Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/03/iphone_update_response/

Hackers hit back at iPhone update

'Bricked' phones get some functions restored

By Ciara O'Brien

Posted in Mobile, 3rd October 2007 13:44 GMT

The war between Apple and the hackers is heating up, after a 'fix' for the recent iPhone update was posted online. Apple's recent update for the iPhone's firmware rendered unlocked iPhones - those that had been modified either through software or other means to work outside of AT&T's network - unusable, and the firm has so far refused to back down from its hardline stance.

As part of Apple's lucrative contract with US network AT&T, customers who want the iPhone must sign up for a two-year term with the network and Apple gets a share of revenue generated by consumers using the iPhones. The tech firm has signed similar money-spinning deals with the European operators - O2, T-Mobile and Orange - who will be selling the iPhones from November.

Apple had warned those who had unlocked their iPhones that their handsets would be rendered unusable come its next update, and indeed it stayed true to its threat with the update, released last week, turning the phones into little more than expensive paperweights.

Now though, it has emerged that hackers have found a way to reverse some of the update and restore a limited number of functions to the phone. However, although they have managed to get the iPod and Wi-Fi features working again, some unlocked and updated iPhones' days as a mobile phone are still over - for the time being.

The reversal at present can't undo the update to the baseband software, which controls the phone functions of the iPhone. So until hackers figure out a way to undo the update completely, iPhone users whose phones have been "bricked" have an expensive digital music player on their hands.

There are also rumours online of a class action suit against the firm due to the update. However, the suit may fail to materialise.

Apple, meanwhile, is facing another legal action, from a woman who is angry that the firm slashed the iPhone's price by $200 only weeks after its release. New York woman Dongmei Li is looking for $1m in damages, claiming Apple broke pricing laws, and saying in court that early purchasers are suffering as a result of the cut because they can't gain the same profits when reselling the iPhones as later purchasers. Apple offered early adopters in-store credit as compensation.

© 2007 ENN