While ownership of an iPhone makes you the envy of all your friends, ownership of an unlocked iPhone makes you the envy of all iPhone owners - but could Apple really be about to throw a spanner in the works?
In statement late last night the company declared:
Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed. Apple plans to release the next iPhone software update, containing many new features including the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store later this week. Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones. Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone's warranty.
So what should we make of this? Well, to be honest, I'm surprised - why would Apple care what customers do with their iPhones once they get them home? Yes, I appreciate the company has revenue sharing schemes in place with AT&T, O2, Orange and T-Mobile but surely it also appreciates that unlocking software is of great benefit to them: it sells more iPhones!
Consequently I can only see this announcement from Apple as scaremongering and I doubt it has the brass to release an update that strikes down thousands upon thousands of iPhones in a single stroke. After all, how many potential customers would be instantly frightened away?
As Apple says, a major iPhone update is due this week which will add the WiFi iTunes stores to its list of features. I'd suggest we let the brave/foolish unlocked iPhoners go first... just in case.