Once an iBrick, always an iBrick ?

There have been several discussions online about the prospects of the iBrick.

In the short term, people are getting a grip on what Apple has done to the iPhone during the 1.0.2 to 1.1.1 upgrade process, and what it takes to first undo the upgade, and then, eventually, how to hack the upgrade itself so that both worlds are possible. [1]

In the long term, the question is whether or not Apple will open the phone to developers in some sort of official way. [2], [3] Regardless of Apple’s approach, however, hacking the iPhone is going to be an important part of the iPhone future.

What Apple will do, of course, is pretty much a closely held secret. They could, for example, announce an open platform anytime they want … and say that was always their intent. The main pressure to keep the phone locked comes not only from AT&T, but also Verizon. Neither of them like the idea of an open network – they want to own not only the service and the bandwidth, they want to own the content.

Hackers, of course, will do what they have to do, some because they are paid, some because it’s cool.

At the top level, the “security industry” hackers can’t stand a “secure” device as much as Apple loves it; these hacks, unfortunately, won’t leak out to consumers.

The “telecommunication reverse engineering” hackers can’t afford to let Apple get too large of a lead less something like the iPod phenomenon happens; some of these exploits will leak.

The hobbiest hackers will, eventually, not only reopen the iPhone, but eventually someone will totally reengineer it – and we’ll boot the system into Linux

In the meantime, there will be an army of clones. [5]. [6]. [7], [8].

Wikinomically, if Apple had chose the open route, not only would the system become more secure in the long run, it would probably leave behind the closed competitors sniffing in the dust.

So, is the iPhone going to be more like the iPod (interesting and dominant) or more like the iBook (interesting, but marginal) ? For me, it’s probably not going to be a big issue, but for Apple, and Microsoft, and a whole lot of carriers, it might be crucial in the post-PC universe.

[1] IPhone unlock OS X Part 1 (of 4)

[2] Jaqui Cheng, Source: iPhone “SDK” will remain web-based for the foreseeable future, ArsTechnica, October 03, 2007 – 07:02AM CT

[3] Tom Krazit, Trouble in iPhone paradise, CNET News.Com, October 1, 2007 1:08 PM PDT. http://www.news.com/8301-13579_3-9788616-37.html?tag=nefd.pulse

[4] Brad Reed, Apple’s Options for Stopping Open Source iPhone Use, Network World, September 28, 2007 12:00 PM PDT. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,137831-c,iphone/article.html

[5] Benjamin1272, Fake Cool Iphone From china, May 10, 2007. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_8wuVEYMZ8

[6] Report points to Chinese iPhone clone, January 29, 2007. http://www.macnn.com/articles/07/01/29/iphone.clone.surfaces/ (Alas, this runs Windows CE !)

[7] Another Apple iPhone Clone – From China, April 18, 2007. http://www.intomobile.com/2007/04/18/another-apple-iphone-clone-from-china.html [the Hua Long IP2000]

[8] Darren Murph, Keepin’ it real fake, part LXIII: iPhone clone on video, Jun 20th 2007. http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/20/keepin-it-real-fake-part-lx-iphone-clone-on-video/ Also http://www.eemobi.cn/mobile/12/722/3236.aspx [The Du Bao 302, $121]


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