Monthly Archive for September, 2007

Bricked Unlocked iPhone unBricked: How to Roll Back to 1.0.2

It looks like it is possible to roll phones with the 1.1.1 firmware back to 1.0.2.  A good thing if you want to run 3rd party apps.  Eventually this may open the door to unlocking the phone again.  The method requires a handful of 3rd party apps, and jumping backwards through a few hoops.

Apple’s BS claims of unlocking causing “irreversable damage” to the iPhone software are looking pretty bogus right now.  Big suprise.

I haven’t tried it yet, but the ability to run 3rd party apps is looking more appealing than Apple’s mediocre updates.

iPhone Firmware 1.1.1 Released: Proceed with Caution

The new version of the iPhone Firmware has finally been released.

I’d wait if you are fond of 3rd party applications or your carrier unlocked iPhone and see how things develop.  So far, it’s not looking good.  Unlocked iPhones aren’t even usable on AT&T’s network after the update, and tools for installing 3rd party apps no longer work.  If the iPod Touch is any indication, it could be a while before the iPhone hackers figure out how to install 3rd party apps again.

Oh, and a warning.  The “backups” Apple makes of your iPhone every time you sync with iTunes aren’t good for much.  They don’t back up photos you’ve taken, and if there is a glitch during the restore process, iTunes just blows your old backup away without giving you a chance to try again.  Say goodbye to all your notes, your settings, and any contacts and calendar items you aren’t syncing with another program.

Facebook Breaks Facebook For iPhone Users

Facebook has made it impossible to use their main website from the iPhone. They have a lovely iPhone version, which iPhone users are now forced to use. Unfortunately, the iPhone version doesn’t do a number of things (groups, for example), so I used to the full version of the site and it worked pretty well.

Facebook’s move is the latest of a growing trend. Users buy iPhones and delight that they are able to use most websites from their phone. Publishers start to notice iPhone users and start rerouting them to mobile versions of their sites. In many cases, the version they show iPhone users is the same lame version designed for use with the mobile browsers on cheap cell phones. In some cases, it’s an iPhone optimized version, but those versions are usually a small subset of the functionality of the main site.

I think Amazon, Google and Digg are doing the best job so far among big sites. They give you the option of choosing to use the main version of the site.

The rest of you, PLEASE STOP. I bought an iPhone because I wanted access to the whole web from my phone. Forcing me into your half-assed mobile version is a step backwards and makes me hate you. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

Update: Apparently if you enter the full URL to your regular facebook homepage, like http://myuniversity.facebook.co/home.php you can get into the full version.

Apple Casts Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Over Unlocked iPhones

I warned you to be cautious about buying an iPhone with the intent of unlocking it for use with another carrier. Today, Apple issued their own warning as the intro to a press release about the next iPhone update, due later this week.

Apple claims that “many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software.”  This is of course pure and unmitigated BS, the only irreparable damage that can occur to the iPhone’s software is Apple screwing up big time and loosing the source code.  The code that the unlock tools change is code that Apple has updated before and will update again.  In fact, I’m sure they will update it in the next release and break the unlocks.

Let’s hope that Apple doesn’t punish some of the iPhone’s biggest, most dedicated fans by actually rendering their iPhone permanently useless.

If you already have an unlocked iPhone, and you want to update, I’d wait until an unlock is available that works with the new firmware, and then, before installing the new firmware, I’d also check out Erica Stadun’s article on how to relock your iPhone so as not to provoke Apple into disabling your iPhone during the update process.

Other Coverage:

Don’t Buy an iPhone to Unlock it.

It has become easier than ever to buy an iPhone and unlock it for use on a non-AT&T GSM network, but I’ve got 3 good reasons you shouldn’t do it.

  1. Apple will break the unlock in the next update. Both the software and hardware unlocks appear to rely on hacks to firmware for the baseband, the chip that talks to the cellular network. This firmware has already been updated once, and there are strong hints that it will be updated in the next firmware release which will come before the end of the month when they roll out the the iTunes WiFi music store.
  2. Apple will break the unlock in the update after that. The software unlock relies on a buffer overrun bug in the main iPhone firmware. This kind of bug is often a security problem, and will likely be patched when they release features or fix other bugs. (Update: If the iPod Touch is any indication, Apple is going to make it more difficult to get 3rd party apps onto the iPhone, which will complicate any software unlock.)
  3. Apple will release cool new features. Sure, you can pass up software updates, but how long will you be able to hold out as Apple keeps on rolling out cool new features for your phone?
  4. Apple will keep breaking future unlocks with software updates. Chances are that the iPhone hackers will continue to unlock the iPhone each time Apple relocks it, at least for a while. The problem is, we don’t know how long it will take them to do it. More importantly, at some point the best of the iPhone hackers are going to get tired of playing cat & mouse with Apple and move on to work on something newer and cooler.
  5. Apple may be releasing a fully supported iPhone in your country soon. European’s may be able to buy iPhones as early as this coming Tuesday.

You may still decide the risks are worth it to have an unlocked iPhone, but my advice would be to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Will Apple relock phones? How long will it take the hackers to create a new unlock?