Apple's latest update for the iPhone has angered a number of users, after freezing modified or unlocked devices and reportedly causing problems with unmodified phones as well.
The update, which upgrades the iPhone's software to version 1.1.1, fixed ten flaws in the device's applications. Apple also told users to expect that the software would lock their phones if the device had been hacked or modified. It's not clear if the anti-modification measure is an intentional feature of the patch.
"The thousands of open source developers who have put a cumulative (tens) of thousands of man hours into various apps and tools now have no way to get them onto the phone as well," iPhoneSIMFree, a company selling unlocked iPhones, stated on its news blog. "We are all looking into the jailbreak issue as it affects us all, and we will keep updating our site as well as the open source community at large with any information we can about this."
Hardware hackers worldwide worked over the summer to crack the iPhone's protection so that the device could be used on carriers besides AT&T and so that third-party software could be loaded onto the device. If iPhone users do file a lawsuit against the company, it could be discovered whether Apple intentionally disabled phones. Last November, the U.S. Copyright Office ruled that cellular users who circumvent security measures to use their phone on another carrier's network are exempted from prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
In the past, updates have been used to disable hacked or modified systems. DirecTV used an update to disable cable boxes that had been modified to get its service for free. The countermeasure, however, merely blocked the cable box -- which the company leases to the users -- from using the company's service, while Apple's update completely disabled consumer electronic devices which belong to its customers.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos