enkeli: (tardis calling)
[personal profile] enkeli
from today's wsj:

Hackers Bypass iPhone Limits


Less than one week after the much-ballyhooed release of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, hackers have figured out ways to override some of the restrictions imposed by Apple and AT&T Inc., the device's exclusive service provider.

But while the hacks are getting high visibility on the Web, their use likely will be limited to the most tech-savvy iPhone owners. Most customers probably will decide the hacks are too complicated or not worth the trouble. Also, Apple is skilled at battling hackers and is likely to figure out ways to overcome the overrides.

The most popular hack so far is targeted at the requirement that all iPhone users sign a wireless-service contract with AT&T. Without it, none of the device's features are supposed to work, including its Web browser and iPod music player.

Several hackers have posted on the Web step-by-step instructions on how to activate the iPhone's Web browser and iPod without signing up for an AT&T contract. One of the hackers is Jon Lech Johansen, a Norwegian software expert who infuriated Hollywood by creating a program that allowed customers to copy DVDs onto their computers. He has also worked on ways to alter the iTunes software so songs could be downloaded to devices other than iPods.

Several iPhone users confirmed that the iPhone hacks worked. Jean Sebastien, a television director in Paris, paid $850 on eBay for his iPhone. No European wireless carrier is yet able to offer service for the device. Nevertheless, Mr. Sebastien said he followed Mr. Johansen's instructions and got it to work as a Web browser and iPod.

But it is doubtful many consumers will follow this route. To do so would mean buying an iPhone, which sells for $499 or $599, and only using it as an iPod and Web browser. Moreover, the hacked Web browser, which is designed to work in all areas reached by AT&T's wireless network, will only work in Wi-Fi hot spots.

Hackers are working on much more substantial overrides, according to comments on blogs and consumer Web sites. For example, they are trying to figure out ways to get the iPhone to work on the networks of other carriers. This is especially desirable overseas, where the iPhone isn't on the market. "It will be possible in two weeks," Mr. Sebastien predicted.

Hackers also are trying -- so far unsuccessfully -- to download unapproved applications off the Web and use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi phone. One Web posting gives iPhone owners guidance on how to activate the device with a cheap prepaid plan from AT&T rather than a two-year contract. But a comment on that site from a user said the hack doesn't work.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the company is "monitoring the situation and, if necessary, will take appropriate action to stop it." An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Some iPhone owners said they are justified in trying to circumvent Apple and AT&T's restrictions. They maintained that because they own the expensive phone, they should be free to use it on any network and download any application.

But Mr. Siegel said the iPhone "explicitly requires the customer to sign up for a wireless voice and data plan from AT&T." Any attempt to bypass this requirement is an "illegitimate use" of the phone," he said.

Consumer advocates have been critical of the iPhone requirements. Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, said that in many other countries consumers can use their handsets on any network they choose. "I'm not sure these are terms that consumers should be subjected to," he said. (ed: HAHAHAHAHA! WOO!)

Apple has long played a cat-and-mouse game with hackers, often coming out on top. Successful hacks of iTunes, for example, often last a short time, until Apple releases a software update.

--Nick Wingfield contributed to this article.

Write to Li Yuan at li.yuan@wsj.com

my question is: why would you pay $600 for what is essentially a widescreen ipod with wifi and bluetooth? the whole reason it's $600 is the phone crap. srsly, y'all, my abusive bf steve will come through NO REALLY HES NOT JUST SAYING IT THIS TIME.

my predicition: widescreen ipod w/ wifi and bluetooth (incl safari etc.) by september at the latest. announcement in august.

my hope: it will also include newton's handwriting recognition technology. (ultimately, i'd hoped for a slot drive to play mini-dvds, but i realise that would go against the whole itunes movie download market. not to mention i heard that sony is scrapping the whole mini-dvd movie thinger; hell, you can rip movies for view on your psp anyway.)
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enkeli: (Default)
ultra violent romantic

October 2008


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