John Lech Johansen is a genius, as one of the more infamous hardware hackers in Europe (he may be State side now) he has been responsible for some of the major hacks in recent memory (specifically DVD encryption). So his comments on the effects of Apples recent update on his how famous iPhone hack (which you can use with any carrier) are ... interesting.

I was expecting that the iPhone firmware update would simply relock unlocked iPhones so that they could only be used with AT&T. I was wrong. As you may know by now, after an unlocked iPhone has been upgraded with the 1.1.1 firmware it will refuse to activate with any SIM. The technical evidence so far indicates that this was intentional by Apple. Although the iPhone is still alive, it’s completely useless. It’s essentially a brick.

Has Nokia or Sony Ericsson ever bricked or refused service on an unlocked phone? Not that I’ve heard of, and if they did, they would have been quickly sued in several countries where consumer rights are more strongly protected.

Did Sony ever brick PSPs over homebrew software? Did Microsoft ever overwrite someone’s BIOS with garbage because they detected an illegitimate Windows installation?

In light of other things Apple has done lately, such as adding an encrypted hash to the iPod database to lock out non-Apple software and disabling TV-out on the iPod unless the 3rd party accessory you’re using has an Apple authentication chip, it’s evident that Apple is well on its way to become one of the most consumer hostile tech companies.

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