Unlocked iPhone

We knew it would happen and it has. A group of intrepid hackers are hard at work trying to unlock the iPhone.

The issues are probably complex since the iPhone is activated via iTunes connecting to verify your credit etc. So, they need to get around something that is more complex than most regular cellphones use.

The other difficult part they need to solve is that most of the phone functions need to continue to work after unlocking it. So say I use my T-Mobile number, I am fine if visual voicemail doesn’t work, but I won’t be happy if I can’t sync contacts or use Google Maps.

You can follow their progress on their wiki and on the MacNN forum.

Do I think they’ll crack it tomorrow? No. But I do think they will crack it. How well and with how little disruption to the software is yet to be seen. And how they deal with firmware updates from Apple will be another interesting thing.

But, for all these reasons, I am cheering for them to free the iPhone!

  • More power to the hackers, but the big question for me is whether they’ll unlock the phone before someone else comes up with a phone that is better and more open.

  • Guru

    do you think apple will be happy to allow this?

  • eas

    I’m eager to see them succeed, but I’m even more eager for Apple’s exclusive with AT&T to expire.

    I suspect that Apple will be releasing updates to the iPhone on a regular basis for the next year with the following dynamic:
    1. The updates will deliver compelling new functionality, so people will really want to install them.
    2. The updates will not work on a hacked iPhone system, so people will have to do a clean reinstall.
    3. The clean reinstall will block the attack vectors previously used to unlock the system.
    4. The hacking teams will have to find new ways in, but by the time they figure it out, a new update will be coming in for a landing.

    Finally, interest will wane, on both the side of the hackers, and the consumers of their hacks. The dynamic has already played out to a large degree with iTunes cracking (though some people have been carrying the torch forward). It also seems to have happened among people making it possible to run OSX on generic PC hardware.

  • Bruce Colwin

    I’ve read that one concern with an unlocked iPhone is whether the non-calling features, such as visual voicemail, Google Maps and iTunes sync, would still work.

  • I like the iPhone, but I prefer sea kayaking!!

  • indira

    Hi Shripriya – hope everything is well with you. Haven’t seen a post from you in a while…
    Indira

  • Shripriya

    @ Jeffrey – I think the answer is yes. After all, no one has come up with a better iPod!

    @ Guru – It is not in Apple’s hands – the hackers are going around Apple.

    @ eas – you are probably right (sadly). However, they have just hacked it so that you can use a pre-paid card. And none of the other functions are affected. So there is hope. But you’re right it might become a cat and mouse game.

    @ Bruce – fair concern. Their hack for prepaid cards lets most things work – but YouTube does not…

    @ Vertiboy – Haha – yes, sea kayaking is preferable to showering. For everyone else – private joke based on Veriboy’s blog.

    @ Indira – yes, thanks.

    @ TGFI – aargh… dang it. If I had posted more frequently would I have been spared from this tag?? 😉

  • I dont think so

  • How about today, it is legal or not