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What if…

Posted By Leo On September 29, 2007 @ 8:06 am In Blog | 193 Comments

What if you bought a computer that you couldn’t install any of your own applications on? (Stupid, I know, but what if?)

What if that computer required you to sign up for two years Internet service with one particular company, and prohibited using any other ISP? (Not that the ISP subsidized the price or anything – the computer wasn’t cheap.)

What if some bright guys came along and figured out how to install your own applications on the computer? And then showed you how to choose your own ISP? You’d do it, right? I mean, why not, it’s your computer. But wait.

What if the company that made the computer sent down an update that checked to see if you had installed your own applications and deleted them if so?

What if that same update checked to see if you were using the required ISP, and if you weren’t turned the computer into a useless, unfixable, piece of glass and plastic?

Would you ever buy a computer from that company again?

Would you ever trust a company like that again?

Addendum: Some Apple and cell phone customers seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome [1], so let me put it another way.

Let’s say you’re selling me a cow. You tell me that that cow is being sold for the express purpose of making milk. I agree, and buy the cow.

Later I decide that I’d prefer to make cheese. You say that’s a violation of our agreement and kill my cow.

When I paid for the cow it became my property, to do with as I please. If you don’t like how I’m using it you may choose not to do any further business with me but you don’t get to kill my cow.

And, by the way, warning me you’d kill my cow if I keep making cheese doesn’t make it all right.

The lawyers will point out that contractually I agreed to your terms. True. But I don’t think the contract said anything about killing the cow did it?

Apple’s sole redress is to halt all support of my phone. If we let Apple destroy our property for not following the rules we’re telling the music industry it’s ok to destroy a hard drive containing illegal songs, the cable company to fry our TVs for stealing cable. That is vigilante justice and a direct threat to the rule of law.

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193 Responses to “What if…”

  1. armand on September 29th, 2007 8:13 am

    So, are you saying goodbye to Apple Leo?

  2. Betushco on September 29th, 2007 8:20 am

    The worst part of it all…

    Yes.. i am going to buy from them again…

  3. Richard on September 29th, 2007 8:26 am

    What if you knew that the company liked to keep in control of their products.

    What if you knew they didn’t want other applications on their product

    What if you bought the product knowing about the ISP lock-in and contract.

    What if noone actually forced you in to buying the product, but rather you got caught in the hype.

    What if you only unlocked your product using crowdsourced hacks and knew deep down that this was against their wishes.

    What if you’re just peeved that you’ve been caught out by the only obvious course of action left to the company in order to protect it’s contract with the ISP.

    What if I begin to sound like Scott…OMG

  4. Kyle Essary on September 29th, 2007 8:27 am

    If the company made it clear from the start (as Apple did) that those were the requirements that came along with buying the computer, then I wouldn’t fault the company for my violating the purchase agreement (which everyone did that unlocked their iPhone) and rendering my machine useless through making a decision that I knew would possibly lead to rendering my machine useless (which people have been speculating about for weeks).

  5. Tollie Williams on September 29th, 2007 8:27 am

    I’m no legal expert, but doesn’t this really come down to fairness in marketing? If a rational customer were to believe he/she is licensing the product under a specified terms of service, and assuming the license spelled out the results of such modifications, then the customer should not be upset in retrospect.

    However, if the rational customer is lead by the marketing to believe he/she is purchasing the hardware to own and use in whichever way they choose then the customer, beyond being rightfully upset, probably should have legal grounds for damages.

    Unfortunately, in the case of the iPhone, thanks to CDMA networks and SIM locking, the waters might be muddy enough to argue that the rational cell phone customer believes the purchase of the phone to be an extension of the cellular service license.

    On the other hand, the fact that iPhones were sold in computer (Apple) stores with no contract or licensing taking place at the time of purchase, is probably a good case for arguing that the customer believed he/she was purchasing to own the hardware.

    Just my 2 cents.

    PS. Excellent new blog, Leo.

  6. Ken on September 29th, 2007 8:27 am

    I had been considering an i-pod touch, but I think I’ll reconsider.

    (Sent via my Nokia N800)

  7. Chris Wall on September 29th, 2007 8:33 am

    I wouldn’t if it was a computer no it would be very silly. Different story though i think with a certain device I think you are talking about……..

    Buying the computer you knew that you wouldn’t be able to install your own applications on it without the company being annoyed.

    You accepted that you would have to use that ISP for the 2 years.

    You might want to try to switch of course. But if you were in the big boss’ pants for today looking at your relationship with the ISP and the money you are loosing from it would you not want to make the money.

    I don’t think it is the computer companies fault more the ISP they would be the ones loosing the most money.

    If you don’t like the terms, don’t buy the computer.

  8. Mark on September 29th, 2007 8:33 am

    Interesting, Leo. While Apple made it clear that the phone was locked down both as far as apps go, and the service provider, to think they would quite willingly cripple the phone if it was unlocked is unthinkable.

  9. armand on September 29th, 2007 8:41 am

    I still will use apple products. Every company has restrictions of some type and it is our choice to live with them or not. I think the good outweighs the bad when it comes to Apple. You have mentioned that you feel Apple is a monopoly but I am not sure that I agree with that. They certainly do not have a major market share except for the ipods. Maybe thats what you mean by monopoly. But they still have to protect thier products.

  10. Greg Smith on September 29th, 2007 8:52 am

    I’m one of the biggest Applefanboys in the world. I will continue to buy Macs. I haven’t and won’t buy an iPhones.

    Apple never made the claim that 3rd party apps could be installed. Apple specifically said 3rd party apps could NOT be installed. Same with the service provider. You bought the phone anyway.

    You hacked the phone to do the things that aren’t supported. Apple said the latest update will break your hacks. THEY WARNED YOU AHEAD OF TIME. You installed the updated and it broke your iphone just like they said it would. Now your complaining and saying you don’t trust Apple?

    Vote with your dollars. If the iPhone doesn’t have the features or capabilities you want, don’t buy it.

  11. Adam on September 29th, 2007 9:01 am

    And this is why I won’t buy an iPhone.


  12. Twisted Intellect on September 29th, 2007 9:03 am

    If the computer in question was a Mac Pro in a room full of 386-machines, you would…

  13. Jim2 on September 29th, 2007 9:07 am

    Apple is known to stick to computer dealers that want to sell MACs. One has to jump through hoops just in order to sell iPODs never mind MACs. As well the pricing for the items are at the same price as on the Apple website. There is a reason why there are few Apple stores at least up here in Canada. Its too darn expensive and very little for Return on Investment.

    For this reason it will be a cold day in you know where before I ever buy an Apple product.

  14. fishbert on September 29th, 2007 9:08 am

    With the howling over the price drop, now the noise over bricked iPhones and the appearance that they’re going out of their way to make 3rd party software as difficult as possible to install… Apple is sure making some stupid PR moves lately.

    Part of me hopes the trend continues, just so that they generate as much of a backlash as possible to set them straight.

  15. Adam Turetzky on September 29th, 2007 9:10 am

    Thanks Leo, you have certainly illustrated what is so flawed with the American consumer and economy when it comes to communications systems. Why do we put up with this? They are our airwaves, our wires, and these companies are selling us products and services which should be separate from one another but they’ve switched the marketplace to where we’re begging them to use what’s rightfully ours!

    I think you have pointed out what Apple might be doing on purpose to spark a revolution. AT&T should be begging us to use their cellular service vs. T-Mobiles’ or Verizon. No handset should be sold locked in to any “provider” and no provider should claim ownership of any network unless we change that network back to a not for profit public utility monopoly.

    So perhaps Apple is going to the extreme to show us how messed up this whole market is and if so you’ve just sharpened their veiled point that’s for sure.

    What if Chevrolet only sold cars that could be driven on Chevy designated streets, assigned to them at auction from a federal agency charged with protecting the streets for public use from private companies like Chevrolet, and these cars could only use Chevy designated gasoline and parts?

  16. Julava on September 29th, 2007 9:10 am

    Yeah, but it’s all because of that partnering deal between AT&T and Apple, so can’t just not trust one of the companies.

    I feel that if someone hacks the iPod Touch to the same degree, your warranty would be voided, but I doubt Apple would go through all the trouble to undo what you did since there are no partnerships to worry about. Take the Apple TV for example.

  17. Mark Thomas on September 29th, 2007 9:11 am

    I’m sorry, but it’s getting to the point where I can’t listen to your “podcasts” anymore, because of the constant whine of Apple and the iPhone.

    I have an iPhone, I love it. Does it sucked that it’s locked? Sure, but 95 percent of all cell phones are.

    This wasn’t a secret, it was made very clear. Locked, ATT only, no 3g, and no 3rd party apps. If you hate Apple so much, go back to your Nokia ($800, bad battery life, 4 times the size, etc) phone and please stop complaining!!

    3G? Doesn’t exist for 80 percent of us, and that includes me, so why would I want a 3g battery sucking phone? This is for the general masses, not super geeks.

    98 percent of the population doesn’t want to install flickr apps, jaiku apps, whatever else apps. They like me just want a phone that works, checks my email, can browse the internet, and easily sync’s to my computer. The music and video is a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

    Apple has every right to do what they do, and it’s not like they didn’t say this either. Oh my God they lowered the price!! How dare they! Happens all the time, nobody would have complained if they raised it, nor would those of us who bought it, have to send in another $100 dollars. People would have complained that they would have bought it, if they knew the price was going up. Apple can NEVER win. Someone is always unhappy.

    They could have easily put out the 1.1.1 patch and bricked all the unlocked phones. But no they WARNED people before they did it.

    Give Apple a break. Compare them to other profit making companies, I think Apple holds up pretty well. As with the beauty of freedom, if you don’t like it buy a different computer, phone, etc. I bet you’ll be back.

  18. Ari Kukkonen on September 29th, 2007 9:31 am

    yes, I can understand people get upset when they cannot use their iphone all the way they like. But you have to remember that Apples iPhone business model lies heavily on the one-operator-monopoly. And because of the money they are protecting that.
    The own application part I think was propably accident, it was just too heavy release. Just like Windows XP SP2… EXACTLY like SP2 on the Microsoft Windows XP, a lot of programs stopped working.

  19. AndyP on September 29th, 2007 9:55 am

    Totally agree w/ several posters above — Apple has clearly spelled out to iPhone customers the do’s and don’ts. If you don’t like the terms of use for the product, don’t buy it. And that’s why I don’t own one.

    That said, the hardball approach that Apple is taking, while protecting their profit margin in the short term, is going to bite them back in the long run, by souring both their customer base and thier image with the public at large.

    And btw, Leo’s analogy is a good one — in case anyone hadn’t noticed, the iPhone is a computer!

  20. Cole on September 29th, 2007 10:24 am

    C’mon people. Just because you can make excuses for a company doesn’t mean the feeling of being “screwed” is eliminated.

    It really makes me sick to see so many people defend the decisions of big corporations rather than defend the consumer. So what if our needs are a little wacky, we’re the ones paying for the product o why shouldn’t we have expectations.

  21. armand on September 29th, 2007 10:30 am

    didn’t the Apple update to the phone just brick the ones that were opened so the customer could change carriers? I know that it wiped out a lot of the 3rd part apps and hopefully that aspect will change. So, let Apple put a warning with the phone that support for it will be discontinued if you don’t follow the rules. I do take exception that you think we are all just blindly following Apple like sheep. I think we are aware of the inherent pitfalls with whatever product we buy. and until laws change concerning illegal downloads and stealing cable we are unfortunatly stuck in that silly place.

  22. LSUtwit on September 29th, 2007 10:35 am

    I can understand their motivations for trying to keep people using at and t, but I was happily using some cool 3rd party apps like iflickr, windows messanger, blackjack, navizone, lights out, zork, the list goes on. Now I’m stuck with 1.1.1 and the crappy wifi store. AND they disabled the ability to go back to previous versions which was always an option before. If they’re going to block third party apps, at least release a sdk or something an offer some apps besides calc, calander weather and safari.

  23. db on September 29th, 2007 10:39 am

    Sure it’s wrong that the latest update is bricking phones.

    Sure it’s wrong that they won’t let you install 3rd party apps.

    Yes, there were warnings. Everyone knew this was ATT only and there wasn’t third party app support.

    So, if you really needed a phone that worked on any network and you really needed to install third party apps, why did you buy an iPhone?

    I think the people that got it and don’t mind being on ATT and never leave the country are happy with the feature set of the phones and probably don’t have any idea that this problem exists.

    The rest of you should have bought something else.

    You have to have the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t try to drive a nail with a screwdriver, would you?

  24. Scott Wilder on September 29th, 2007 10:43 am

    Leo, I’m a big fan of your podcasts and your point of view. But I’m going to disagree with you about the iPhone.

    The fact of the matter is that in the USA; the cell phone business has always been a razor and razorblades paradigm. To solely blame Apple is to ignore the partnership with AT&T that made the successful launch of the product possible.

    Yeah Apple could let people unlock phones and add apps carte blanch. But what company would be willing to sign an exclusive contract with them ever again? Leo, if you signed an exclusive agreement; wouldn’t your integrity motivate you to honor those agreements?

    For some reason Apple is being held to a different standard than all the other players in the cell phone market. That’s not right. the iPhone is not a computer even though it has computer-like functionality. It’s Cell phone with added features.

    In regards to the iPhone; Don’t judge them by what you want them to be. Judge them by the reality of the rest of the cell phone industry.

  25. Bricked phone? | wind(the)frog(dot)net on September 29th, 2007 10:53 am

    […] Leo has posted his displeasure over the bricking of the iPhones with the latest update. He makes some great analogies to his point. […]

  26. Joe on September 29th, 2007 10:56 am

    What if … we stopped obsessing about the iPhone?

  27. LSUtwit on September 29th, 2007 10:58 am

    It’s not as if iphone isn’t capable of running additional apps, it’s running OS X for christ sakes. The technology is there. They are artificially crippling it, most likely, to keep people from unlocking it. The way apple has been acting lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new iphone at christmas with 3g, and download able apps, screwing the early adopters again.

  28. AndyP on September 29th, 2007 11:02 am

    Another comment, as Leo has added an addendum to his original post..

    I disagree with Leo’s assertion that Apple is engaged in vigilante justice — he uses the argument that it’s the same as if a cable TV company destroyed his television set for stealing a cable signal.

    But the iPhone situation is not quite the same.. while it is true that the iPhone also serves as a camera, media player, etc., just as a television can function usefully in ways other than connected to cable TV service, it is also true that the iPhone has been clearly marketed and sold under the terms that its cell phone function will work only with the AT&T wireless network. The purchase of a television set comes with no similar condition or expectation.

    Now, whether bricking the iPhone is a smart long term business move on Apple’s part and is helping them to win customers is a wholly different question and debate, but it seems that the company has been up front with its customers over the cell phone carrier issue.

    Further, Leo is in effect alleging that, by installing the latest iPhone software update, Apple is unfairly “killing his cow” i.e. destroying his property.

    Also not quite true — just don’t install the update (of which Apple supplied you and other iPhone users fair warning), and your iPhone will continue to work as well as the day you purchased it.

  29. Winemaster on September 29th, 2007 11:15 am

    The if analogy of Leo’s for the computer should be changed to when.
    I can see Apple and Microsoft doing this kind of thing within the next decade if they aren’t kept in check.

  30. LSUtwit on September 29th, 2007 11:37 am

    I’m guessing that most of these people taking apple’s side don’t own an iphone. If so, just admit that if you don’t own the device being discussed, how can you feel so righteous when you haven’t even had the experience of using the phone and/or the apps?

    Of course everyone was warned and should have waited before updating if we wanted apps, but before this update there was always the option of rolling back to previous firmware versions. I updated wanting to check out the additions this update was offering, assuming (stupidly i know) that there was always an option to roll back. Yes I was warned, but I was not warned that the option to roll back firmware versions would be disabled.

  31. Tim on September 29th, 2007 11:49 am

    Leo, your cow example reminded me of a local story just this week.

    The Catholic Church sold one of their local Churches to a performance company and stipulated during the sale that no adult performances be played there ever. The new owner’s very first play this week was “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll.”

    The Catholic Church went to court and got a restraining order and the play was stopped cold. The new owners had to convince the Church they were not violating the sale agreement, and finally did so–but they couldn’t do anything until the Catholic Church was appeased.

    However, these owners will always face the continual threat of their cow, er, theatre being killed at the request of the Catholic Church.

  32. Jade Robbins on September 29th, 2007 11:56 am

    You don’t HAVE to put on the iphone update. When a person hacks the iphone they are violating the terms of service and therefore are rejecting all future support of the product from the company (INCLUDING updates).

    People just go so complacent with apple being the feel good company and forgetting that their primary concern (as with all companies) is getting a return for their stakeholders.

  33. Mark Thomas on September 29th, 2007 12:12 pm

    This is so overblown, and to the addendum. Not in the cell phone business Leo, but now you’re noticing? It’s not a computer it’s a cell phone, sure it’s computer like, but it’s a cell phone. Sold as a cell phone. Heck my refrigerator is a computer, so if I modified it, I’m pretty sure it’d void the warranty.

    To the cow thing, let’s say you bought a cow from me, but I own the pasture, but I agree to rent the pasture to you. You can take the cow off the pasture, but once you do that, whatever happens to it is your responsibility, but if you wanna keep it on my pasture, you gotta follow some rules, cause there is a million other cows on the pasture, and they have as much right to use it as you, following the same rules.

    As part of renting, I might upgrade your cow, for free, since you’re suing my pasture, but why should I let you upgrade your cow if you’re not using the pasture? You packed up and left, why should I give you free upgrades to the cow when you’re using it on on a different pasture? It costs me money to design and test these upgrades, and keep the pasture running.

    You voided the warranty when you modified the software, just like the agreement you agreed to said when you signed up for phone service. Just like all other locked cell phones.

    Why not all the crying about the locked original “Rokr”? I’m sure in there is more to come with the phone, it’s only been out 3 months, give it some time.

    Supposed you installed a application, that used your cellphone to transmit data constantly, like a DoS attack, say it affects the cell network, say it affects your voice calls. Who’s gonna take the blame for that? Who’s it gonna cost money to correct and support all the calls complaining about edge or att being down, or slow (slower than normal)? There is more to this than Apple worrying about the poor one percent of people that hacked there iPhone. And as a iPhone user, I don’t want my cell service affected and bothered by it.

  34. Phil on September 29th, 2007 12:12 pm


    You need to be a bit more precise with your second analogy.

    You would have to surgically enhance the cow to mimic the fact that you are updating with apps or unlocking the phone.

    Continuining with the analogy…..If the person who sold it to you provided medication to keep the cow healthy which required injections every two month, but told you that if you had altered the cow in any way, the medication could cause the cow to die – would you accept the next injection?

    The first analogy is also a little bogus as well – you were not sold a computer – you were sold a phone. The implementation may have been a computer, but that is the choice of the manufacturer. Your use of the word computer in this case implies that since it is a computer then it MUST be programmable by the owner. The truth is that it MAY be programmed by the owner, but the product is not supported as a computer, so there may be consequences.

  35. Paul on September 29th, 2007 12:16 pm

    OK, Leo, I own an iPhone, jailbroken and all, and I still disagree with you. You’re failing to realize that when Apple updates something, they completely overwrite it with a new app, which is why 0.0.1 updates on the Mac weigh 30-50 MB. Its the same for the iPhone. 1.1.1 completely replaced the entire OS and and of the apps, but here’s the important part: all of the data INCLUDING the jailbreak apps are still there. Just look at the summary bar on iTunes and you’ll see a big chunk of “Other” data. Just wait for the next jailbreak.
    As for me defending Apple, has it not occurred to you that the reason every update breaks stuff could be the same reason why Apple hasn’t released an SDK? Since no one that I’ve seen has managed to decompile any of the iPhone software, we have absolutely no idea what Apple is doing or changing between releases. The most likely explanation is that Apple is still learning how to make OS X stable on ARM and its internal SDK is in constant flux. Can you imagine all the whining if they released a public SDK and then completely changed it every month for a year? Don’t forget that it took Apple five years to release OS X after they acquired NeXT and it wasn’t until 10.2 that it was really stable. Tiger is the first version of OS X that was really good, and it was released NINE YEARS after the NeXT acquisition, so clearly OS development is not that easy.
    As for unlocking, I’ve bricked a PSP and several motherboards with firmware upgrades, some legit, some not. When you release the magic smoke because you did something that is unauthorized, just grin and bear it, because it was your fault. If you want to run custom firmware that depends on a software vulnerability, don’t complain when it breaks because Apple fixed a buffer overflow, especially when they warned you that the update would brick it. And when the hackers also warned you not to update.

  36. Phil on September 29th, 2007 12:21 pm

    And as for the ability to roll back to a previous version. I think the Apple statement did say that the update may make the phone permanently inoperable.

    If it was always going to be possible to do a restore, then why would they say it in those terms?

    I don’t have an iPhone – I live in the UK – I will be buying one when they come out. This episode hasn’t affected my choice of buying an iPhone.

  37. Mel on September 29th, 2007 12:55 pm

    They came for my right to un-DRM’d music and I called no one.
    They came for my right to fast forward through commercials and I called no one.
    They came for my right to put Linux on my PC and I called no one.
    But when they came for my unlocked iPhone with third party applications I couldn’t call a soul because…

    They had bricked my phone!!!

  38. Michael on September 29th, 2007 1:22 pm

    I had thought about in those terms until I read what Leo wrote above. What Apple should have done was have the update software check the hardware; if it had been modified, they could then refuse to update it aka “choose not to do any further business with me .” Instead, they chose to kill the cow.

    I had been seriously planning to buy an iPhone after my Sprint contract ran out next year. Now I am thinking I will wait at least until the AT&T agreement runs out in 2012.

  39. shih tzu paradise on September 29th, 2007 1:41 pm

    When I first heard that Apple was going to lock in iPhone buyers to a contract with AT&T without the cost of the iPhone being subsidized, as is the case with most other of these phone deals…well that was the deal breaker for me.

    I was amazed that so many people still bought it.

    These folks remind me of cases of someone who won’t leave an abusive partner…’but I love Apple (and Apple loves me) and they make shiny, pretty gadgets I must have’…notwithstanding cost or restrictions.

    Hey…whatever works for you.

  40. Robertson on September 29th, 2007 1:43 pm

    To the people that say Apple warned people, They are giving people too much credit. Sure a press release is a warning, Sure a click through warning is a warning but if Apple was serious about preventing damage they should have had the software installer abort if it detected modified phones and refuse to update or mak an offer to the user to restore the phone to factory original status while relocking the phone for use with AT&T.

    Apple having the installer run without checking to be sure the phone will not be damaged in a unrecoverable way is simply inexcusable. How hard is it for Apple’s installer software to verify the status of the phone before upgrading it and refusing to continue if damage will be done.

    So I agree in my opinion this was Apple intentionally damaging other peoples property.

    People could buy the iPhone and walk out of the apple store without signing any agreement with Apple or AT&T. Sure they had to click through a EULA to acitavte it with iTunes before they used it but that is after the customer had taken full ownership of the phone. If Apple wanted to lock people into contacts they should have been getting them signed at the store before the product was delivered. This is how most other carriers enforce their phone locks they make you sign an usage agreement before you take delivery of the phone.

  41. Nunuv Yurbiz on September 29th, 2007 1:48 pm

    Apple didn’t come over and kill your cow. Apple said, “hey, we have some growth hormones we can give your cow (v. 1.1.1), but if we give them to your cow and you’ve been using it to make cheese, your cow will die.” (Work with me here…) “Would you like us to give your cow the hormones?”

    And then you said, “yes” and are now complaining your cow died.

    You have no basis for complaining. You knew the restrictions (closed device, locked to AT&T) when you bought it. You’re just sore you can’t get around the restrictions. Worse, you took their update knowing it could brick your phone if you did get around the restrictions, and now you’re complaining.

    You went into it with your eyes wide open.

  42. Paul on September 29th, 2007 2:40 pm

    @Robertson: So basically you’re saying that Apple should do additional development work to support people who’ve broken their contracts or voided their warranties? Again, absolutely no one is forcing anyone to upgrade their phones to 1.1.1. ITunes asks very politely if you want to upgrade and you can say no. You never have to update either iTunes or your iPhone ever again. Apple clearly assumes that people who are savvy enough to seek out an unlock and perform it are able to keep track of press releases that propagate over the entire net in a matter of minutes. Even Leo said that he was worried that the unlocks probably wouldn’t survive a new update and might even get bricked, so no one can reasonably claim ignorance or even get mad about it.

    As of this point, the only supported method of getting software on the iPhone is AJAX via Safari. Yes that sucks, but that’s the way it is until Apple changes their mind. If you don’t like it, don’t buy an iPhone. Its that simple. Nothing that Apple has done has come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

  43. Bob on September 29th, 2007 2:46 pm

    The problem is that Apple (under the leadership of Steve Jobs) is like a despot. There can be no openness and no freedom.

    They need people to be sheep following them like a shepherd, that way they can keep fleecing their happy little sheep.

    If you don’t follow them properly they will fight you and punish you. The iPhone firmware problem is not a one-time thing. They will continue to whack you across the scull with the shepherd’s crook each time they think that openness is getting in.

  44. MacBros on September 29th, 2007 2:47 pm

    You make a really good point. Lets just hope it doesn’t become that serious.
    Hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping…………hoping.

  45. Mark on September 29th, 2007 2:56 pm

    Leo and others with ruffled feathers,

    Do a Google search for iPhone user agreement.

    Read it, especially the section on internet access.

    Do you see all the prohibited uses? Think about how many 3rd party iPhone apps violate those prohibited uses.

    Take a deep breath and realize that maybe, just maybe, a VOIP app running on an iPhone would not be something AT&T would like using bandwidth on their network. If you made the big decisions at AT&T what would you ask Apple to do?

    Face it folks, the 3rd party “developers” forced this to happen by blatantly violating AT&T’s terms of use.

  46. Ikon on September 29th, 2007 3:05 pm

    OK, Apple is completely in the wrong here. If they want to keep that much control over the phone, they have to lease them, not sell them. Leo’s right; he bought the phone, it’s his, he can do what he likes with it.
    If I buy a car it’s mine. I can mod it anyway I like within the constraints of traffic/highway laws (which have nothing to do with the manufacturer). The manufacturer can void my warranty if they like; that’s their choice, as it was mine to do the mods. But they don’t get to send a mechanic to my house to destroy the car. That’s illegal.

  47. Oliver Widder on September 29th, 2007 3:13 pm

    Steve Jobs has no choice.
    And when those hackers will not stop he’ll have to take harder measures.
    See my small cartoon:


  48. zylch on September 29th, 2007 3:15 pm

    Leo, I think you’re just showing your skill at trolling and getting attention. Whether it’s about “rule of law” or your preaching of “morality” or the meaning of “stealing” (and even who is the “vigilante”), the view of this issue wrt Jobs/Apple vs consumers/pirates depends on which side you’re on.

    Even though I agree with your sentiment that the little guy is too often overpowered by the big guy, there were no secret gotchas here.

    You’re just as responsible as anyone wrt getting people to buy the iphone, getting them to hack it, and getting them screwed… all “legally”, btw, with no legal recourse. Your intention was probably good, but you still used people’s lack of understanding of the system against them and are even now trying to capitalize on the commotion you’ve stirred up. (Well, of course it’s only partly your responsibility, but if you want to be a good example in today’s political climate, maybe you can take at least a little responsibility for innocent people getting screwed.)

    Btw, I still think you’re the best. It’s just that it bugs me when idealism can blind even the best.

    Meanwhile, for the sake of integrity… will you ever stand in line again for an apple product? (I’ll bet you’d *still* rather stay noncommited on the answer to that one.)

    Or maybe summarize in a bigger picture for us if possible… eg do you think Jobs and/or our current economic system is good for us humans in the long run, or not? Is this too big of a picture for your audience to try to see? I don’t think so. Come on Leo, help people THINK better, and understand the system better so that they might actually be able to affect it better. Just complaining about it without changing anything is a lot like “whining”.

    Helping people understand stuff IS your forte, after all. You’re never too old to try to be constructive, instead of trolling for whiners. HELP people instead, please! (Like you do in the rest of your show.)

  49. Mark on September 29th, 2007 3:21 pm


    You nailed it with the car reference but in this case AT&T owns the roads and has told Apple to make the car that they sell follow their traffic/highway (internet use) laws.

  50. AndyP on September 29th, 2007 3:34 pm

    Response to Ikon: Wow, I just can’t believe how many here keep voicing the same incorrect assertion — that Apple has done something extremely unfair or even illegal.

    According to your choice of analogy, GM (or Ford or whoever) has sent a mechanic to your house and destroyed your car because you modified it contrary to the vehicle’s warranty.

    But you can simply tell the mechanic that (s)he is not allowed on your property and not to touch your vehicle, thereby protecting your possesion.

    Likewise, no one is telling or forcing iPhone owners to update and, further, Apple has even warned owners that updating a hacked phone will likely break/brick it.

    To rephrase my point in an earlier post, whether this is a smart move (in the long term business-wise) by Apple is certainly open to debate and discussion, but with respect to unauthorized hacking of the device, you pays yer money and you take yer chances…

  51. Augie De Blieck Jr. on September 29th, 2007 3:34 pm

    My TiVo is a Linux box. If I decided to hack it because it’s only a computer, after all, and then destroy the holy hell out of the thing, I’m not going to start badmouthing the TiVo people for locking the box down and explaining to them that the airwaves are owned by the public and why can’t I pause live TV anymore?

    The iPhone problem has a simpler solution — don’t update the software. You’ve made your deal with your own devil: you’ve hacked the phone you bought. Apple doesn’t have to accommodate what you’ve done to the phone, any more than the TiVo folks – to whom you have to pay an extraordinary monthly fee for the television listings — should never update their software for fear of breaking some third party application that they said from the start they wouldn’t be supporting.

    I would very much like to live in the perfect world Leo describes in which we can travel around with our phones anywhere we want with any carrier we want without any lock-in. But that’s not reality. That’s a world that so many iPhone hackers have decided that THEY live in and now want to smear Apple’s name because of their own stubbornness. I’ll live over here in the real world, where my locked in contract with Verizon makes this an easy decision — I can’t afford an iPhone, so I won’t be buying one. 😉

    Maybe someday we’ll get to that world, but expecting Apple to work a miracle like that overnight is too much. Just look at the grief they get from the music companies and TV companies.

  52. Jamie Maloney on September 29th, 2007 3:37 pm

    9/27/07 A day which could signal the end of free and open technology.

    I think people are missing the point here. It’s not about Apple or AT&T.

    It’s about your right of freedom to access technology.

    I’m sure there are technology companies who are eagerly waiting in the wings at this point for the dust to settle on the iBrick. And if this move on Apple’s part stands, you will begin to see rampant “crippling” of other technologies. We know technology companies are itching to do this.

    Is this what you want? Are you willing to give up your freedom of access to technology because the creator of said technology said you weren’t operating it the way you were told to?

    Legalities aside, this is more importantly a matter of precedent which will have FAR more lingering effects.

  53. zylch on September 29th, 2007 3:46 pm

    btw, what makes everyone so sure that this ‘damage’ is permanent? maybe you’re all (including leo) just playing into jobs’ bigger plan. he is a pretty smart businessman, for sure. maybe he can get a hundred bucks back on each phone he can ‘fix’? you know, kind of like a Reverse Rebate.


  54. Vermyndax’s Lair » Blog Archive » iBrick part II on September 29th, 2007 3:47 pm

    […] also caught Leo’s latest rant on the iBrickify rants by Apple. While I agree with him on some points that speak to the desires of […]

  55. zylch on September 29th, 2007 4:08 pm

    db, nice take on the issues except I’m not sure if the judgements “it’s wrong that the latest update is bricking phones” and “it’s wrong that they won’t let you install 3rd party apps” really matter. Sure, if I were king of the world, they might. :) But meanwhile…

    Your analogy wrt using a screwdriver like a hammer is good. Furthermore, when I’ve had to use a screwdriver like a hammer 1) I never expected it to work as well and 2) I sure wouldn’t have complained to the hammer maker about it.

    Actually, these analogies can get stranger and funnier, given too much spare time.

  56. cru47 on September 29th, 2007 4:14 pm

    money money money by the pound for apple

  57. That Chip Guy on September 29th, 2007 4:23 pm

    I wish there was something in the iPhone EULA that forbade people from making overblown, torturous analogies. :)

    And “Stockholm Syndrome”? Give me a break!

    Between the feel-first, think-later excesses of Leo on the one side and Scott Bourne on the other, I’m seriously considering unsubscribing to MacBreak Weekly. I can get that on afternoon commute, small town, conservative call-in AM radio any day of the week.

  58. Tom Boucher on September 29th, 2007 4:26 pm


    Actually, I disagree with your extreme analogy here. This is more how I view it.

    What if, GM/Ford whatever came out with some new features. When they tried to install that feature they didn’t know how the modifications you personally installed on it acted and after their new (and free) modification that would make your car do something it didn’t do before made your car not work right anymore because the combination of what you did and what they did broke it.

    That’s the Apple iPhone vs. the iPhone Dev team part. That’s not the AT&T part mind you.

    Best thing I can think of is if Ford said that only your car would work with Texaco gas stations. While texaco is available just about everywhere in the US with a few exceptions, and the car isn’t sold in those locations (Thinking Vermont and AT&T here) or people that come from other countries don’t have Texacos where they come from.

    Texaco also pays this car company every time someone fills up their car, giving the car company a revenue source.

    It’s not that Texaco gas is inferior either. They work pretty well with a few exceptions here and there. But the other gas companies have the same problem. Sure there is one or two gas companies whose gas is completely different, but at the end the result is the same, the cars that work with that gas go just about the same places the other cars with Texaco gas do.

    Oh, and before GM/Ford whatever made their car there were tons of other companies who did the exact same thing. They made their car only work with one gas companies car. But for some reason, when GM did it, and people tried to stop it from working that way they screamed and wailed and said that people that thought the GM/Texaco thing was ok and not a big deal were idiots and likened them to kidnap victims and all sorts of bad things.

    Meanwhile, 95% of the world rotated on, and didn’t give a rats but that they had to stop at texacos to fill up. The other 5% stood there and screamed at them for what they were missing, and they didn’t care.

  59. Chris on September 29th, 2007 4:45 pm

    What happens when you buy an Xbox and modify it’s hardware to pirate games? Sure it’s your property and you could do anything you want to it. That doesn’t mean Microsoft will keep allowing you to do that.

    The people who tried to update a 3rd party modified iPhone were warned twice. They knew they were skating on thin ice. To me, yea sure it’s a computer. So is an Xbox. Don’t expect to get support from a company who your trying to circumvent doing business with. In this case AT&T. Apple has an agreement they have to hold up to. It’s the same with other carriers around the world. The only thing Apple has against 3rd party apps is the possibility of a VOIP app. That’s the real reason for no SDK.

    Leo, this isn’t a desktop. The word computer is extremely broad to include basically anything with a micro chip….and these days toys come with microchips. So please quit with the bogus analogy. If you want to complain about being locked into a contract don’t blame Apple about it, blame the FCC. They are the ones who are protecting the carriers and allowing them to behave like this. Also, it’s unknown if there is any subsidization going on with iPhone, so the two year contract might serve a purpose.

    I’m tired of hearing about this crap….why don’t people complain to Motorola, Samsung, etc.?

  60. Bleu Caldwell on September 29th, 2007 5:16 pm

    Just to add a small voice of support for Leo, I totally agree with his point of view. I think what Apple has done is stupid, and I really think they should know better. Incapacitating 3rd party applications and unlocked phones would have been expected and acceptable (although I think it would be smarter to let the 3rd party apps be). Having to restore the factory settings is fine. Breaking the phone is not. Legal or no (and I think a case could be made for illegal), it’s just not the way you should treat your customer. If Microsoft had done something like this, the company would have been (once again) branded the devil and people would be screaming foul. Contrary to what the Cult of Mac seems to think, Apple can do wrong and when they do they should be called on it. I sincerely hope that this is a battle that Apple doesn’t win, because I really don’t want this precedent set.

  61. Brianflys on September 29th, 2007 5:52 pm

    We are not talking about hacking in order to allow the iPhone to do what it was not intended to do. The DMCA specifically provides an exemption to allow circumventing cell-phone lock down technology:
    Section 201.40: “(5) Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone
    handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully
    connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.”
    There has been no attempt to change the basic operation of the iPhone or to make it to anything other than perform its basic functions using other than AT&T service. This is specifically allowed by law, regardless of what Apple and AT&T want. By “bricking” the iPhone, Apple is violating this law. They are intentionally blocking the owner’s legal right to use this phone with other services. They should be sued via class action and also prosecuted in all 50 states. This is clearly a case of Apple violating the law. Stop all Apple purchases (including iTunes) until Apple decided to follow the law.

  62. Jared (JDWUSAMI) on September 29th, 2007 6:33 pm

    I wish I had not updated to firmware 1.1.1 because now I can not have those great 3rd party apps. Does anyone know if they are working on getting on getting the apps to work on 1.1.1?

  63. Dwight E. Howell on September 29th, 2007 6:52 pm

    If you are dumb enough to do business with Jobs you deserve what you get.

    Removing the roll back feature means he meant to brick the machines and teach people a lesson. Nasty dude.

    I just read the terms of service from AT&T they sent me. They remind me of the terms of service as written by Microsoft. None of them have any respect what so ever for their customers.

  64. Mark on September 29th, 2007 7:00 pm

    OK Folks one more time with the car analogy:

    When you read the Apple iPhone agreement http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/iphone.pdf it says right in the beginning:

    “1. General The software (including Boot ROM code and other embedded software), documentation and any fonts that came with your iPhone, whether in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “iPhone Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc.”

    So yes you may own the hardware (iPhone/car) but Apple is only granting you a license to use the software, you do not own the OS on your phone. So you own the car but you do not own your license to drive it. (like the real world)

    AT&T owns the roads (Edge network) and makes the rules to drive on their roads (that they built to make money). The drivers manual to AT&T’s roads is here: http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/iphone-terms.jsp

    Unlocking the iPhone and some (but not all) of the 3rd party apps (eg: VOIP) break the rules of the road as spelled out in the drivers manual.

    So basically some of you people lost your license to drive on AT&T’s roads in your hot rodded cars/iPhones. And like when you lose your license to drive in the real world you are stuck with a car you paid for but you can’t use in your garage. It’s not the car makers fault (Apple), it’s not the road builders fault (AT&T), it’s your fault for breaking the rules and getting caught.

  65. Jan on September 29th, 2007 7:16 pm

    The thorn in your side is the ATT contract which is an ongoing contract for 2 years; if ATT has the perception that revenue is being lost because you’re use of T-Mobile on top of the contract with them is diverting revenue that could have been theirs, then you may be “stealing” from them. ATT could argue that the extra fees they count on from your being a customer (ringtones, you-name-it surcharges) are more likely to occur on your actively used (not dormant) T-Mobile account. I see this as ATT-driven.

  66. kasnj on September 29th, 2007 7:25 pm

    Once again, Leo cuts right through to the heart of the matter. Well done!!

  67. Jim Hassinger on September 29th, 2007 7:36 pm

    I think sometimes, Leo, you miss the point. The entire cell industry exists within legal and legislative paramaters. Is it wrong that you can’t let your phone do all the things that you’d like it to do? Sure. But it’s not really Apple that’s to blame. It’s a situation much like the iTunes store. You could, at the time of its inception, have complained that it had DRM. Yet what was the protection-free market? Ripping CDs and torrents. Without iTunes, it’s doubtful that online music would have gotten started. And now, Apple is finally getting some competition. The Amazon store is great — but you’ll notice, it is selling without DRM. Now it has a chance, and again, Apple got that started.

    So they entered the phone market with the Rokr. Ugh. The apple techs got to see how ugly the business was. They produced a wonderful phone. But it’s as dependent on the networks, which are not run to the consumer’s benefit. Would the iPhone sell on a truly open network? Sure. But there isn’t one.

    You mentioned, on the Tech Guy on the 29th, that Nokia sells smartphones unlocked. Well, most of their phones are fully subsidized, so they can afford to do it. My instinct tells me that Apple selling an unlocked phone would be shunned by the cell providers. It’s new on the market. Apple couldn’t have gotten data plans at such a reasonable price, could they?

    So I think we need a political understanding to pressure the companies to change. Apple started selling Blue Boxes, that hacked into AT&T long distance, and allowed Jobs to call the Pope long ago.

    It’s not all about Apple, plus or minus.

  68. Patrick Says v2.0 » You Know How I Love Apple… on September 29th, 2007 8:08 pm

    […] sinks from Apple and tell you how much better they are than any other sink is mad at Apple. LEO is angry with Apple! […]

  69. Patrick D. on September 29th, 2007 8:34 pm

    Bunch of whiners. You broke the rules you agreed to. Take your punishment and shut up.

  70. Larry on September 29th, 2007 8:59 pm

    “When I paid for the cow it became my property, to do with as I please. If you don’t like how I’m using it you may choose not to do any further business with me but you don’t get to kill my cow.”

    Fer cryin’ out loud, Leo, Apple didn’t kill your cow. They gave you a knife and told you that if you used it, it would add functionality to the cow, making it a steak (and maybe a nice pot roast), but as a side effect it would kill your cow. If you like your cow the way it is, don’t take their knife. If you like your iPhone the way it is, don’t take the upgrade. C’est simple, n’est-ce pas?

  71. JT on September 29th, 2007 9:13 pm

    What if I invited them in to kill my cow and then complained about it afterwards? ??

    Yes it sucks to have a dead cow. But you bought a milk cow. If you wanted a cheese cow, you should have bought one.

  72. Tarhill on September 29th, 2007 10:15 pm

    I love and admire Apple in many ways. This time they went too far. Leo is right. This is America and private property is a staple of our society. We all have known for a long time that Apple can be arrogant but breaking people’s personal property is just wrong.

  73. Brad on September 29th, 2007 10:20 pm

    Well, the bricking did not last too long, as they have successfully unbricked iPhones, and using the same technique, rolled-back and unlocked new 1.1.1 firmware phones.


    The really funny aspect of this is that the iPod touch, which had resisted all attempts to crack it, was cracked using he same technique, allowing the 1.02 code from the iPhone to be uploaded. Now the iTouch is jailbroken and apps can be uploaded.

    So, in their effort to control, they managed to have folks discover a way to unlock the iTouch.

    Apple – 0 Dev Team – 2.

    I’m still happy with my iPhone, all crazyness aside.. and happy it is on T-Mobile.

  74. Ben on September 30th, 2007 1:21 am


    I think you are overreacting here. Apple released a product and said that you were only allowed to use it on the AT&T network and that you weren’t allowed to install 3rd party applications on it.
    You bought it knowing, better than most, what those restrictions meant.
    You also knew that there was more than likely a contractual requirement that Apple had agreed to to ensure that the phones remained locked. There might even have been a clause that said that Apple aren’t allowed to let people load 3rd party apps on the phone.
    So when Apple warns you and then carries out it threats, acting like a two year old and throwing your toys out of the cot really makes you look bad.

    Apple are doing what it needs to do to protect its contract with AT&T and its business model in the cell industry.

    I don’t like the way they do business but if that is what they want to do then I can decide (when the iPhone is released here) not to buy one.

  75. Julian on September 30th, 2007 4:07 am

    Leo, its sounds like your starting to lose faith with Apple. I completely agree with your posting here, its my hardware and I can do what ever I want with it. I think Apple will make a lot of people mad if a update come out that bricks your phone if it has been unlocked.

    This whole iphone saga is a chink in the armor of Apple, suddenly it seems that Apple is no less greedy and manipulative than other massive corporations, and I think that has shocked a lot of fan boys out there.

    Everyone was all to happy to pay for the phone and go on a 2 year plan when they bought it, but now its not the newest thing out there, people are waking up from this honeymoon phase with their iphone and actually wanting more use and functionality from it, so the unlocking happens.

    But don’t forget that you did sign a contract with AT&T for 2 years of service, and I’m sure AT&T are very angry at all this loss of revenue from unlocked phones, and I think this will force Apple into implementing a update that will brick your phone or force you to reset the firmware to a factory state.

    But anyway I cant wait to get my hands on a iphone, but New Zealand will be one of the last western country’s to get it lol.

    keep up the good work Leo, your a God among men.

  76. Rob on September 30th, 2007 7:25 am

    I agree Larry. Although I am disappointed with Apple and the way they are doing business regarding this piece of hardware, they did say that they would feed your cow as long as you just made milk. If you still want free food then you agree to their terms. And if they catch you making cheese, then there food will kill the cow.

  77. Omar Jasso on September 30th, 2007 7:48 am

    I don’t think the question that you should raise in this post is “Is what Apple is doing to my cow legal?” I think the question in hand is “Do I still want this cow as badly as I wanted it 3 months ago, when I didn’t see the terms in action.

  78. links for 2007-09-30 | The Marketing Technology Blog on September 30th, 2007 8:20 am

    […] What if… What if you bought a computer that you couldn’t install any of your own applications on? (Stupid, I know, but what if?) (tags: iphone apple att) […]

  79. Comanche Hill » For my iPhone friends… on September 30th, 2007 8:28 am

    […] You don’t get to kill my cow. (via Instapundit) […]

  80. naum on September 30th, 2007 8:38 am

    Push aside the whole “unlocking” issue aside, but apple has broken the whole “third party” application for iPhone deal… …things like iToner which people ponied up money so they could make their iPhone more useable or enjoyable no longer work… …see Ambrosia statement…


    The iPhone is wonderous but preventing customers to use it the way they want to use it is plain stupid, and I hope a competitor makes apple pay dearly for their terribly intransigent stance…

    I bought it so I could have PDA + phone… …but shoehorning me in to eliminate my own apps (like ebook reader, iToner, etc.…) has made me question my allegiance to Mac platform and I may switch back completely to Linux based solutions now…

    With Vista tanking as such, way to go, Apple, in alienating your customer base that plucks down big money for Apple product…

  81. Higgins on September 30th, 2007 8:44 am

    All cell phone companies suck! You just have to pick the one that has the best plan and coverage for you.

    We all knew that the iPhone was going to be exclusive to AT&T/Cingular before we bought the phone. If you did not want to use AT&T, then you should have bought a different phone from a different provider. No one forced you to buy the phone.

    I bought an iPhone because I wanted the features that it provided (many devices rolled in to one). I was an AT&T customer and had been for several years. If the phone would have come out for use on Verzion, I would have passed on buying it.

    I did not hack my iPhone due to the warnings that Apple provided. It was your choice to hack your phone, not Apple’s.

    One of the biggest problems with living in this great country of ours is that people no longer take responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else’s fault for their problems.

    “I can’t go to college because I can’t afford it!” – get a job and pay for it.

    “I murdered that person because of the voices in my head” – no you murdered them because you are a sick piece of poo.

    “My life sucks because I have 9 children, live on welfare, am addicted to drugs, have no education, and can’t get a job!” – pick yourself up, get a job, teach your children personal responsibility.

    “My iPhone doesn’t work because I hacked it, and then Apple broke it!” – no, you hacked the phone at your own risk, even though the company told you that updates may break the phone.

    Sorry for my rant.


    P.S. – Leo, I am a huge fan and have listened to many of your podcasts for years. I was also sickened with the way TechTV was destroyed. Thanks for putting out the educational entertainment and please don’t ever retire.

  82. jgeek on September 30th, 2007 10:17 am

    would you like some cheese with your whine?

    i don’t remember apple claiming that their first phone was going to be open sourced so anyone can do anything they want with it. give me a break. if leo had his way we’d all have g5 macbook pros and linux iphones.

  83. naum on September 30th, 2007 11:07 am

    Just want to make something clear — I DID NOT “HACK” MY iPHONE. I simply put some third party applications on to make the device more usable for me…

  84. Ikon on September 30th, 2007 11:20 am

    Not to split hairs, but actually the government owns the road and the FCC regulates it; AT&T just leases it. The FCC may tell AT&T they can make the rules they have made, but that’s just the problem: they shouldn’t be allowed to make those rules. The people are supposed to own the government, so they should tell it to force the FCC to stop allowing its tenants to make such rules. This is a “broader issue” matter. Governments all over the world specifically prevent rules like those AT&T (and all cell providers) get away with in North America.

  85. Ikon on September 30th, 2007 11:44 am

    You really are splitting hairs. An analogy is called an analogy because it’s not a perfect representation. If it was perfect, it would be the actual thing itself. I mean, really, “not allowed on your property”? Who says it’s parked on your property when they destroy it?

    The point is, it seems very unlikely that the bricking of the phones is accidental. I have a mental image of Jobs ranting & raving (after all, it’s well known that he’s extremely calm & collected and never rants & raves, isn’t it?) about people hacking ‘his’ phone and vowing to “get them for their impudence”.

    Do I have any hard evidence: no. But I do have one piece of circumstantial evidence that’s very, very powerful: that is, there was absolutely no need to brick the phones at all. The update could simply have checked whether any ‘unauthorized’ mods had been made and offered the owner (emphasis on owner) 2 choices:
    1) completely revert the phone back to factory default settings. After all, any $50 router can do that;
    2) cancel the upgrade.

    In fact, I strongly suspect that the upgrade does exactly the opposite; it goes looking for mods and deliberately bricks the phone in order to teach the owner a lesson. That’s juvenile.

    In the broader picture, the corporations should not be allowed to get away with the things they do get away with. In reality, what they do is against the ‘common good’, a point that’s often used when deciding court cases. The DOJ case against Microsoft was really all about ‘common good’.

    Leo may have signed a contract, but that doesn’t mean the contract should be allowed to stand. The problem is that the big corporations are allowed to set up contracts that should be illegal (and are illegal in most of the world).

    In many ways Leo, and everyone who modded their iPhones, is simply demonstrating that there is a public need to have the rules changed.

  86. Ikon on September 30th, 2007 11:47 am


  87. Anthony on September 30th, 2007 12:12 pm

    I’m a huge Mac person and I totally disagree with Apple’s action here, but I don’t trust any other company to be any different. That is the real problem. We should all be demanding a change in the culture. When Sprint wanted to charge me to put a wallpaper on my phone and kept blocking me from creating my own and transferring them to the phone, I thought the same thing. What if Apple, Microsoft or Dell did that with computers? Apparently, we will all keep letting these companies get away with this stuff.

  88. Paul on September 30th, 2007 12:23 pm

    @naum: The method used to install third-party apps on the iPhone is the very definition of a hack, whether or not you like the word.

    To everyone else bitching about how evil Apple is: the update to 1.1.1 was completely voluntary. No one forced you to update if you didn’t want to. Both Apple and the Dev team issued warnings to people with unlocked phones that they would get bricked and Apple said that jailbreak apps would break. Anyone who still updated after all that should seriously examine their reading comprehension skills if they were surprised by what happened.

  89. The Pawnbroker on September 30th, 2007 2:25 pm

    I don’t think Apple is under any obligation to acquiesce to the needs of those that have in any way hacked their iPhone. Except that from a public relations standpoint, it would be a very good idea not to intentionally brick iPhones. This entire “problem” started way back when Apple decided to go with a sales/support model that locked the iPhone to AT&T. I have always thought that that was a big mistake. Steve and Apple are now at the mercy of the deal they made (with the devil?). They can’t make decisions based solely on what is best for Apple and Apple’s customers. AT&T has them by the you-know-what’s. I think they would have made just as much money by selling a totally unlocked iPhone. I think they would have sold a ton more phones and that would have made up for the difference in what they would have lost by not getting the “kickbacks” they are getting from AT&T. I may be naive in that you may not be able sell/service cell phones without having a locked-in model. I just think that with the probable requirements under that AT&T contract, they did the best they could by 1) not forcing the upgrade, and by 2) warning people ahead of time. After all, they could have done something like block people from using iTunes until they upgraded.Any way you slice it, this is a public relations problem for Apple and I wonder if Steve would have made this same deal had he seen all these problems ahead of time.

  90. Jeff Stockwell on September 30th, 2007 3:58 pm

    Well Leo, as much as I love your podcasts (and I really do), you’re just plain wrong. If you hacked Windows or OSX and an update fried your OS you would have no one to blame but yourself. If you modded your laptop’s firmware and an update made it impossible to boot your system you would have no one to blame but yourself.

    Third party apps and unlocking are both hacks, pure and simple. You are making the phone do things that it is currently not designed to do. I think Alex Lindsay nailed it on the most recent MBW: Apple is closing the hole that allows the hacks in the iPhone, which is their prerogative, and that is bricking hacked phones. Oh well.

    My phone isn’t hacked because $300 is a lot of scratch and I don’t want to risk causing ANY problems on the thing. Apple will likely make third-party apps available at some point in the future and I can wait until then. You and others decided that you could afford to futz with your phones. Cool. But when you take chances sometimes you lose.

    The idea that Apple is now some kind of villain because they didn’t sell this as an unlocked phone is insane. To my knowledge, there are NO phones sold in the US in an unlocked state. This is how the US cell-phone market works. To ask Apple to play by rules that no other company does is totally unreasonable.

    And Leo, I am a little disappointed in you to label anyone who disagrees with you as suffering from a psychological condition brought on by extreme physical and mental abuse. You’re better than that.

  91. Hal Hutkoff on September 30th, 2007 4:36 pm

    As a mac lover & user for over 15 years I am schocked & disapointed at the decision made by Jobs & company visa vi the distruction of other peoples property because of what the owner of that property has or has not done to their property. Destroying someones Iphone because they hacked it is maliscious & petty and should be judged a criminal act. I am not an iphone puser and i am apauled. Its as though I bought a new Imac and decided to ues MS Office and not Use Apple Works & then when I downloaded a system upgrade, my mac was fried for using Office. Shame on Jobs he has lost the hopes and cheers of this MacMan. In fact someone should sue Jobs for distruction of property & if I had an IPhone I would join in the suit. One more thing – If I notify you that I will destroy your property & then do it am I still guilty. Of course I am.

  92. Charles Sporn on September 30th, 2007 5:11 pm

    You tell them… I am still pissed off at my iBrick. And the worst part is that I didn’t unlock!

  93. Charles Sporn on September 30th, 2007 5:43 pm

    If Apple never made such a big deal about the iPhone running OSX, nobody would care as much, but they did and people equated OSX with 3rd party apps.

  94. cousar on September 30th, 2007 5:48 pm

    I have a DirecTV TiVo receiver and a DirecTV DVR. Neither of these will work with any other service. They are hackable, but, as Augie says of his TiVo, any forthcoming update, could brick them, and I’d be SOL. In that case, it’s my fault, not DirecTV’s. Just because you can hack your iPhone does not mean you should. You took the risk, and you knew it when you did it. Apple even warned you ahead of time. They’re not at fault here. Besides, Leo, don’t you still have an unmodded iPhone because you feared this could happne?

  95. cousar on September 30th, 2007 5:50 pm

    Also, you’re doing a really good John C Dvorak impression here, Leo.

  96. Chris W. on September 30th, 2007 6:31 pm

    Very valid point Leo.

  97. naum on September 30th, 2007 6:42 pm

    No it is not. I installed iToner like any other OS X application (like iTunes) and with a simple drag & drop, I update my iPhone. Tell me how that is akin to “hacking”?

    >>@naum: The method used to install third-party apps on the iPhone is the very definition of a hack, whether or not you like the word.

  98. Evan on September 30th, 2007 7:32 pm

    Here’s something to keep in mind, while I’m not up on the situation with the iPhone, in many cases we don’t actually own much of anything anymore. Even the music on your audio CD carries a ‘you open it you agree to whatever we do to you’ license. I am presented with multiple EULA blocks over the course of a month, they all contain the same legal gibberish. You didn’t buy a cow Leo, you purchased the use of Cow 1.0 for the express purpose of milk production, within the bounds of your county. Using the cow to produce cheese or in fact moving said cow outside of your county will void your license and enable Cow DNA Licensing Inc. to take whatever actions that it deems necessary up to and including entering your domicile without warning to recover said cow or triggering the cow’s remote shutdown system.

    Click here to Proceed. [OK]

  99. Dwight E. Howell on September 30th, 2007 7:32 pm

    Just a question. My knowledge of AT & T suggests that if you signed a contract with them they will get their money or else. That being the case how much do they really care about the Iphones being hacked? A lot, a little or not at all?

    I’m not sure that some of AT & T managers would notice but some one may figure out this is not the kind of publicity they want either.

  100. JT on September 30th, 2007 7:50 pm

    Even a simple hack with a nice GUI is still a hack.

    iTonr is inherently designed to do something with the iphone that the iphone does not support.

  101. Mr. Shadetree on September 30th, 2007 9:52 pm

    This is a tug-o-war that goes on all the time with many other products. This is how products evolve and it’s no different with Apple. Everyone that hacked the iPhone knew what to expect from the start and that their actions would not be sanctioned by Apple. Any time you hack something to do something it wasn’t designed to do you take the chance of breaking it from the start. They knew there would be backlash and went ahead anyway. Now they want to blame Apple for protecting themselves from the companies they are contracted to. If you don’t like the consequences you shouldn’t take the risk. I know there are others that look at this as just another bump in the road and will find a new solution to do what they want requardless of the roadblocks. Inovation, Experimentation, Implementation,Evolution. It all leads to bigger and better things. So, don’t cry foul, something better is on the horizon.

  102. naum on September 30th, 2007 10:05 pm



    #1 Um, no, that does constitute a “hack” by any reasonable person’s definition…

    #2 Obviously iPhone supports it as people who paid for iToner can attest, and was deliberately undone by Apple

    #3 I for the life of me, cannot fathom how anyone can defend such hostile customer treatment… …basically sanctioning a device manufacturer to say “screw you” to its paying customers… …it might be legal, but it’s going to leave a bad taste in the mouth of many, and may harken a swift return to Apple days of the mid 90’s, when only the hard core, love Apple no matter what, duped loyalists continue to buy Apple products…

    You may scoff at such a notion, but consider that a large portion of Apple resurgence in the 2000’s has been precisely because of “Unix on the desktop” and the open source roots of OS X. By moving focus to crippled devices (everyone wants to use their phone/PDA/music player the way they want to, see MS Zune for an example when customers arn’t provided such a “luxury”…), Apple is indeed ripe for the plucking by competitors and may find themselves treading dangerously… …not in 2007, mind you, but by 2010-2012, it’s certainly not inconceivable if current trends are indicative of their future direction…

    ::Even a simple hack with a nice GUI is still a hack.

    ::iTonr is inherently designed to do something with the iphone that the iphone does not support.

  103. The Pawnbroker on September 30th, 2007 10:43 pm

    The video over on Engadget says it all:


    Apple made a big public relations mistake by making this deal with AT&T. Especially because they have to enforce it at the expense of many long term customers. That video really, really makes them at their words!

  104. Kyle Essary on October 1st, 2007 12:16 am

    “Apple’s sole redress is to halt all support of my phone. If we let Apple destroy our property for not following the rules we’re telling the music industry it’s ok to destroy a hard drive containing illegal songs, the cable company to fry our TVs for stealing cable. That is vigilante justice and a direct threat to the rule of law.”

    Never before has a more ignorant paragraph been written…I’m sorry your phone doesn’t work Leo, but come on let’s be reasonable.

  105. Kyle Essary on October 1st, 2007 12:36 am

    Okay, to say it was the most ignorant paragraph was a bit extreme. Okay…it was really extreme and I regret saying it. Still, I do not understand your reasoning because your comparisons are not applicable to this situation and the cow illustration is simply ridiculous. It’s not as though Apple destroyed your phone, or even killed it as you imply. You still own it and are free to do whatever you want with it. You simply are no longer allowed to use the software because you blatantly violated a contract that you agreed to abide by. If you don’t want to abide by contracts then don’t enter into them.

    That’s the reality of living in a capitalistic society. If you enter into a contract with someone and break your end of the contract, then the contract terminates and you suffer having to deal with the consequences. That’s just the way doing business works in capitalistic societies.

    And “vigilante” means that a group of individuals are taking the law into their own hands and enforcing it. That’s not what Apple is doing. They are ending your ability to use their software because you violated a contract. That’s not taking the law into their own hands…that’s simply terminating a contract that you entered into.

  106. Paul on October 1st, 2007 1:00 am


    iToner and AppTapp take advantage of software vulnerabilities on the iPhone in order to work. All Apptapp does is automate the jailbreak process so you don’t have to spend half an hour doing it your self. That is called a hack. If you do anything to modify something to make it do something it was not intended to do, you are hacking it, even if it does happen to be wrapped in a nice GUI. Also, you seem to be confusing “works on after a hack” with “supports.” I got Linux running on my Xbox, but somehow I don’t think that Microsoft will be supporting it anytime soon. It was easy to do and it works great, but its still hacked. I don’t recall and great backlash over the inability to run Linux on the 360. Leo doesn’t whine about it on every radio show and every podcast, but isn’t it just as bad?

    As for comparing Apple in the 90’s to now, you need to read your history. One thing’s for sure: Apple wasn’t in trouble because it produced many superior products at aggressive prices, but alienated a minority of users who can’t be bothered to read the warning dialogue that pops up telling you not to upgrade if you unlocked your phone.

    Except for nerds, no one cares about UNIX on the Mac. Most people don’t even know the name OS X. People buy Macs because they have a reputation for being solid and reliable machines. Leo recommends them to people every week on his show for that reason. People buy iPods because they’re reliable and easy to use. People are buying the iPhone for the same reason. Anyone who spends that kind of scratch to look or feel cool is an idiot in need of serious counseling. Apple knows that and is unwilling to sacrifice quality to protect people who are unwilling or unable to comprehend warnings that updating an unlocked phone will likely brick it.

    Again, running the update was 100% voluntary, so if you got burned, it was your fault. No one at Apple promised anyone that the iPhone would immediately be this great mecca for mobile developers, and they have always said that the way to develop for the phone is via the web. Apple has not misled anyone and is under no obligation to support hackers, which again is why the hackers told you not to update. While I have no doubt that there will be an iPhone SDK soon (just look at the HID guidlines that mention that the web is “currently” the only way to develop), but for now, that’s the way things are.

    The real issue about unlocking, at least here in California, is that carriers are required to provide unlock codes after 90 days, which doesn’t seem to be happening. That’s what everyone should be complaining about, but I guess people blaming others for their own bad choices is just easier.

  107. Ikon on October 1st, 2007 6:07 am


    “Anyone who spends that kind of scratch to look or feel cool is an idiot in need of serious counseling”

    Are you kidding? One of the MAIN reasons people buy Apple products is for the ‘looks’.

    This is the old ‘form vs function’ issue. And believe me, I know a LOT of people who are more than willing to put up with reduced, or even crippled functionality, for the sake of form.

    You may think they need counselling; they think you have no sense of style.

  108. Tony on October 1st, 2007 7:10 am

    Am I mistaken in thinking that Jobs offered that creating an app for the new phone was as easy as writing web code (I’m paraphrasing)? Seems to me that during the announcement speech he did say that third party apps would be writtrn that way, implying that they expected that.

  109. naum on October 1st, 2007 8:35 am


    Doubt it, “nerds” are the market that is buying up Macs right now. Go to any conference and see the laptops — at “geek” conferences (counting multimedia producers and designers) along with “web workers” have macs… …business users and most all home users are windows, and do not shell out extra money for a mac, instead opting for cheaper windows machines even if they desire a mac (and even if they do, their local “tech” authority, maybe a family member instructs them elsewhere… …Leo is an exception, any other MSM media tech disdains Apple except for iPods…)

    Yes, Mac is better in the home, but Apple desktop model hasn’t been updated in nearly 15 months… …the iMac just doesn’t suit those windows users either…

    ::Except for nerds, no one cares about UNIX on the Mac. Most people don’t even know the name OS X. People buy Macs because they have a reputation for being solid and reliable machines…

  110. insignificant thoughts » Leo Laporte & Cows on October 1st, 2007 10:39 am

    […] This Week in Tech and on his blog, Leo Laporte insisted that this analogy is very similar to what Apple is doing with the iPhone: Let’s say […]

  111. ReneRitchie.net » Bad Apples or iGen Entitlement - iPhone 1.1.1 on October 1st, 2007 10:44 am

    […] write up at Engadget, and quite a bit more balanced than Laporte’s obviously frustrated rant. I like the idea of 3rd party apps, and living in Canada where we’re criminally overcharged […]

  112. Paul Salzman on October 1st, 2007 11:46 am

    Leo, although I find myself often agreeing with you and also find myself on the side of hackers and the open-source movement, I must respectfully disagree with your stance on this subject.

    I believe that Apple’s practices are quite common with product warranties, albeit not usually with software. Let’s take cars for example. If you roll your Lexus down to a performance-enhancement specialist, and they add a performance exhaust, a new chip for the engine-management computer (or flash the existing one) and new suspension springs, for instance. If your Lexus develops a problem with the catalytic, and the engine light comes on telling you to take it in, the dealer will immediately blame the after-market exhaust and will not warranty the item. If the wheel bearings start to make a noise, the dealer (and Lexus) will blame the suspension and charge you for it. Oh and if ANYTHING is wrong with the way the car runs, Lexus will most definitely blame the new, or re-flashed, chip and void your entire engine warranty–even if the problem is mechanical and has absolutely nothing to do with the engine management system.

    Apple has every right to void warranties if someone begins to mess around under the hood. They never promised hackers an open system that would not be affected by future services and updates. Maybe Apple targeted hackers, but I don’t think so–they have better things to do than worry about a small group of people unlocking their product. I believe there are technical reasons that these updates have affected the unlocked product. The company even warned that theses practices could damage the software in the phone.

    Just like over-clocking, you run the risk of frying your product if you mod it or mess with it. And, the manufacturer has every right to not cover the product under warranty.

    Conversely, Apple should offer some sort of “re-format” program for users of bricked phones. For $100 or something, you bring your iPhone in and they re-flash it or exchange it for a new one. A one-time courtesy, perhaps, but for a fee.

    Apple is trying to build a solid, reliable product for people that bought a phone…not a hackable computing platform. I believe any phone company would follow the same tact. What would BlackBerry do if you modded one of their phones and your phone bricked? Probably say, “too bad” and ask you to buy a new one.

  113. abzde on October 1st, 2007 11:52 am

    look, it’s a cellphone, it isn’t a computer, it’s a phone, it’s more of a smartphone i suppose, but with other smartphones, you have to use whatever ISP, and you sign a contract saying you will for the next 2 years, or you get charged some large cancellation fee, why is this any different with an iphone, it’s the same idea.

    (yeah, that was all one sentence i believe)

  114. Stuart on October 1st, 2007 1:16 pm

    I’ll start this by saying that I am not an Apple fanboy and the only Apple product I own is a 4th gen iPod. That being said, I have a different point of view.

    What if this whole notion of locking down the iPhone after its open is to challenge the whole idea of locked phones in the first place? I think this is Apple challenging that notion head on. This move causes people to think about the idea of their phones being locked to one network. Once people start thinking about it with the iPhone, you start thinking about your other phones. Should they be locked to one network? If you don’t think so, then where do people go? To the FCC, to question them on why phones are locked and, at total extreme, to push them to unlocking the whole market.

    Apple knows there is a huge barrier in garnering market share by being locked to AT&T. So how do you get out of the contract without expressly getting out of the contract? You push the idea of being locked into the one network, which is fragile to begin with, until it cracks and shatters on the whole. It’s been mentioned that Jobs is a master chess player when it comes to human emotion. So maybe this whole reaction is planned in his, and our, favor?

  115. tycho on October 1st, 2007 1:31 pm

    Apple’s locking of the phone was dumb but understandable, from the start. People bought the locked up phone, which might not have been the smartest thing in the world, but that’s free will for you…

    The hacks, which people have every right to install, were unsupported, and unlike the apple tv, apple broke the hacks on an update, which I think all the hacks should have been vary clear was a distinct possibility. You, leo said these things a few weeks ago when the hacks came out.

    It’s happened. Which sucks royally, but that’s not the issue to complain about it.

    It’s the first point, that they made a crippled phone, not that they broke people’s hacks…

  116. Apple iPhone Is Breaking Hearts, Especially Leo Laporte’s | Tech In Demand on October 1st, 2007 2:27 pm

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  117. Bunga on October 1st, 2007 2:46 pm

    Leo, it’s their hardware, it’s their software. They have goals with the device that we are not privy to yet. If they open the iphone up, then apple’s dreams and ideas are gone. Plus security is an issue too. There is a lot of personal information in an iphone. Look at it this way, one could think they are installing an application that does one thing, but it could also do something else “aka spyware, viruses”. It is what microsoft’s products are plagued with. I like the iphone for what it can do out of the box and what the future holds for it. I’m also interested to see how Apple handles the whole Meizu device when it hit’s the market next year. We’ll probably see more applications from apple to compete with what the Meizu can do out of the box. Intentionally Apple does not currently have any direct competition with the iPhone. Quicker they can sell a ton of 2 year at&t contracts, the more people will be “locked in” to using just apple’s device before any other similar form factor devices come out. All in all, it will be interesting to watch what happens. Going back to my anivirus statement, wouldn’t stink having to install a firewall and anti virus software on a 8gb iphone?

  118. Jeff on October 1st, 2007 6:55 pm

    I could not agree more. I love Apple, ever since the first Steve Jobs, but I think this marks a dark time in Apple. And will be viewed in the future as the beginning of when Apple lost it’s core user group and became just another company. I am reminded of a Steve quote and will reword it here..

    You think selling iPods to kids is success, and it going to change the world?

    Long live Apple Computer.

  119. jbella on October 1st, 2007 9:37 pm

    Two points:

    1) Everyone seems to be assuming that apple intentionally bricked the phones. I dont know exactly how these unlocks work, but it seems like it they reach in pretty deep. Deeper than the iTunes restore functionality reaches. It seems reasonable to believe (especially since Apple said as much) that there could be a conflict between Apple’s firmware updates and the unlock code.

    2) Your analogies are overly contrived, I think. Instead of imaging a cow, or a computer.. why not just imagine a cell phone. Cell phone carrier exclusive lock-ins are not unusual. In fact– quite the opposite- non-locked-in phones are unusual. Fortunately for us all, we dont all have to buy an iPhone. If it doesn’t do what you want it to do, or if you dont like the restricitons, by all means.. buy a different phone.

  120. sogo on October 1st, 2007 10:29 pm

    You wanna put diesel in your Mustang? Go ahead — just don’t expect Ford to honor the warranty.

    Hacking the iPhone adversely affects the potential market for ATT and Apple and is a violation of the user agreement — it’s illegal and fair use does not constitute a valid/legal argument to support the activity.

    The people who somehow justify it’s OK are the same ones whose PC’s are loaded with music from Napster and Limewire.

    This reminds me of cigarette smokers blaiming the cigarette companies. Aren’t people accountable for what they do?

  121. Kyle Harrington on October 1st, 2007 11:32 pm

    So about this whole iPhone fiasco. The reason Apple doesn’t support third party apps and such is because of support. The genius bar is already packed and the last thing that is needed is why isn’t my installer.app working and what is ssh and blah blah blah. As far as locking the sim back up…. it’s called contracts. there was fair warning so people should stop being cry babies. about locking up the third party apps…. different story. everyone loves the apps that have come out…. but there were new features that wanted to be rolled out and some of those required a lot of tinkering to the firmware. sorry they didn’t take the man hours to keep open third party apps i’m sure there will be a fix to installer.app in a couple weeks so no worries. You say what about the customer and how does this help the consumer. Well it frees up a spot at the genius bar. Instead of having to see some dummy who can’t get something working on their unlocked phone, they can help real problems like me who had directory damage a week before finals. I’ll sacrafice my iVibe app on my phone to have my computer fixed so I can graduate college.

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  126. NFDD on October 2nd, 2007 8:12 am

    “You wanna put diesel in your Mustang? Go ahead — just don’t expect Ford to honor the warranty.”

    I love it! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  127. David on October 2nd, 2007 10:20 am

    The cow analogy doesn’t work. But anyway…

    Why should Apple conform to your or anyone else’s expectations? Could it be that your expectations of ‘choice’ have been shaped by a mobile phone industry that has made a lot of poor decisions resulting in crappy handsets and even crappier user experiences? Just because Apple isn’t fulfilling your nerdish wet dreams – which were clear from January, so you had plenty of time to condition yourself – about what you want in a phone doesn’t mean they’re not doing the right thing. Do you know what plans Steve Jobs/Apple has for the iPhone? Nope, didn’t think so. Neither do I.

    Get this into your head: the iPhone is just over 12 weeks old. It’s a brand new device category for Apple. It’s a brand new industry for Apple. It is and will be an increasingly important market for Apple so let them get on with *their* strategy for the iPhone. I’d rather they take baby steps at first to ensure the future integrity and stability of the platform and their business partnerships (unless you think Microsoft is the company to emulate) than give in to the likes of you – a vocal minority, as Bourne would say – who cannot see the wood from the trees, have their knickers in a knot, and who want everything yesterday. You can’t have it all; as Austin Powers said, “I want a toilet seat made out of gold but it’s just not going to happen.” If you don’t like what Apple is doing, as others have said, don’t buy their product. Go for a Nokia or a Blackberry or a Zune with a subscription service. Third party apps is something I’d love to see on the iPhone but I’d rather wait until Apple thinks it’s the correct time, for whatever reason; that is their prerogative.

    I have to say on a wider point that having listened to MacBreak Weekly and TWiT for a while it’s clear you’re a technology enthusiast, not a technology expert. What did you study at University? Oh yes, I thought so. Your strength is in presenting radio, not commentating on technology. In stark contrast, the views of Andy Ihnatko about technology matters are interesting and insightful. What did Andy study at University? Oh yes, I thought so. Do you see a correlation?

  128. Ben on October 2nd, 2007 10:34 am

    Well said Leo. I agree completely.

  129. Stan OBrien on October 2nd, 2007 10:58 am

    If someone sold you a cow for half the cost of a real cow and said “Part of this sale is a binding contract that you will only make milk” would you blame the seller or would you accept that the price of the cow balances out the pain of the contract ?

    Apparently the subsidy on an iPhone is substantial enough that the contract with ATT causes Apple to do things they might not normally do. How many people would pay $999 for a fully unlocked and unrestricted iPhone? There’s just no market for it. Ivory tower ideology doesn’t sell products if they are too expensive.

  130. Steve on October 2nd, 2007 11:20 am

    Okay here is a resounding vote for your point of view Leo. I’m very interested to see where the law suites go or if there might even be a congressional involvement. I’ve not seen the terms of service but I’m curious if they really did allow for a bricking and then refusal to fix it while still under warranty. And where is the original paper work that said people agreed to those terms of service.
    Hmm another though came to mind they did not only stop service they rendered the actual device unusable. The device which is owned by the customer. I would think that a violation of terms of service would only allow them to cancel service not the device. And if you never ran on AT&T’s network you never agreed to their terms of service.

  131. Quaro on October 2nd, 2007 11:46 am

    A general response to everyone saying that people should ‘shut up and stop whining’.

    Consumer backlash is free market forces at work. Apple needs to consider the tradeoff between increased revenue from a closed system and pissing off their loudest evangelists — the guys wearing ‘Think Different’ tshirts and writing Tap Tap Revolution because they love the device so much. Apple can tell them to shut up and stop whining, and they certainly have the legal right to do whatever they want, but they shouldn’t be surprised when lots of customers exercise their right to bitch about Apple publicly and convince others not to buy iPhones.

  132. chriswicks on October 2nd, 2007 1:08 pm

    Just curious, what if you paid your early termination fee? Then you would not have violated your att contract and would be well in your rights to bring the iPhone to tmobile. Isn’t that what the latest dmca wxention protected?

  133. Mike D on October 2nd, 2007 1:09 pm

    Leo, you agreed to the terms and conditions of this phone when you bought it. If you don’t agree with them why on earth did you buy this phone in the first place? Maybe I’m in the minority here but I think you setting a poor example here. You Buy a product – fully aware of the limitations of that product, blatantly violate the terms and conditions of that product, and then cry foul when you experience the repercussions of your behavior.

  134. Matthew Stinar on October 2nd, 2007 1:12 pm

    The cow analogy is a little broken. As far as Apple is concerned, their the farmer and we as consumers are the cow. The investors are the customers (not us) and Farmer Apple will milk us or slaughter us as he pleases to serve his customers. After all, the customer is always right!

  135. Matthew Stinar on October 2nd, 2007 1:16 pm

    I should add that all of the artificial limitations Leo described are merely the fences that Farmer Apple uses to keep us eating out of his field so that he can continue to milk (exploit) us to his benefit and that of his customers (investors).

  136. Ben on October 2nd, 2007 1:35 pm

    The unlocking of iphones started roughly a month ago. I can’t imagine that update 1.1.1 wasn’t in full scale testing by that stage. I don’t think that apple wrote 1.1.1 in response to unlocking. But, maybe that should check the version of the firmware before they apply the update.

  137. The Maus on October 2nd, 2007 1:47 pm

    Leo you knew the rules, you broke the rules, now you don’t like the rules? Come on Leo stop complaining. This cow analogy just doesn’t hold up except for the waste it creates. In an earlier podcast you were so leary of hacking the phone, now you have done it and bang you go off on a tirade.
    Question did you hack your other phones? did you complain when you couldn’t get the phone you really wanted on the carrier of your choice?Did you accept what software was available for the phone and the extent of its functionality. Come on Leo answer me these questions?
    Leo you blame apple as being so deliberate. Could it be that maybe just maybe your hacking caused enough changes to the firmware that their legitimate right to provide an update which fixes 10 other security flaws bricked your phone because you made changes to the firmware.
    Also you didn’t have to do the update you were told that it could brick the phone, and you did it anyways, hello earth to Leo it doesn’t take a person with a good sence of the use of apposable thumbs to figure out that maybe you should hold off. Yes Inow then you couldn’t load your itunes music on it and your videos. Oh thats right you made changes to it, thanks for playing.
    Or maybe this is your way of fueling the fire of those who are stuck like you are leo, you are trying to whip up people enough to support your opinion for something you did that went wrong. Also Leo as a very tech savy guy you know what can happen when you dwell in the art of hacking and modify something beyond manufacture specs. Sometime it goes horribly wrong down the road. How many over clocking failure did you have? You didn’t get all bent when you burned up a processsor and motherboard, you chalked it up as a loss. You have been down this road but this time you have decided to take it out on a company because you feel slighted because you pushed the envelope and this time the price was high.
    Leo you make way to much money to be acting like me joe user who just cost himself 500 dollars. Why not take the high road say I learned, this what will happen, and walk with me as I attempt to fix it.
    Now before you think I am sort of mac fundy in that I believe apple does no wrong, think again apple does, has done, and will again do wrong and thiss is not there most shining hour. The way this phone has been handled in many ways is a PR and marketing nightmare and should havebeen done differently. If, if Apple deliberatly put code in that bricked the phone, then I think they have some serious explaining to do. My thoughts Leo on something you will never read.

  138. Miniboss on October 2nd, 2007 4:34 pm

    “Unfortunately, we suspect the truth isn’t quite such a juicy story for those looking to lay blame. We’ve seen just as many reports of legitimate, “factory fresh” users getting bricked iPhones as those who’ve just added apps, SIM unlocked their devices, or done both. In fact, besides a lot of hearsay and anger from the tech community, we’ve seen absolutely nothing which indicates to us that Apple is targeting users who’ve hacked their phones and is bricking them on update. In an informal and totally unscientific poll here on Engadget, the number of iPhone users who had never hacked their device but wound up bricked was very similar to the number of users who did hack and brick their device — and that’s even with polls showing far more voting users hacked their phones than not.”

    This was posted on Engadget here: http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/01/a-note-to-both-apple-and-iphone-customers-on-the-v1-1-1-update/

  139. More iPhone update reax - this time from Leo Leporte | Blog of Much Holding on October 2nd, 2007 6:35 pm

    […] Finally, Leo Laporte, a huge advocate of Apple, has posted the following: Read more. […]

  140. Zaphod on October 2nd, 2007 8:25 pm

    Woah. Way over the top Leo.

    I agree that it’s annoying that Apple is doing this, but hey – your terms of service state that if you go and load non-approved Apple software on your phone, you forfeit support. You and anyone else affected didn’t have to click the “Update” link. Your phones would have continued to work just fine.

    But you violated the terms of service that you agreed to (by loading 3rd party software on), clicked the link, then were shocked to find that stuff no longer worked. What would the point of a service agreement be if you didn’t agree to it in the first place? You want the best of both worlds, and are conveniently ignoring the fact that you AGREED to this behavior.

  141. Bunga on October 3rd, 2007 9:47 am

    This was my response to the applephoneshow leo-cow…

    The more I think about this whole bricking thing this is my take. IT’S ONE BIG GAME. Ok, so you…
    First you Hacked the iphone knowing there was a chance to “brick” it (or whatever that means, never a true brick is it? really is it? unless you did a hardware hack and touched something you were not suppose to)
    Then You knowingly upgraded to 1.1.1 that “might” brick (na I don’t like the term brick here either) how about softbrick it.

    ok so here is the deal. now apple comes out with a upgrade that softbricks the iphone. then the hackers figure out how to un-softbrick the phone then they’ll find out how to un-lock the phone again. Yah 3rd party apps.

    How long did it take to jailbreak the phone to begin with? well thats your chance you’ll have to take for them to figure out how to un-softbrick these phones. The phone still works, just not yet. Then apple will come out with another update that will softbrick the phone again and again and again. Hackers will un-softbrick it again and again and again (nice circle we have here). Or hackers figure out how to implement x.x.x updates without updating thru itunes. Then someone else will come out with a open souce os for the iphone hardware…..etc etc etc.

    Definition of softbrick: Software based brick that renders a piece of hardware useless until it is fixed by software that restores the device to “normal” use

  142. naum on October 3rd, 2007 11:31 am

    interview with ambrosia software on itoner and 1.1.1 update

    We’re not putting anything but data on the iPhone, and we’re doing it in the right way, and we’re putting it in the user area of the iPhone. Apple is intentionally making sure that products like ours don’t work. That I think is a mistake – it’s as if in an iPhone OS update, Apple decided that MP3s you got from ripping a CD should no longer play on your iPhone, and you should instead buy them from their store.


    Way to go Apple in alienating developers…

  143. Jim G. on October 3rd, 2007 11:50 am

    When I walked into the Apple store to purchase my iphone there was no one halding a gun to me making me spend $599 for the phone plus the $170 to cancel a verizon contract. I bought it for the applications it had on it plus the hope Apple would add to it with time. To think I or anyone else should do without upgrades so the few who chose to hack their phone could continue to have their changes is just wrong. Prior to the last update there was a clear warning that to update may damage a modified phone and you could choose to update or not to update. Those that chose to update after the warning did so for a reason. They wanted the update or wanted to see if it would really brick the phone so I say let Apple continue to make updates and if it bricks a hacked phone after you were warned of what could happen the so be it.
    I and the other owners that have chosen to use the phone as it was at purchase should never have to do without upgrades for those that have chosen to make the hack.

  144. seen it before on October 3rd, 2007 12:54 pm

    Apple wisely decided to purge the party of unbelievers with their 1.1.1 update. Hopefully, Stalin…er, Steve will be able to keep it pure of any future dissidents.

    I’m amazed that anyone would actually defend Apple’s actions.

    Jobs is Apple’s greatest asset as well as their greatest liability. They’re going to screw this up the way they did by not licensing Mac OS.

  145. jake on October 3rd, 2007 6:25 pm

    please with cow.
    iPhone works.
    use as intended.
    Remember this is still V1.
    The first iMac & iPods were very poor when
    you look at the current ones .

    The 2nd & 3rd gens are gonna be the real wow!

    Love MBW aka rathole weekly

  146. Danny on October 3rd, 2007 8:31 pm

    To the people that hacked their iPhone: Apple didn’t put a gun to your head and force you to update. Apple warned you, but still you updated and now you’re surprised that your phone doesn’t work? How foolish of you. If you can’t take care of your toys and use them properly, then you aren’t mature enough to own them. So sorry for your loss.

  147. Kevin Williams on October 3rd, 2007 9:10 pm

    PDAs and SmartPhones didn’t allow 3rd party apps for years. My, how quickly we forget.

    @jake – rathole weekly – LOL

  148. Michael Piskuric.com on October 3rd, 2007 10:01 pm

    […] have as well. Well known tech journalist Leo Laporte has a well written and well read post on his blog entitled ‘What if…’ that argues his point. I intend to make a similar argument […]

  149. Mike on October 4th, 2007 4:37 am

    Still a good phone compared to others. Your whining on your show has become kind of boring. If you don’t like the phone buy a different one. Please change the subject on Macbreak or change the name to iphone-whine…

  150. Bob Cat on October 4th, 2007 7:10 am


    You had me convinced on buying a MAC for my next computer. It was going to be a high end Mac Pro.

    Apple’s iphone firmware update fiasco convinced me otherwise.

    The best way to tell Apple you’re unhappy with their behavior is to not buy apple products between now and 1/1/08.

    It costs nothing and requires no effort.

    I enjoy all your netcasts.

  151. Andre on October 4th, 2007 1:06 pm

    Sorry. I meant @Jim G.

    What are you talking about? If you are using the phone according to the rules then of course you will receive updates.

  152. Leif on October 4th, 2007 1:29 pm

    The fact is, anyone who bought an iPhone knew those were the terms before they bought the phone.

    They made an agreement — a contract — with Apple that they would use the phone as it was intended to be used. They broke that contract, not Apple. They ended that relationship, not Apple.

    Apple hasn’t betrayed anyone. Not only did they not maliciously “brick” the phones, they WARNED everyone beforehand, and the installer itself warned, in BIG BOLD TYPE, that if you had “hacked” your iPhone, chances were the update would cause the phone to stop working. It then offered them the chance to say “no thanks” to the update and continue using their modified phones — phones they had modified only after breaking the contract they had entered into with Apple.

    Apple provided the update to its customers to improve their phones — something Apple agreed to do in exchange for a continuing stream of revenues from the phone. If you hacked your phone to go with another carrier, you’re no longer sending money Apple’s way, and Apple has no obligation to provide improvements to the phone that you got and then broke the contract.

    Being pissed at Apple for “bricking” phones is like suing a 7-11 after you steal a sandwich that gives you food poisoning.

  153. iFelix on October 4th, 2007 1:39 pm

    I’m still trying to work out how you can make a phone call with a cow.

  154. wade on October 4th, 2007 1:51 pm

    Yes, it’s your technology and you can do whatever you please with it but why would you complain when they update the software to add features to the phone? What should Apple do? Call every person who has bought an iPhone and ask “In what way have you modified your phone? We’re very concerned that everything you’ve done might get broken in our next update and even though you clearly didn’t understand the limitations of the device in terms of carrier and allowed applications, we really want to make all of your tinkering work.” Your viewpoint here is just ignorant. Did Apple’s update specifically search your phone to see if you added applications? Did it specifically search your phone to ensure you were using the right carrier? Or did it just replace the entire operating system and in doing so make all of the cracks break? I’m guessing it did the latter. Please, a little less grandstanding.

  155. jmarc21a on October 4th, 2007 2:07 pm

    What if…

    What if people like you stopped whining all the time and got a life?

    What if people actually wrote informative articles instead of irrational hogwash like this?

    What if you married a woman knowing exactly who she was but wanted her be be something different and then bitched because everytime you tried to change her she refused and stayed the way she was?

    Everyone knew what they were buying when they bought the iphone, No one tricked them. If they wanted something other than the iphone they shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.

    I have an iphone and every day I’m more amazed at how well it works. I know that over the course of time there will be updates that will improve it. I bought the iphone for what it is, not for what I wanted it to be.

  156. lookmark on October 4th, 2007 2:37 pm


    It’s more like, Apple sets up a barn, and asks everyone to bring their cow in. The barn has a huge sign that reads “DON’T BRING IN YOUR COW IF YOU’RE MAKING CHEESE OR IT WILL DIE.”

    In other words, once you hack or unlock your phone, it’s no longer supported by Apple. It’s supported by the people who develop the hacks, and you should turn to them for updates. Of course, you can always reset your phone and return the fold should you so please (at least for apps – unlocking is more complicated I’m sure).

    That said, I think third-party development for the iPhone is essential and eventually will come (just a much more controlled format). Apple would have to be very stupid not to allow this in some form.

  157. DrDreg on October 4th, 2007 3:03 pm

    What if a company worked for years to develop a revolutionary smart phone?
    What if that company had to ally with a cell-phone carrier to deliver optimal services to their customers?
    What if that phone was in a barely post-beta configuration, where experience with the system was low and willingness to countenance disruptions of the OS minimal?
    What if you had plans to progressively open up your phone to developers as your confidence and experience in your OS and device increased?
    What if, then, some clever wireheads with too much time on their hands cracked the phone and began altering the innards to an increasingly aggresive degree?
    What if, before you knew it, your phone was now channeling T-Mobile, in direct violation of your lucrative contract with ATT?
    What if, at the same time, you were negotiating contracts with the rest of the WORLD’s cell phone companies, all of whom wanted assurance that you could lock down your side of the business?

    What would you do?

  158. DrDreg on October 4th, 2007 3:07 pm

    I.e., they’re a COMPANY in BUSINESS to make MONEY for their shareholders. They are bound by law to do so. They’re not your best friend or your mom, and Steve Jobs is just the CEO, not a totalitarian strongman. Get over it; it’s just a phone.

  159. Andy Hayne on October 4th, 2007 3:30 pm

    What if I was the first person to figure out how to milk a cow and patented the process?

    And then sold you a cow and a license to use my process only if you agreed to not make cheese?

  160. Carlos on October 4th, 2007 3:31 pm

    FSJ has taken a shot at you, Leo…



  161. William on October 4th, 2007 3:59 pm

    Wooh way to go leo on the FSJ love – personally I’m getting sick of Daniel Lyons (Fake Steve Jobs) all his blog seems to be doing now is ‘bashing’ the hell out of others – I liked it when he made witty, interesting and in-depth blog posts.

    Now it just contains a lot swearing oh well we can now go out and buy his new book, priced at just $15.61…

  162. JulesLt on October 4th, 2007 4:04 pm

    Leo – let’s step back a second. Do we know that Apple deliberately bricked the phones? Or was it the hack that bricked them?

    I can’t see a good financial motivation for doing so, given that each working phone represents 2 years of revenue. The best case would have been restoring the phone to factory state – and it would have avoided easy to predict negative PR. The only upside I can see is that it will make people suspicious of any future unlocking.

    For what it’s worth – the 2 year contract and inability to change networks is precisely why the iPhone isn’t for me, much as I’d love the hardware.

    As for the metaphor – the problem is that you didn’t buy a Cow, you bought a contract to produce milk. Even if you had to buy your own Cow first to get the contract. And the terms of the contract were that you only use your Cow to do what Apple say you’re allowed to do.

    The fact that the iPhone and iPod touch CAN do so much more is moot.

    Eventually I suspect Apple will need to compete with Smartphones, but at the moment that market is miniscule compared to competing with the RAZR or Chocolate – which is where this device is really aimed.

  163. openacanatuna on October 4th, 2007 5:22 pm

    I’m a regular listener of MBW, TWiT & Tech Guy and I think I’m just going to stop listening for a month or so. The last two weeks have been non-stop bitching about Apple & Leo’s iPhone. Alright already – I think the most casual listener has got it figured out that Leo’s pissed and is planning on whining for, apparently, the rest of eternity about Apple.

    OK, some teeny tiny percentage of iPhone owners who apparently didn’t understand the deal when they bought their phone are now staring at blank screens – BFD – surely there’s SOME other tech news besides that going on. This week’s edition of MBW was about 80 minutes out of 82 minutes one long snarky comment about 1.1.1. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE IT A REST. The other 99.8% of iPhone users, judging from the people I run into still proudly showing off their iPhone to anyone who’ll sit still, seem perfectly content.

    I’m not even going to go into the flaws in Leo’s analogy re: the dead cow – they’re significant & display pretty much total lack of understanding of Apple’s business and legal situation.

    Leo – please get rid of your iPhone and get on that waiting list for the Zunephone – I’m sure you’ll be much happier.

  164. Not Dead Yet on October 4th, 2007 6:18 pm

    […] Comments Larry on The Race Beginsopenacanatuna on What if…Kevin Krewell on The Race BeginsJulesLt on What if…William on What […]

  165. Steve on October 4th, 2007 8:22 pm

    Gee, if I had an iPhone, and I bricked it because I did something that Apple and/or ATT didn’t want me to do, I’d be upset too. But I don’t have to get a self-righteous about it, since I’ve been warned since day 1 that I won’t have a supported method of unlocking or installing apps. Wonder if people’s attitudes would be the same if it was a Razr, Nozia, Sony-Ericcson, etc.???

    I don’t believe that Jobso did this deliberately – it’s just an outcome of the extent of changes 1.1.1 introduced, plus the need to protect their collective investment (ie. make it less unlockable). Because of the variety of jailbraks and apps out there, there’s no way they could cater for an un-wind that would allow you to go back to your ATT SIM. Though I do think that ability would be more desirable and commercially sensible than bricking the iPhone.

    Analogies (cows, cars, etc.) are only useful in illustrating points, not proving them. Opinions are like assholes – everyone has them (well, most people anyway), and they usually stink.

    Anyway Leo, love the podcasts … I’ll still listen. Regards to Scott B.

  166. Hutch on October 5th, 2007 1:15 am

    So Leo, you stupidly applied the update and bricked your own phone, despite the warnings otherwise. Your fault nobody elses. Of course this is the same Leo who passes his Skype password onto to some nomark voip company – who keys in all his bank account details to a third party website – Leo Leo Leo, there is no saving you from yourself it seems. 😉

  167. yet another steve on October 5th, 2007 2:10 am

    It’s EXACTLY what they said it was.
    It’s a freaking phone.
    It is not a computer.
    Like your car, which is also not a computer.

    I’ve really had it with all this BS.
    Apple delivered EXACTLY what they said they would. EXACTLY. They could not have been any clearer.

    It’s not an evil conspiracy. It’s a cellphone.

    Apple makes wonderful computers that run Unix and Windows and Mac OS and thus just about any application ever created on this planet.

    The mac is not a phone. The iphone is not a computer. Doh!

    The value proposition of the phone was that it would be SIMPLE. Simple means automatically updated/managed by Apple. How did you read into this that it was a computer? And what part of “exclusive to AT&T; 2 year contract required” did you not understand?

    And Apple didn’t brick your phone YOU did. The cell network didn’t reach out and lock up your phone. You ignored EVERYTHING the company told you at every step of the way bout what the product was and was not and how it worked and then whine all over the internet because my f’ing God it is exactly what they said it would be.

    Now yes it is your phone and no one stops you from taking it apart and doing things it wasn’t intended to do. Happy hobby science project. You can also put it in a blender.

    Personally I wanted the iPhone to have a real SDK/API. Then I realized I cared little about the phone, I just want a programmable pocket sized touchscreen MacOS X based computer.

    Apple made it crystal clear that this was not such a device. They could not have been any clearer. I didn’t buy one. I love Apple products. I do not have Stockholm syndrome. Apple delivers what they promise. When it’s what I want, I buy.

    I can’t help think of Fake Steve talking about how stupid people weren’t spozed to get iphones. He was right. And the most stupid are not the celebs who got it because it looked cool, it’s the people who were too arrogant or illiterate to read/comprehend the simple message of what it was.

    My analogy would be something about wanting a computer, so you buy a pickup truck, hack the dashboard to be the display and expect the dealer to fix it without making the speedometer back into a speedmeter.


  168. FSW on October 5th, 2007 4:01 am

    Would you like some cheese with that whine? :-/

  169. Jeff on October 5th, 2007 6:06 am

    How about this, you buy a cow with the expresses purpose of making Milk, the farmer supplies you with a vaccine to keep the milk that comes out of the cow pure and tasty, but that vaccine has a side affect if you try to make cheese. you choose to make cheese so you have to stop using the vaccine or the cow will suffer from the side affect.

  170. Patrick on October 5th, 2007 10:33 am

    What if it really had nothing to do with Apple doing anything intentional in the update? What if the software installed by the hackers caused their own problems? You FCUK with the firmware, you break your phone. Too bad. All you stupid SHTIs who broke your phones deserve what happened (even if you can’t read a EULA).

  171. Brian on October 5th, 2007 11:42 am

    One small comment to add to this argument — before the iPhone was released I remember Leo talking about his (old?) phone (maybe an N95?) and how neat it was to put all this 3rd party software on, but it would crash all the time. Maybe the idea behind “locking down” the iPhone is to avoid just that. And, if you do want 3rd party software, buy another phone that allows you to risk the core function of the phone (making phone calls) in exchange for the ability for 3rd party software to exist on it.

  172. Will F on October 5th, 2007 12:28 pm

    I don’t get your point, and your analogies are quite poor.

    Apple explicitly stated it’s not making the iPhone a platform for development. Just because you can hack it and develop on it doesn’t mean this is something Apple should support or feel obligated to work around.

    You feel entitled to the hackable iPhone, but Apple does not sell a hackable iPhone.

    If you hack your version of Word, adding code to it as you like, and then you install an update from Microsoft that overwrites your hacks, who is to blame for that? Microsoft can be blamed for a lot of nasty things out there, but in the above situation, their “guilt” is dubious.

    And, let’s be clear about this: if Apple releases and update and says this update makes changes to the OS that will damage a hacked iPhone, and you install that update on your hacked iPhone – it is you who have damaged your phone.

    You weren’t under any obligation to update it. Apple didn’t automatically install it. If you hadn’t updated your iPhone it would still work the same way.

    The issue amounts to this: you feel entitled to have Apple work around a miscellany of hacks that Apple has explicitly not supported; Apple, on the other hand, has clearly said you’re not.

    Since Apple’s been very clear about unsupported hacks from the start, and they didn’t force anyone to accept the update, the premise and reasoning of your article is erroneous.

    Apple should never have said the iPhone runs OSX. People have interpreted that as an invitation to treat the iPhone as a computer.

  173. rjf on October 5th, 2007 12:29 pm

    John Gruber at Daring Fireball just took Leo’s arguments (and his analogy) and blew it apart. Sorry Leo I think John is spot-on. Has there ever been an issue that has caused such division on both ends of the apple-fan aisle?

  174. Catatonic on October 5th, 2007 12:33 pm

    I feel your pain, Leo. But, I don’t think the computer analogy holds. It’s a phone. Rather, it is, as Jobs-o stated, an iPod/phone/Internet communications device. He never called it a computing platform. As you guys said on this week’s MBW, they never should have let it out of the door in its hackable state if they knew they were going to lock it down and possibly brick it later. Personally, I think they were caught off-guard by the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the hacker community. (Sidebar: Erica Sadun is a Coding Goddess.)

    Speaking of hackers, I do think they should be held at least partially accountable for releasing an unlock procedure that could not be fully reversed. If people knew beforehand that it was a one-way trip, they might have been more wary.

  175. macacanadian on October 5th, 2007 12:54 pm

    I’m so freaking tired of this argument.

    I live in Canada. I have an iPhone. Obviously, it is hacked.

    I did not update it. Natch. If you did and are surprised that you do not have the 3rd party apps anymore or now own a brick, you are an idiot.

    There is one reason and one reason only that third party apps are not allowed on the iPhone.

    Hint: it’s not freaking Jobs’ vanity.

    The very first app out there would have been VOIP and destroyed the relationship with AT&T. Apple neeeeeeded to partner with a mobile provider. If they didn’t partner up, it would have been nothing more than an internet appliance sitting in the margins. That would have made you geeks happy, but is a big waste of time for Apple.

    The iPhone is the wedge. VOIP is the future – VOIP is not now. All of this is the beginning of the end for mobile telcos. It’s inevitable.

    In two years or so, when all of this has shaken out and you have your VOIP iPhone or Google phone or whatever, all of the stupid bleating you’re doing now is going to sound retarded.

    Just shut up – especially with the lamest analogy ever (cows? what are you, stupid?) – already and wait for the movie to start.

  176. Random Hacker on October 5th, 2007 12:57 pm

    Sorry, but you’re dead wrong on this.

    I work for a company that sells a “computer” — it is a NAS device on top of an embedded Linux system — and it’s really very easy for someone to install third-party applications on this device, and we overwrite the entire root filesystem on software updates. No one cries foul over this; it’s a sensible way to handle and *extremely complicated system update.* It’s what we’re capable of doing, and we have the right to do it — we don’t prohibit you from installing more software, but we also absolutely don’t have the resources to support you if you do.

    What would happen if you also flashed the ROM and the bootloader on said device, then tried to install an official update? Unless you did it carefully, you’d “brick” your NAS. Same deal with the iPhone; you flash some part of the ROM, you are doing something unrecoverable and dangerous.

    I’m a Free Software advocate, and I would really love to be able to install anything I wanted on my iPhone, use it with a different carrier, etc. But crying foul because Apple (or any software company) doesn’t invest the manpower in helping you do this is just stupid.

  177. JGowan on October 5th, 2007 1:21 pm

    Your story just receive a sound beating, being pummeled by the Great John Gruber on Daringfireball: A lambasting both tasty, satisfying and richly seasoned. You have been officially handed your ass, good sir.

    To quote Gruber from a very recent headline of his: “If I could figure out a way to agree with this more than 100 percent, I would, but 100 percent will have to do.”

    Well, I agree with him 1,000%, possible or not.


    I’m so fed up with the iBrick whiners. No one put a gun to your collective heads. You wanted to have it all. You figured Apple was bluffing and you’d soon have all of your neat 3rd party gizmos a-whirling, all the while, making calls with a T-Mobile sim, sipping lattés at Starbucks and downloading the latest Britney.

    Problem was, Apple didn’t bluff — your greediness cost many of you the use of something that 3 months, mint out-of-box, was very, very cool. I have no tears for you or any that think that somehow Apple is at fault.

  178. owen-b on October 5th, 2007 2:14 pm

    Everyone should read the following link and see what a lot of hot air (ie, melodramatic sh*t) this article actually is.


  179. Koen van Hees on October 5th, 2007 2:31 pm

    I drive a Volvo. I know next to nothing about cars. Every year or so I go to a garage. A Volvo garage. The car drives. That’s what we expect from it. It does it in a most satisfying fashion.
    Now, I know there are car freaks around. I kind of admire them. And about one day a year I actually envy them. When they get their beautiful British job driving (from gas station to gas station, but still, look at it go).
    Now to the iPhone. Apple appliances (not the same thing as computers, eh?) are very hackable. But you don’t hack em and then do their updates blindly. Especially when they tell you what will happen to your hacks if you do. If you still go ahead, and think your contraption will work as advertised and then some… well, you’re like me and you should have been driving a Volvo.

  180. Koen van Hees on October 5th, 2007 2:59 pm

    To add to the car analogy, those guys fixing their TR7, when their car breaks down – and in their case it is almost always the car’s fault, they really knew how to not make cars then – the first thing they DON’T do is whine. They sit down, think, call a friend… if needs be, they make their own parts to get their machine up and running again. If the above doesn’t turn you on, relax. It just means you are part of the 99,9% of people who should never ever buy a TR7 – or open up the hood, for that matter…

  181. Super Duh on October 5th, 2007 4:01 pm

    Further, it is entirely possible to purchase, activate, unlock, install your own software, and use an iPhone without EVER agreeing to any of Apple’s terms. There is not even any “click here to agree with the terms” on the iPhone itself, the legalese is in iTunes which doesn’t even come with the phone! In fact, if you buy the phone in the box, it comes with no terms inside, so does apple expect me to agree to whatever terms the decided to push down into iTunes before I happen to open my box containing my iPhone that i bought?

  182. Mike C on October 5th, 2007 5:10 pm

    Are you saying that Apple is promoting the iPhone as a computer? I’m not sure that I ever heard Apple say that or promote the iPhone as anything more than a “smart phone” and many “smart phones” do not allow the installation of 3rd party apps.

    As a result, I don’t think your computer analogy really fits.

  183. Fred Hamranhansenhansen on October 5th, 2007 9:30 pm

    The iPhone is not a computer, it’s a phone that has its own computer. The computer inside is for the iPhone to use the same as your PC is a computer for YOU to use.

  184. UniBoy on October 6th, 2007 7:08 am

    There’s an interesting post on Symmetry in Tech (which references this post and one from Daring Fireball) that agrees with a lot of what Leo says above. Basically accusing Apple of playing too “fast and lose” with the term “smartphone.” You can read it here:

  185. Capitalist Punks » Why Apple may have made a long-term mistake with the iPhone on October 6th, 2007 11:11 am

    […] Leo’s jumped in on this too: Let’s say you’re selling me a cow. You tell me that that cow is being sold for the express […]

  186. [self setNeedsDisplay: YES]; » What is a computer? on October 6th, 2007 3:20 pm

    […] has been a lot of back and forth about Apple’s iPhone 1.1.1 update lately. One side argues that the iPhone is a […]

  187. Joe Heathen on October 7th, 2007 7:56 am

    There once was a man who bought a cow. Not just any cow, but a rare and exotic breed that “just works” better than other cows. The company the man bought the cow from instructed him that this cow requires a special feed and care plan that matches its’ unique metabolism and insures the cow stays happy and healthy. The man decides it would make sense to use the recommended feed, as he wants to take good care of his very expensive new cow, and decides to follow the company’s care plan.

    One day, a hack….ummm, salesman arrives at his door. He’s offering a miracle product that makes cows create chocolate milk and crap cheddar cheese. All it takes is a simple operation that reroutes the cow’s intestinal tract, and a special recombinant chocolate producing growth hormone injection.

    At first the man is hesitant, as his expensive cow is “just working” pretty darn good. But he can’t resist the idea of a cheese crapping chocolate milk producing uber cow, and agrees to the plan.

    At first the man is gleeful, bragging and blogging to his friends that he has a special cow that does things cow’s just weren’t designed to do. He happily nibbles on his ass cheese, not really thinking to much about the condition of his cow’s health and what he has done to the cow’s intestinal tract.

    Eventually, the feed truck arrives with the specially formulated feed, and the delivery driver happily announces that the feed will not only help keep the cow healthy, but will actually make the cow stronger and “just work” better.

    “Now, before I can unload this feed”, says the driver, “I need to make sure you’ve been following our care plan.”

    “Um, yeah” says the man, wiping the chocolate milk moustache from his lip, “I’ve done everything you said.”

    “Okay, just sign here”, and the driver unloads the feed.

    The cow dives into the specially formulated feed and happily chows down. Suddenly, the cow’s eyes open wide, it projectile farts a gallon of yogurt, and drops dead on the spot. Apparantly, the feed hit an intestinal blockage in the cow’s customized plumbing and caused it to die.

    The man is appaled. His ridiculously expensive customized uber cow is now just a useless carcass.

    He glares at the delivery guy. “How could you do this to my cow? This is all YOUR fault!!! That feed you brought me is POISON! You owe me a NEW COW!!!”

    The delivery guy looks at the carcass, and then at the puddle of ass yogurt the cow left behind, and let’s out a sigh. “Hmph, that’s the third one today, that ass cheese salesman has been getting around.” He hops back in his truck and begins to pull away.

    “Wait!” screams the man “what are you going to do about this?! You killed my cow! You should have made a special feed for ass cheese customized bovine! I’ve been wronged! Waaaaahhhh!”

    The delivery driver leaves the man whining in the distance, shaking his head and muttering to himself as he drives. “If that clown wanted ass cheese and chocolate milk so bad, he should have bought a different breed. Why do these idiots keep messing with our cows?”

    He passes another farm, and lets out a wave to one of his regular customers. In his field is a big, strong, healthy cow, producing the finest milk in the county. “How’s Old Bossie working out for ya?” he yells to the man.

    “Working out great!” he yells back. “Been following your care plan, and that new feed is awesome! Been getting the sweetest milk every from that cow!”

    The driver smiles. “Glad we could be of service”.

  188. I’m Not An Apple Apologist, But… « The Daily Belmore on October 7th, 2007 10:45 am

    […] etc.).  But has Apple ever said they would put that on the phone?  No.  So why keep complaining about it?  If you don’t like it, don’t buy one (I certainly didn’t, and […]

  189. kersmackflat on October 7th, 2007 3:27 pm

    Stupid article. Computers are way different than cell phones. You don’t NEED the internet for a computer (to make a movie, organize pictures, etc.) but you do need service for a cell phone. Besides, look at all the other cell phone service providers, they don’t want Apple to work as close with their customers. ei. Verizon.

    BTW Joe Heathen, your cow story is perfect.

  190. DKWfan on October 7th, 2007 4:27 pm

    I work for a major telecomm equipment manufacturer. One of my jobs is to program our cellphones for fellow staffers so they have the latest version of the phone software to perform their duties.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have updated phones with the approved software, exactly as the software release notes described how to do it, with the latest software designed to install the software, and yet the phone got bricked.

    Now, imagine you have software written by someone who has disassembled/reverse-engineered the phone’s firmware, without full knowledge of how the phone works, but want to use it to modify key parts of the phone operating system.

    How can you, in all fairness, expect this rogue software to perform flawlessly, and, more to the point, expect it to continue to perform flawlessly when necessary manufacturer’s software updates are performed?

    Understanding that the phone OS is probably not the most stable in the world, can you honestly expect a phone to be able to work properly after mutant code that the original phone manufacturer can’t certify or test, has been installed, and then gets overwritten with code that has been tested and certified by the manufacturer during a periodic update?

    I probably didn’t quite say that right, but it seems to me that Apple is blameless in this situation. Apple can’t be responsible for third party phone OS patches and how the phone may behave when approved software is installed over the third party software.

    The third party applications are another story entirely. That was pretty crummy…

  191. sputnikzygote on October 12th, 2007 4:51 pm

    i’ll still buy apple stuff… well, to be specific 3rd, 4th, 5th gen apple stuff per usual.

    although it’s looking like a LONG while before the phone evolves into something i’ll drop cash on, but whatever, i can wait it out.

    *as long as it’s t-mobile friendly. F the ilecs!

  192. Greg Rise on October 25th, 2007 12:01 am

    1st… apple lovers need to realize that apple doesn’t care about apple geeks. If you mod it/hack it/whatever it, you are such a small apple % that they could care less…. cry as you may… no one cares about the < 1%.
    I’m normally a PC user and most PC users don’t even know what CMOS is… I’d be surprised if most Apple users knew that they pay 2 twice as much for hardware just so they can run a better OS.

    If you hacked your iphone and you update to 1.1.1 you = stupid. If you hacked your iphone and didn’t update to 1.1.1 you = smart geek. Either way apple does not care. Most people will buy the phone… use it with ATT and think it is great.

    Sure PC users know that all the software they use has issues… even XP, surely VISTA, maybe not Linux, but guess what… it is cheap… and geek friendly. You can do whatever you want with it and get a way with it.

    Summary if you are a Geek… don’t buy APPLE they are for the brain dead… wow this looks pretty… don’t care what it costs… love how simple it is… fan boys!.

    However, if you are a geek… buy geek… buy a PC that you can do anything you can imagine on… buy a regular cell phone that you can hack and get free apps on… 3rd party or whatever… but don’t ever think apple is for GEEKS… After all STEVE JOBS hates Bill Gates and therefore hates GEEKS… he will always be that way… so don’t cry about your dam iphone… wait until you can get it the way APPL wants to give it to you.


    PS… I’m a PC USER… this was written on an AMD system… fully hacked and still works… I also talk on an enV Version cell phone… fully hacked and still fully works!

  193. xaotica on October 25th, 2007 12:32 pm

    i totally agree with you, but simultaneously don’t see why it matters. i’ve had a smartphone for 2 years which has all the features of the iphone with the exception of the aesthetically pleasing interface. it cost me $200, works on wifi, works on any carrier, and lets me install whatever i want. i could see how this would be a big issue if the iphone was the only option available, but it’s just one of many smartphones with similar features.

    it seems to me like most of the people who are frustrated with the iphone situation are just not aware of all the other pdaphone options out there. many of people’s complaints about the iphone make me wonder how much research they did prior to purchasing it. and that in turn provokes a lack of sympathy in me. i don’t have the kind of money to buy an item that costs that much without researching it, and i feel like people who drop that amount of cash and only later on down the line research what they are buying deserve what they get to some extent.

    (note: i say this as someone who owns and enjoys many of apple’s other products, so this isn’t me hating on apple in general.)

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[1] Stockholm Syndrome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome