Apple Apostasy

A month ago the media was filled with stories about the New Jersey teenager who hacked the to work on cell carriers other than AT&T. Not one of the dozen or so articles I read then addressed the most obvious questions: Won’t this hack invalidate the ’s warranty? Isn’t this hack vulnerable to an counter-hack? Doesn’t it violate the ’s anti-circumvention provisions? Last week, after Apple issued a software update that turned hacked iPhones into $400 paperweights, the media was filled with headlines such as this from the : Altered iPhones Freeze Up

Duh. Without reading the iPhone’s Terms of Use I know that Apple’s contract specifically prohibits the carrier-switch hack and disclaims liability for user installation of non-approved software on the iPhone. I know because such provisions are boilerplate in retail tech products licenses and contracts and Apple is as –programatically correct–as any tech company. Exhibit 1 is , which is easy and intuitive and countenances almost no user modification of how it chooses to organize your on your hard drive. Which makes statements like this from an editor of Gizmodo just silly: “[Disabling a phone] instead of just relocking it . . . is going way too far; I’d call it uncharacteristically evil.” Irritating, annoying, consumer-unfriendly, reason not to buy another Apple product, maybe, but since when does naked pursuit of economic self-interest upset techies? Maybe this is a corollary of last week’s a liberal is a conservative who has been arrested: “a consumer advocate is a techie whose hacked iPhone has been bricked.”

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  • LdHenry

    Understandably, some consumer advocates will be upset with the complete and instantaneous depreciation of their $400 dollar devices. However, Apple is obligated to uphold their agreements to two important entities: AT&T and their stockholders. Apple signed an exclusive five year contract with AT&T and is legally obliged to honor the contract. Also, Apple, being a publicly traded company, must attempt to maximize revenues. It would seem like this pursuit would lead Apple to open up its phone to other companies and therefore increase the number of phones sold. Instead, Apple sells its phone exclusively through AT&T in return for a cut of the monthly revenue collected from AT&T customers. This formula increases Apple’s revenue and bolsters its unreasonably high stock price ($158.45 at closing on 10/2).

    Regardless of whether Apple is being fair, techies should look at this occurrence as an opportunity. A month ago the most interesting puzzle about the iphone was cracked. This move by Apple opens up a whole new task for techies. Now that the iphone has been relocked, the race can begin to overcome Apple’s software updates and once again beat the system.

  • http://www.trudalane.net David Randall

    !!!!!!! I need to read these more closely.

  • JSYankees85

    “THE APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.”

    Please note that iTunes is not intended to be used to run your nuclear power plants or life support machines.

    “You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”

    Not only is it against federal and international law to build nuclear weapons using iTunes, but now if you do it, Apple will get really mad at you!

    When Apple puts things like that into the User License Agreement for iTunes, how are we supposed to take anything they say seriously?