Apple Opens A Pantera’s Box With The iBrick

Sep 28th, 2007 | By | Category: iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players

Apple appears to have opened a veritable Pantera’s box with its decision to fight hackers with an update that could turn your iPhone into an iBrick.

We tested the update and it worked perfectly on an unhacked, locked iPhone. The update adds several great new features, including the iTunes WiFi store, which is more useful and usable than we expected, and double-clicking options for the Home button.

Unfortunately, the update also is turning some users’ phones into iBricks, which has unleashed a sh**storm of discussion:

  • The New York Times is unusually tuned-in on this issue. They say that “Apple essentially has two choices. Either it exposes most of the iPhone‚Äôs capabilities to developers. Or it will have to gird for an ever escalating war in which it will have to send ever more electronic brick-bombs to its best customers who don‚Äôt follow its strict rules.”
  • PodTech’s Robert Scoble thinks Apple has a PR nightmare on its hands. “Tons of people on Twitter are reporting problems with their iPhones. Including my son. Patrick‚Äôs iPhone lost all of its data.”
  • MacWorld’s Jonathan Self bricked his iPhone and survived to tell the story.
  • Wired says that Apple’s plan to turn your hacked iPhone into an iBrick is legally sound. “After talking to a handful of lawyers this week, it seems abdundantly clear that Apple is entirely within its right to refuse warranty service on unlocked iPhones.”

The group of people that are most likely to blog about the iPhone are people pushing the limits of what they can do with the phone, even if that means unlocking it and hacking it. By fighting customization and carrier freedom, Apple is also fighting some of the most vocal people on the Internet.

Apple needs to find a middle ground, giving users some ability to load up apps – perhaps “sandboxed” to minimize potential side effects. If the main justification is keeping rogue apps from tieing up AT&T’s already slow Edge network, then perhaps Apple could limit sandboxed apps to communicating via the device’s WiFi connection.

Apple has a fantasic product on its hands with the iPhone – but it’s even more fantastic when you can customize it by adding your own ringtones and applications and use it with the service provider of your choice.

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  1. […] Apple’s PR fiasco over its decision to actively fight the unlocking and hacking of iPhones appears to be going from bad to worse. […]

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