. Sue Apple for locking down the smart phone. You knew the phone was locked to 3rd party software when you bought it, but sue anyway. This is the US, it'll work. Sue AT&T for charing you $600 for a substandard phone (no games, can't record videos, etc) without clearly disclosing that stuff up front. Sue the FCC for allowing vender lock-in. Sue MS for making such a terrible platform (I used CE 1.0, and I had a WM 5 device. In many ways, it wasn't much better. In many ways, it was worse). Sue the management of Palm for driving the platform in the ground, thus reducing your choices. Sue MS for making it impossible to use their phones with non-Windows software (illegal bundling/tie-in? And yes, I know about Missing Sync).

    The iPhone is neat. I'd like one. I'd LOVE to try to develop for it. But you bought the device in one state, modified it, and are mad that your modifications caused problems. Sue for the right reason. Don't start a trend of companies being forced to support modifications of their devices that they were explicitly trying to prevent.

  • by impactor ( 1162157 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:38PM (#20805907)
    My opinion: If apple took it upon themselves to make sure unlocked iphones became bricked when updated then i feel they are liable for the damages done. On the other hand, if the bricking is a side effect of the update, then i don't think they are responsible. If you are maintaining and updating software, you can't possibly predict what sorts of modifications a user might make to their software. It's possible apple had a ligitimate reason to update the iphones and during testing they realized that their update wasn't compadible with the unlocking software. They even took it upon themselves to inform users that if their iphones were unlocked that the update would render them useless (correct me if im wrong, but this is the impression I got from previous articles on the subject).

    As i said before, if the bricking is a malicious response to people unlocking phones, then i feel apple is wrong. If it's simply a side effect of an update, then i dont' fell apple is wrong.
  • by hcmtnbiker ( 925661 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:43PM (#20805931)
    Hey in New York state if I say he looked dangerous to me, and believed he intended to cause me harm I can do pretty much whatever I want to a trespasser, including shotting him/her.
  • by jerkychew ( 80913 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:45PM (#20805947) Homepage
    Jeez, then I have even less sympathy for the hackers!

    Let me get this straight - People are hacking their iPhones, then agreeing to install an update, and then complaining that it doesn't work? If you don't install the update does the phone keep working?

    To keep my car analogy going: "Hey Chevy, I installed that stock oil filter in my Corvette and it blew up!" "I know I retrofitted it with a Ford motor first, but it's still your fault!"

    I'm all for hacking - I still have my modded PS1 and am running XBMC on my old Xbox - But I wouldn't try to get support for the things if they were still within their warranty periods.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @10:53PM (#20806001)
    ...seems to cast doubt on the legality of some of the things Apple is doing here.

    Specifically, section 102(c) prohibits the use of tie-in sales provisions in the warranty. Saying that the warranty is void just 'cos you are now using the phone on someone else's network is like Ford voiding the warranty on your Taurus because you let Jiffy Lube do the oil changes, and not the local dealership.

    Also, while I'm sure it is certainly possible that a firmware upgrade could innocently fuckup a modded phone, the thought of a company doing this deliberately out of spite ought to make Public Citizen's lawyers salivate until they slip on their own drool.
  • Re:Users (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2007 @11:04PM (#20806071)
    Why? Because it was all good until someone at AT&T realized "Hey, wait a minute! If Apple doesn't put a damper on this, they're going to install a voice-over IP app on that thing, and then nobody will ever use up their minutes anymore talking on the iPhone!
    I do not agree. Why do those some phone companies allow you to download and install pretty much what you want on other smart phones like the mentioned Treo and even Blackberries and some can tether to a computer to allow over the air access as well? It does not make sense. I have no explanation for why they do not want to allow third party applications. Typically you can always follow the money and you can come up with a good reason why someone is doing what they are doing. I do not see the money path here though.

    As for the SIM lock? This is simple. Apple gets a kickback per month for AT&T being the exclusive carrier. This has been well reported and also seen on their attempt to establish single carriers in other countries. Exclusive contracts bring in more money. Imagine if Apple get between $3-10 a month per iPhone with an AT&T contract. That is at least $3-10 million per month. This may even allow Apple to lower the base price as well, kind of like subsidizing the initial cost. I would not be surprised if this is why the cost fell so quickly.
  • by justin12345 ( 846440 ) on Sunday September 30, 2007 @11:36PM (#20806211)
    Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that unlocking the iPhone was a hardware hack not a matter of installing an app. If you crack something open and take a soldering iron to it, you really should assume you are on your own.

    I'm not really trying to defend Apple here, but what I've read about iPhone unlocking sounds more analgous to overclocking a chip, rather then trying to run Linux on it.
  • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) * on Monday October 01, 2007 @12:05AM (#20806317) Journal
    the dmca only says apple can't sue you for unlocking your phone.

    It does not require Apple to do anything to support unlocking.

    From day one, Apple told everyone it would never have an sdk. From day one Apple announced it would be exclusive to AT&T in the states. Neither exceptions are unusual in phones sold in the us. In spite of apple singing to the rafters that there would be no sdk and exclusive to AT&T, people bought it.

    There are many phone models exclusive to a carrier. Why is Apple the bad guy, but motorola, samsung, lg and nokia exempt from such rage over exclusive contracts? Apple has always said it would be a closed platform. Now people are upset that Apple is keeping it closed? Usually people get upset when a company doesn't keep its promises.

    I'm not defending apple so much as asking why such an obvious double standard exists? Is it just because the iphone is "cool" and its competition is not? There were always other options that claimed to be - and are open platforms. Apple has always said the iPhone would be a closed platform. Why the crying when they move to keep it closed as they have intended?

    It's almost like these people have no idea that every manufacturer has rights too. If you violate your end of a contract (eula?), they have no obligation to uphold their end. Bricked iphones will still work with a valid sim and are therefore not eligible for repair as they are not defective.
  • Re:Bad move apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jht ( 5006 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @12:19AM (#20806421) Homepage Journal
    It's not justified. But it's not wrong, either. Look. As of right now there's no official, endorsed SDK or system for putting 3rd party apps on the iPhone. Which to me is a waste of a great platform, but it's Apple's prerogative to do that. Maybe they will stabilize the works a little further, and then include an SDK in the Leopard version of Xcode. Maybe they'll announce 3rd party support along with iPhone 2.0 at Macworld in January. Maybe they'll never do it, and keep the platform locked down forever.

    That said, since there is no sanctioned 3rd party way to load apps on an iPhone, Apple is perfectly free to do whatever they want with new firmware. They can make it seamless, they can break the hack that allowed easy 3rd party access, they can break efforts to software unlock it. You, the iPhone owner have no right to whine about it. If Apple had opened up the iPhone as a platform for 3rd parties and then broke it, well - you have a case. But they didn't.

    I used AppTap on mine. Loved it. Threw a few neat programs on it and was rather fond of them. And I updated to 1.1.1 on Thursday knowing well that my phone would not be bricked (I never unlocked mine - had no reason to), but I'd lose all my cool programs. For now, at least. I did it anyways, and if/when AppTap works with the 1.1.1 firmware I'll reload it.

    Bottom line: Until further notice, iPhones are only being sold as a closed platform that works exclusively with AT&T. If you don't like those terms, don't buy one. If you don't mind, then it's a really neat phone that blows away my old Treo for functionality in virtually all areas. Official unlocking? Probably never coming (that's what exclusive carrier deals are all about). 3rd party application support? I'd guess that we'll get it in the not-too-distant future - but give Apple a while to figure out how to be a phone vendor. But I'd feel the same if this were Microsoft. Use the product outside of the boundaries that were clearly defined at purchase time and you may get something great, but you're on your own.

    Now if Apple does something to block older firmware versions from using AT&T's network as an anti-hack measure? Then I'd be pissed off. It's my business whether or not I choose to update. Not Apple's.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @12:34AM (#20806549)
    If you bricked your iPhone and you didn't do anything that violated the warranty, they'll probably replace it for free. I bricked my iPod doing a software updated incorrectly, and they replaced it no questions asked. When the random shutdown thing happened with the macbooks, you could just bring in the machine to an apple store, and they'd fix it within a day or two (much better than the 1-week turnaround I had for my dell laptop's repairs).

    I used to hate Apple, but over the last several years, I've found myself buying more and more Apple gear. Somehow, I've gone through a PowerMac, two MacBooks, several iPods (including ones I bought for my family), and now an iPhone. Apple stuff looks nice, works simply, takes surprising amounts of abuse, and what little support I've needed in the Apple Stores was delivered very efficiently. You don't have to be a fanboy to appreciate that.
  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @01:58AM (#20807067) Homepage
    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 to use the device as they want (as long as the consumer doesn't use it as a weapon or so...) they are certainly out on loose ground, at least morally.

    So a class action suit is not a bad idea - Just make sure that there are suitable references to other similar cases before bringing it into court. Personally I would prefer a court with a jury appointed (if it's possible).

  • by spyowl ( 838397 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:25AM (#20807189)
    Ughh... another anti-Qt/GPL troll post gets modded up as "interesting" on /. - not news anymore.

    Yeah, the QTopia Greenphone is GPL alright. Unlike Linux and Gnome, Troll Tech wants commercial developers to pay them big bucks for the privilege of developing software for their platform.

    You must be referring to the fact that Gtk is available with the LGPL? Oops... Linux kernel is only available in GPL flavor. Want to extend it, develop a modified version of it, and redistribute it? OK, then your derivative work has to be GPL too! Guess what - that's exactly how it works with Qt.

    Even the FSF doesn't go that far.

    You are right - even FSF wouldn't dare go that far. Wait a minute - you are wrong - most FSF software is available only under GPL!

    Furthermore, although QTopia is released under the GPL, nobody other than Troll Tech can actually realistically develop or enhance it

    Nonsense. Anybody willing to work under the constraints/freedoms of GPL could work on it - a lot of KDE developers actually already do work on Qt in the same manner. Just in case you were wondering your rights are the same (GPL) if you are a Linux kernel developer.

    if anybody tried to ship their own version of QTopia, none of the commercial QTopia apps could run on it.

    It does expose a hole of commercial apps vs. free software apps, doesn't it? Hence, the discussion about the phone as a free software platform, rather than another "my-software/hardware-manufacturer-bricked-my-expensive-phone-again" post.

    This is usually sour grapes from the Gtk-fanboy FUD spreaders. The fact remains that Qt dual GPL/commercial model works and it arguably works better than what Gtk/LGPL provides for. Just have a look at KDE, Google earth, Opera, and countless other apps. Besides, Qt is a lot easier to use, develop with, extend, customize and has more features than a Gtk developer can dream of in a given year. Qt4 is probably the best cross-platform toolkit in its category, bar none. And no, I am not related to Trolltech, KDE, Opera, Google, or any such company/entity other than being a user of some of the Qt-based apps.
  • 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?
  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @05:32AM (#20807973) Homepage

    Imho, considering some "lesser" software programs were simply erased rather than the system being bricked, I would say Apple deliberatly targetted modified systems with this update and it was not just unintentional changes that interfered.

    I would say it implies the opposite. Apple simply didn't do anything about taking hacked phones into account, at all. The hacks that only changed the iPhone's OS were simply overwritten by the update. The hacks that changed the SIM lock, though, caused issues with the update because they can't simply be overwritten by the update and seem to be incompatible.

  • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @07:56AM (#20808533)
    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 Ajehals ( 947354 ) <> on Monday October 01, 2007 @08:23AM (#20808685) Homepage Journal
    Its interesting to see just how badly this is being handled though.

    Your initial paragraph about restoring any device going for a warranty repair to its "factory defaults" is sound advice, and will prevent all sorts of problems, if carrying out a reset is possible of course. I had two experiences with this with two separate vendors;

    First off, a few years ago I had a laptop develop red vertical lines on screen, these were visible on boot and I assumed were caused by a problem either with the video card or with the screen itself, (I've seen it a few times when there are cracks in the ribbons connecting the screen to the graphics card). I took the machine back to the shop where I bought it (this was within 10 days of purchase) and was told they could not do anything about it as the laptop had been 'modified' i.e. it was no longer running Windows, well that was annoying but simple to solve, the next day when I took the laptop back again, it was running windows and a new laptop was handed over.

    The second incident was a little different, I modified the firmware on my IPAQ, I basically changed the bootloader from whatever the HP one is to LAB (Linux As Bootloader) so that I could run Familiar Linux on it, unfortunately about three months after purchasing the IPAQ it stopped booting at all, (there is a stage one bootloader before LAB that you should see regardless), I also couldn't restore the firmware that I had backed up, the IPAQ was simply unresponsive, so I spoke to HP and was told to send it to them, which I did. I received an email stating that the problem was with the device and that they would send a new one out to me, there was no reference to the non-standard firmware, nor any indication that there would be any warranty issues, then sure enough a few days later a nice new IPAQ arrived, and to my surprise it came not with the standard HP bootloader and Windows Mobile, but with my nice LAB bootloader all ready and waiting. Now I don't know if I should thank someone specific at HP for that, or if they simply transfer everything from the broken device to the new one as a matter of course, but either way, it was a pleasant experience.

    So would I go and buy another laptop from the first guys I dealt with? No I wouldn't, there is enough competition out there and frankly the custoemr service experience was generally poor, would I buy another IPAQ? Yes I would, in fact I would prefer to buy an IPAQ than any other PDA and that is largely due to the fact that when I hit a problem it was solved, quickly and sensibly.
  • 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."
  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @09:33AM (#20809301) Homepage

    Actually they PROBABLY did take these changes into account and wrote code SPECIFICALLY to disable the functionality.

    Apple specifically said they did do no such thing (quoting Schiller: "This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked"). I believe they did try to close the holes that allowed the exploits to exist (as they should, the SIM hack relied on a buffer overflow, so it's clearly Apple's job to fix that bug). I believe they did not do anything to intentionally disable the SIM cards in SIM-unlocked phones. They probably tested the software with a hacked phone, found out that it disabled the SIM card, and then put out a press release telling people with hacked phones to not install the update.

    Frankly, I never even expected them to go as far as alerting owners of hacked phones to ignore the update. I thought they would just not test the update with hacked phones at all.

  • by tgibbs ( 83782 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @11:36AM (#20810869)

    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.
  • Re:Users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Americano ( 920576 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @02:32PM (#20813805)

    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 use it on the O2 network when I went to Ireland a month ago, but I have an older unlocked Motorola phone that still does the trick just fine when I travel. I simply bought a local sim card, popped it in, and was activated in minutes. Would be nice if I could get rid of / donate the other phone, but until such time as they release unlock codes for international usage, I'll simply not use my iPhone abroad. I can live with that restriction, considering when I was on Sprint, I didn't even have the *chance* that I could use it because it was an incompatible network.

    and more, whith a soldered battery (we are talking about a PHONE here!)
    I have to admit, I don't really understand this complaint... I've *never* bought a second battery for any cell phone I've owned, nor have I ever swapped out the original battery... maybe my usage requirements just don't get me through the recharge cycles required, or maybe I'm just too much of a gadget nerd and usually upgrade to a new phone before it becomes an issue... but this one really didn't enter into my decision. I'll freely admit I may regret that choice someday.

    which is imo (and in other's opinions) overpriced, and not even the "best" in their class?
    Overpriced? Yes, it's steep. But not really much more than the Treo 700 my friend bought through Sprint that I was drooling over shortly before the iPhone was released. And from my experience with the iPhone, the iPhone is a lot more usable, less crash- and lockup-prone, and generally more reliable than my friend's Treo. So overpriced, and "not even best in class" are certainly debatable conclusions.

    The iPhone hits the sweet spot of the sorts of things I would typically want to use a phone for -- phone calls, occasional email messaging, calendaring that gets back to my computer (and then syncs to my work computer) automatically, occasional web browsing... I love the device for its functionality, because it's just about exactly the sort of functions I find useful to have in my pocket. And the fact that it also has ipod functionality built in is wonderful, because it's one less device I need to carry around every day. Many (I daresay MOST) people do not have a real need to be able to install dozens of third party apps and utilities on their phone. How many people really *NEED* to ssh over a VPN tunnel to a Linux server? For those people, the iPhone may not be the right phone... but you have to understand that they're also a very small piece of any segment of the phone market.

    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.
    And here, you've declared your bias. If you had simply said, "it's not good enough for me because it's lacking features I consider critical," then I would have easily agreed, and said, "You're right, perhaps the ipod isn't the right MP3 player for everybody." But when you start generalizing about the only reason to own one being the shiny logo making the owner cool in the eyes of the teenagers, then you're simply trolling. Begone.
  • Re:What warranty? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @03:27PM (#20814625)
    Apple makes the software on the iPhone. The hardware is not harmed by either the unlocking process or the Apple update. It is a software problem and IMO analogous to mucking around in the registry and then complaining to Microsoft when Windows stops functioning.

    I absolutely believe people should have the right to hack their products, and they do. I'm a little less sympathetic when they also want to be immunized from the consequences of their missteps. With power comes responsibility, etc.

    As far as I know, if your Dell or Sony PC (for example) dies on you and you haven't gone out of your way to use it in any way in which it was not intended for, then the warranty would cover repairing it.
    Emphasis mine. Since before it was released, Apple has been crystal clear that the iPhone is not intended to run 3rd party native apps. If you overclock your Dell, they're not going to honor the warranty. If you hack around in your iPhone's firmware, I don't see how it's Apple responsibility to troubleshoot your home-brew.
  • by sodul ( 833177 ) on Monday October 01, 2007 @10:09PM (#20818753) Homepage
    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.
    I call BS on that. There are plenty of phones that are open and can run any app you want
    • Treo 650 [] (Palm OS apps)
    • Treo 700W [] (WindowsMobile ... or whatever it's called this week)
    • All the Symbian [] stuff
    • Linux phone [] I'm pretty sure you'll be able to customize the firmware without the FCC showing up
    Also the PSP is WiFi enabled so is subject to the FCC. Heck I have a LinkSys wireless router with a custom firmware ... is this illegal ? I don't understand how your post was flagged 'informative' just because you mentionned the FCC while giving a contradicting example.

Information is the inverse of entropy.