Apple sends out warning to iPhone unlockers of "irreparable damage"

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Apple has sent out a clear warning to those who are unlocking the iPhone so that it can be used on other networks both in and outside the US, claiming that some unlocking software can cause irreparable damage to the device, and that the iPhone may become permanently inoperable if Apple’s own software updates are applied to the iPhone.

They also quoted the standard legalese about unauthorised modifications being against a user’s iPhone software licence agreement, and invalidating the warranty.

It’s not clear whether this is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) on behalf of Apple, or whether there’s some truth in the warning. I can understand that trying to update a hacked iPhone could cause problems, but surely it’s possible to restore the system software completely, and pop the AT&T SIM card back into the iPhone, to restore working order. After all, none of these modifications are hardware hacks (though some exist).

iPhonic yesterday reported on an Apple Store blacklisting a hacked iPhone which needed hardware repair. It’s not surprising that Apple are talking tough — they’ve already set their lawyers on one iPhone-unlocking company and I’m sure this “cat and mouse” game (as Steve Jobs described it at the recent UK press conference) will continue for a long time to come.

It’s unlikely to deter those who are desperate to use the iPhone away from the official networks, despite the fact that some features, including visual voicemail and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, may not work with modified phones.

(Via Digital Media Wire)

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Andy Merrett