Tuesday, September 25, 2007

unlocking the iPhone's true potential

The Wall Street Journal published an article today stating Apple has warned against hacking and unlocking the iPhone.


Apple Inc. warned users that they can permanently damage their iPhones by modifying the cellular phones to work on unauthorized wireless networks, a move that could diminish a potential threat to Apple's iPhone partnerships with carriers like AT&T Inc.

In a statement, Apple said it has discovered that unauthorized iPhone "unlocking" programs cause damage to the device's software that could make the phone "permanently inoperable" when users install future software updates from Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company said that any permanent disabling of iPhone that stems from the installation of unlocking software isn't covered on the product's warranty.

In fact Apple should be grateful that the user community has hacked their device. There is no way the Locked version Apple is selling in the USA through ATT will ever make it in Europe or in Asia. People in countries where GSM has been mainstream for well over 15 years have been used to using their cell phones in a way that will make them very frustrated with the iPhone. From my experience with an iPhone here are the things that are missing.

MMS, that’s right, though the iPhone has a nice camera you can’t send the pictures to anyone nor can you send or receive a contact via sms.

SMS, a very low level version that doesn’t even let you forward SMS’s let alone copy and past. There actually is NO copy and paste functionality at all in the iPhone.

Application download and install, on the locked device you can’t really install anything, and better yet there is only room for four more icons, thanks to hackers there is a way to install as well as page up and down. But the locked original version does not let you, gone are those days when the Telephone company was able to sell you a game to download……….

Bluetooth, does nothing other then connect to a head set and even that in a very limited fashion, no BlueJacking, no file transfer or even using the iPhone as your Laptops gateway to the internet.

Changing SIM cards on the locked device it virtually impossible something that totally contradicts the O2 core policy of not selling any SIM locked phones.

Ringtones are a massive pain, virtually impossible to used your one or even an MP3 file, something every other phone could do. Instead Apple try to force you to convert a song purchase from iTunes to a ring tone. If not for hackers this market would be gone.

O2 and T-Mobile should pay attention and ensure all these are fixed before rolling out the devices in their respective markets.

I think Apple should embrace the efforts made by hackers and enhance their device with the new hacked features or better yet open source the iPhone. After all at $299 with no contract Apple is still making a mint.

What are your thoughts?