we updated kirk’s iphone on thursday night. completely without incident. he synced, the update installed, it restarted and relocked itself, and it now works perfectly with lots of added functionality. as we expected, because we didn’t ever attempt an unauthorized hack. not even the so-easy-a-child-could-do-it ringtone hack. however begrudgingly, we paid 99 cents for the ringtones on the phone.
i treat my mac the same way. applications only. i try not to install anything that modifies the system, even though these mods are authorized, as opposed to the iphone, where all mods are unauthorized. self-contained apps only, as much as possible. less trouble that way, come update time.
of course, the media coverage of the update makes it seem that the vast majority of iphone users are howling, wailing, and bemoaning the loss of their precious at the hands of the evil apple empire, which willfully turned their functionings into non-functionings.
give me a break.
if you are savvy enough to be able to unlock your iphone, which is in itself not the easiest of processes, then you should have been savvy enough to have found and read the admonitions of apple, who implored people not to update modified iphones lest they become unusable. that news was all over the internet for days before the update was issued.
and you are also savvy enough to have found and read the news that the dev team that produced the unlock method implored people not to update unlocked phones lest they become unusable, until they come up with a workaround.
and you are also savvy enough to realize that, if your phone is locked but you have installed third-party apps, you should heed apple’s advice, not install the update, and wait to see how everything shakes out. or, at the very least, restore your iphone to pristine condition before updating.
so, in spite of apple’s warning’s and in spite of the dev team’s warnings, these people updated their iphones anyway. guess what happened? in some cases, their iphones were unusable. unlocked phones were definitely unusable. gee, what a revelation. if only they had, somehow, been able to know.
oh, that’s right. everybody on the internet told them, but they didn’t listen.
if you don’t update your modified phone, will it still work? yes it will. the people with hacked phones who didn’t apply the update are still merrily using their iphones on tmobile or using their third-party apps or whatever, and are completely unaffected.
is apple legally responsible for the non-functioning iphones? hell no they are not. you can argue whether or not apple should have been a better corporate citizen in all this, and i personally think that it’s not only bad form but bad business for apple to have done what they did, but the fact remains that no one held a gun to anyone’s head and made them update.
is it legal to unlock or modify your phone? sure it is. it’s your phone. you paid for it. do what you want to with it. but when you modify your iphone, you are taking a step down a lonely road. no matter how small or insignificant the hack may seem to be, the first mod you make means that you are assuming full responsibility for maintaining the hardware and software, with whatever assistance the unauthorized third-party developers who produced the hacks you installed choose (or choose not) to provide. and it’s your responsibility, once you have hacked, to keep yourself updated on the status of that hack, and how the hack affects your use of your iphone.
responsibility. you assumed it when you hacked. you can’t then whine because apple bricked your iphone. apple didn’t brick your iphone. you did.
from the ny times article:
Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman, said that when people went to update their software with their computer through iTunes, a warning appeared on the computer screen, making it clear that any unauthorized modifications to the iPhone software violated the agreement that people entered into when they bought the phone. “The inability to use your phone after making unauthorized modifications isn’t covered under the iPhone warranty” Ms. Bowcock said.
from the same article:
Ross Good, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had added several programs, including one for instant messaging. After the upgrade, the phone went into a semifrozen state.
When Mr. Good called Apple, the reception was cool. “They said I put third-party software on my phone, and so it was my fault no matter what.”
Joel Robison, a systems network engineer near Seattle, said his phone stopped working immediately after he installed the upgrade. He said that when he took it to an Apple store, he was accused of having unlocked the phone. But he said that with the exception of one aborted attempt to install a piece of outside software, he had made no modifications to the phone.
“Their accusation was very damaging to my opinion of Apple’s service,” Mr. Robison said.
stop whining. start taking responsibility. apple did. the producers of your hacks did.
update: daring fireball’s john gruber and i arrive at the same conclusion at independent times, but of course he states it more elegantly. hopefully his broader reach will prompt some people to think twice about their entitlement.