Remember the story about the New Jersey teenager who "hacked" his iPhone so that it would work on a network other than AT&T? For his effort, he got a car and three new iPhones.
And what did the buyer of his hacked iPhone get? According to Apple, a phone that can never be upgraded.
Apple says it will release a software upgrade for its million-selling cell phone/iPod this week that may render similarly hacked phones unusable.
In other words, if you hacked your iPhone, you could wind up with an iBrick.
Some iPhone will be outraged by this. After all, many of them spent $600 for their iPhone (OK, most got $100 of that back when Apple cut the price to $400 just two months after its release), and they should be able to do to it what they please.
And they're right.
But they shouldn't expect Apple to support that effort by offering free upgrades.
Apple was able to offer the iPhone because it signed a five-year exclusive deal with AT&T. You want an iPhone? Become an AT&T customer. If you hack the iPhone to operate outside of that system, good for you. But in doing so, you violated your warranty, and are now on your own.
Experienced hackers probably will be unfazed. In fact, they'll likely figure out a way to get those updates installed on their phones without Apple. But for the rest of us who own iPhones – if you want the latest and greatest software – including links to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, you can't spell iPhone without AT&T.