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New iPhone Update Kills Unlocked Phones

New iPhone Update Kills Unlocked PhonesApple said it was coming. On Monday the company warned that unlocked iPhones would be made "permanently inoperable" by a future update, and that's exactly what has come to pass with the latest iPhone update that's just been released. Those brave (or foolish) souls who unlocked their phones from the AT&T network and then applied this latest firmware update from Apple now have a very shiny, pretty, expensive and ultimately useless hunk of metal and glass.

This sort of gadget death is called "bricking," a term that originated from the hacking of Sony's PlayStation Portable handheld gaming device. With the PSP, hackers and Sony have been engaged in a seemingly never-ending battle of updates and hacks. Hackers crack the current version of the PSP software, which enables it to play illegal copies of games and run unauthorized software. Sony then counters with an update to disable the latest hack and, possibly, brick modified consoles. A few days or weeks later, hackers strike back with another crack and the battle rages on for eternity.

Apple is no doubt setting itself up for a similar war with the iPhone unlocking movement. However, this battle will be perceived differently from a PR stance. iPhone users generally aren't trying to do anything illegal with their devices; they just want to use them with a cellular provider other than AT&T. For this reason, Apple's likely to come out of this conflict looking like a spoiled kid saying the equivalent of, "If you don't want to play how I want, then I'm taking your ball/iPhone and going home." The company runs the risk of turning away those who haven't already been turned off by the recent iPhone price cut, circus, and that's not good for the bottom line regardless of how dedicated your users are.

What's worse, we can confirm the reports swirling around today that the update is also zapping iPhones that were not altered or unlocked. When Switched updated its beloved iPhone this morning, we were forced to delete and reload all of our contacts, photos and music in order to get the thing working again. So, update at your own risk.

From BBC News

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Tags: Apple, Brick, iPhone, Unlock



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