Not Dead Yet

Holy CowPeople seem to have misinterpreted my “dead cow” analogy and are assuming that I bricked my iPhone. Nope. I have both the original iPhone, upgraded to 1.1.1, and the unlocked iPhone still and forever at 1.0.2. I’m donating the latter to The Lab for further experimentation. I’ll keep the locked phone around so I can continue to cover the platform, which was the reason I bought it in the first place.
It’s not for myself that I am whining, or even others I know whose phone were bricked. My point is that it’s punitive for Apple to intentionally damage unlocked iPhones, and I believe that’s wrong.

To those who say we can’t know Apple’s intention, I’d respond that it would have been a simple bit of coding to checksum the modem firmware and refuse to update if it had been modified. In fact, that would have been a prudent precaution no matter what. By choosing not to do so Apple is making its intent clear, and absent any statement to the contrary from Cupertino I’m going to continue to think Apple wishes unlockers ill, no matter what Fake Steve Jobs says.

To prove I still have a working iPhone, here are two pictures from my hotel window in Vancouver. One with the iPhone and one with the Nokia N95. You tell me which you prefer.

Nokia N95

Nokia

iPhone

Apple

Oh, and incidentally on the Nokia and the unlocked iPhone uploading these images in full quality to Flickr takes one click using third party apps (ShoZu on the N95 and Send Picture on the iPhone). On the locked iPhone I had to dock to my Mac, import the photo into iPhoto, export it, and then upload to Flickr. That’s one of the reasons I want to be able add third-party apps to my mobile phones.

Now I’m going to run to the Fatburger next door and have a veggie burger. No more dead cows for me. Good night.

73 Replies to “Not Dead Yet”

  1. Hey Leo I thought you were a journalist. I think you are more of a whiner or maybe Dvorak’s brother. One week your happy with Apple, next week your not… Maybe you should stick with Microsoft products. You liked the phone at first and what about all the iphones that are not hacked that are working fine.

  2. Hey Leo,
    You are bang on!
    I live in europe…Here people have been having their cow tartare! I will sacrifice 3 chickens in hopes that the masses hear your message!

  3. ulric, I think Leo is a journalist, and a fine one. He is also entertaining and provocative (in a journalist kinda way, although he IS a damn fine looking man… we look somewhat alike, you see).
    He also has opinions and crafts arguments to express them quite well. I disagree with his opinion concerning the expectations surrounding the iPhone, but that’s neither here nor there.
    I see no reason to doubt his credentials.

  4. someone already stole my thunder but in case anyone missed it, you CAN upload to flickr with an unlocked iPhone without having to import to iPhoto.
    Once you’ve taken your picture on the iPhone just email it to a special flockr email account which ypu can easily setup from within your flickr settings.

  5. If the whining gets apple to release an SDK then it all be worth it. If they release the SDK to a chosen few developers than I’ll just keep on whining until they open it up. Give me Tap Tap Revolution or I’ll badmouth your product on the internet!
    –a whiny bitch

  6. look, the fact is that back in January we knew that Apple had made a deal with AT&T. on the iPhone box it clearly states a requirement of a 2 year AT&T contract. if anyone thought that Apple was going to let iPhone remain easily unlocked then i want some of whatever drugs they are on. it’s unbelievably naive to think that Apple’s updater should look at your phone and say ‘hey, you’ve unlocked your phone and we’ll just let you keep it that way.’
    now whether Apple should have partnered with AT&T and produced a locked phone is another discussion. but if you don’t think so the best way is vote with your wallet and buy something else.
    btw Leo, how often do you crash your N95 with all the 3rd party apps on it?

  7. David, you’re replying to the wrong person.
    I was replying to Mike – you know, the post right above!! – who was saying that Leo was a journalist, implying that he’s a reporter and therefore isn’t in the business of voicing opinons.. Well sorry to break this to you, but Leo is a broadcaster and commentator on TWIT, and there is no shame in this.

  8. I’m surprised at the number of people who don’t think that Apple is a bunch of dumbasses for destroying iPhones. I can only guess Apple is getting let off so easy because they are Apple. If any other company destroyed hardware like this I don’t think they would get as much of a pass as Apple is getting here.

  9. @Toby
    only people who updated their hacked phones despite the warning of what would happen had their phones bricked. if this had been a forced update i could share in the blograge. all you had to do was leave it at 1.0.2 and you could have an unlocked phone chock full of 3rd party apps.

  10. I am anxiously awaiting the chance to own an iPhone myself, since I live in Canada, where the release of the iPhone isn’t even on the radar.I’m not invested in a device I haven’t used or even seen in person yet, but I am tired of the hyperbole and disinformation that is being propagated by the many vocal critics of an issue they do not seem to fully comprehend.
    In his blog posts, Leo has allowed the misperception to remain that Apple deliberately set out to disable iPhones. Many of the commenters are no better informed. Whether or not you think that Apple had an obligation to actively invest the effort to ensure that the 1.1.1 update didn’t interfere with either unlocking hacks or third-party software hacks (and I do not think they had any such obligation), it is wrong to suggest that Apple actually acted out of a position of spite or an active desire to “destroy hardware” (as one commenter put it) without providing proof of that assertion.
    Everyone was clearly warned about the potential consequences of the update and they had to click an acknowledgment of that risk before installing it. You rolls the dice, you takes your chances. Phil Schiller of Apple went so far as to state on the record that they were not proactively out to disable the hacked iPhones. Even Engadget acknowledges that, and that’s saying something. What Apple did do was close the exploited security holes that allowed the hacks to work, and update the firmware in a way that did not play well with the reverse-engineering done to enable these features.
    The community (including hackers and bloggers and tech “journalists”) that enabled the problematic hacks and minimized the risks of installing the 1.1.1 update should be the ones we pressure to fix the iPhones they caused to be disabled, versus complaining about it bitterly in the hopes that Apple does.
    Anyone who suggests that this was a search-and-destroy mission on Apple’s part is being intellectually dishonest.

  11. Rob F,
    I didn’t make any claim about the intent of this action by Apple, I just said it was stupid.
    Despite what Phil Schiller says, we can’t know the complete nature of Apple’s ultimate intent. However, we can work from the effect backwards, applying the knowledge that Apple had to posses, and deduce the choices they had to have made.
    1. Apple knew about unlocking (the warning/press release proves this)
    2. Apple crafted the update to stop unlocking (self-evident)
    3. Apple was aware that the update could damage unlocked phones (the warning/press release proves this)
    4. Despite 1, 2 and 3 above, Apple released the update anyway.
    I don’t think anyone would argue much with any of the above four statements. The question then becomes, since Apple was aware (prior to release) that the update could damage unlocked phones, how difficult would it have been to change the update so that it would not damage unlocked phones? (granting that they are under no obligation to do so).
    If it would have been trivial to change the update so that phones would not be destroyed, then I would argue that it would have been wise for them to do so. Even if it would have been moderately complex, I would still argue that it would have been wise to do so.
    Some people seem to be arguing that Apple should just proceed as if they are ignorant about unlocking – that a warning is enough and the knowledge they have about unlocking should not effect any of their other actions. I would argue that acting while denying your knowledge is always a bad choice.

  12. You bought the phone with agreement. If you don’t like the terms then don’t buy the phone. I say let the market figure it out. The consumer has all the power.

  13. Can somebody help me out here? I am having a wee bit of a problem understanding all this unlocking and bricking issue.
    Why is it okay to have “terms of service” rules for websites, ISP’s, software of all kinds, but not hardware/software hybrid solutions?
    What is it about having a device in your hands that makes “what I do with it is my business” so compelling an argument?
    Is a piece of hardware something fundamentally different? If so, explain please.
    Please understand me. I have no dog in this fight. I don’t even have an iPhone.

  14. Let’s see, some people hacked their iPhones to unlock them. This act voided the warranty of the iPhone and violated the terms of the EULA. Before releasing the 1.1.1 update Apple warned that hacked/unlocked iPhones may be bricked if they installed the update. Having unlocked your phone, Apple is under no obligation of supporting your iPhone. By unlocking it, you have left the reservation, you are on your own. Apple warned unlockers and hackers that the update might very well brick their iPhones. How can you blame Apple if an unlocker/hacker, to whom Apple owes nothing, is dumb enough to install an update that they were told could result in a bricked iPhone? I fail to see how Apple did anything wrong here.
    Leo, you talk about a check sum, as has been pointed out before, what if your software is hosed and you need to restore the iPhone? Would you be happy if you couldn’t restore your iPhone because the damaged software failed the checksum check? Since Apple has not approved or encouraged native apps development for the iPhone, there should be nothing to check for anyway. Apple is under no obligation to preserve any hacks made to their software. What if one of these apps is incompatible with the update and begins to crash your phone. Are you going to call Apple and demand tech support?
    Apple never encouraged developers to write native iPhone apps. They told developers to write web apps for the iPhone only. I fail to see how developers can be angry with Apple for encrypting their software. I am sure Apple didn’t do so to harm developers but to protect the phone from unlockers. Surely their agreement with AT&T demands that they take steps to protect the phone from being used with other carriers. Should Apple risk their agreement with AT&T to make a few hackers and developers happy? Apple sold you a phone not an open development platform. Apple hasn’t taken away any of the features they offered when they sold you the iPhone. If you want to blame someone, blame the unlockers. Their actions forced Apple to lock down the iPhone.
    What I find befuddling is why an unlocker/hacker would think it was a good idea to apply the 1.1.1 update after the warnings. Any hacker with 1/64 of a brain should have figured that once they hacked their phone they were on their own. They had left the supervised, safe pool, as it were and had to learn to swim on their own in the big wide ocean. Unlockers can’t blame Apple if they drown outside the Apple pool.
    Apple didn’t kill your cow, you did.

  15. One last comment, how would an updater determine the difference between a benevolent hack from a malicious hack? What if the hack installed some sort of trojan horse? Why should Apple not treat each and every modification of the iPhone OS as a malicious hack? It seems to me that many people are too quick to ascribe malicious, predatory motives to Apple while looking upon the hackers as being noble. The truth must lie somewhere in the middle. I am giving Apple the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

  16. Weird, I can upload my photos to flickr without hacking my iPhone, I just email it. Then again, I’ve never liked cameras in phones so I’ve used it about oh, 10 times now. So I don’t know, and don’t care how the phone takes pictures vs. others. I do like that after I import, sort, and crop my pictures from my 5D in Aperture that they look fine for showin folks.

  17. i don’t entirely agree with anybody on this, because there’s A LOT of speculation and heresay running around.
    and although i don’t know leo on a personal level, after watching/ reading/ listening to him since the zdtv days, i feel as though i have a pretty good sense of his character. and whether you personally agree or not with what he’s saying at one particular moment, he’s still doing his best to speak up for and inform the end user.
    man, if anything i’d expect a bunch of windows people complaining about him talking mac up all the time.
    and on that note, anybody who has been a mac/apple person for any extended period of time (let’s say, at the very least pre-os x– but can i get a moof?) should realize by now that although they’re certainly the best platform of what’s currently out there, they are BY NO MEANS faultless and angelic.
    so if any of you complaining about his journalist integrity can post a link to your own blog or podcast here i’d appreciate it. thanks. i’ll be sure NOT to check it out.
    BIG UPS LEO!!!

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