What will Apple/ATT do re non-ATT SIM usage?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by acrafton, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. acrafton macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    Been reading a very heated thread over at ARS that degenerated into f-bombs and personal attacks regarding what Apple may do to stop users from using non-ATT SIMS in IPhones. . .so I thought I would start one here.

    Ok, my thoughts on the issue:

    1. Apple gets $ back from ATT for each contract so they want to encourage usage of ATT but are focused on selling lots of IPhones.
    2. In the long run, Apple's goal of 10M phones (and beyond) is perhaps reachable with an 'any network' phone.
    3. While Apple could brick the phones (permanently breaking them) they won't as users who have hacked to use non-ATT SIMS haven't done anything legally wrong:
    - they aren't stealing anything - they are paying a non-ATT cell co for service
    - the hacker hasn't violated ANY contract. When you buy an IPhone from Apple you haven't entered into any contract
    - while not a lawyer, there seems to be specific exemptions in the DMCA for unlocking phones
    4. Since (3), if they permanently brick the phones they would need to repair them under warranty (or be sued if they didn't)
    5. How many hackers are there really? 10K? 50K? I don't think there are enough to warrant Defcon 1 action.

    I suspect that Apple will provide rolling updates that fix holes that hackers have found, report to ATT they are doing their best, and make better software that will only work consistently and reliably on a non-hacked phone.

  2. pugnut macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    Interesting point

    "the hacker hasn't violated ANY contract. When you buy an IPhone from Apple you haven't entered into any contract "

    When the first hacking news started to come out there was a quote from a att person saying that the purchase of the phone resulted in a contact with ATT for service. He continued to say that the purchaser was obligated to ATT for the service.

    I was real interest if they were going to go down that road, however it never happend.
  3. JBaker122586 macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    They won't brick the phone. They'll put it into restore mode and make you restore it and fix whatever holes let you unlock it.
  4. acrafton thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    I can say "the fact that you responded to my post resulted in a contract whereby you have to send me $80 a month for two years." That doesn't make it so. . .Contracts aren't unilateral and require some level of consent from both parties.

    When you buy an IPhon there is nothing you sign nor a seal you break when you open an IPhone that says "by opening this you agree to a two year contract with AT&T". Better not give them any ideas. . .

    IMO, if both are smart they will focus on the big picture. . .the VAST majority of folks that have no interest in hacks (99.9%?). My wife would not dream of doing anything to her IPhone that could cause an inconvenience or jeopardize her support from the local Genius/IPod Bar.
  5. Kchino macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2007
    I think this is a really interesting topic that will make or break the success of the iPhone. ZDnet is reporting today that a user who had modded their iPhone and brought it in to a retail store for repair was told by Apple that they would not honor the warranty, now or ever. The retail location said that they would also not honor the warranty in the future in short blacklisting the iPhones IMEI resulting in no repairs for the phone even if they went home and restored the iPhone back to it's original config. Apparently after much dialog and conversations with the store manger they were able to exchange the phone with the 10% restocking fee charged to the user.

    If Apple takes this hard line stance against simply modding your phone, I predict that the iPhone will eventually flop in particular in the European and Asian markets they won't stand for it. They have too many capable alternatives made by manufacturers that could care less what you do with your phone once you purchase it. In fact, if they could be looking at anti-trust law suits from the EU courts simular to the one just handed down to M$.

    Apple has a fantastic product in the iPhone, but they're are continuing in my opinion to make mistake after mistake with it's implementation into the market and PR. I think early adopters where excited about the fact Apple was bringing a high end phone with OS X and great functionality but as it's panning out now the iPhone looks like it's going to be the next razor, albeit one that you can't configure to your liking or even add ringtones, unless of course you pay Apple and the RIAA.
  6. acrafton thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    This was not a SIM unlock this was an ATT contracted phone with mods?
  7. Kchino macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2007
    Actually they had a T-mobile sim inside which wasn't the smartest thing to do. Apple to my knowledge presents no binding agreement when you purchase the iPhone. You walk in give them your money and walk out. Of course it is common knowledge that Apple has an exclusive with AT&T but this seems like it 's turning in to a mess.

    Here is the link:
  8. alljunks macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2007
  9. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I feel there's a HUGE difference between Apple not honoring the warranty of modded/unlocked phones and Apple simply trying to prevent people from tyring to use other networks.

    Regarding the situtation above, I can't blame apple. Why should they be required to repair a phone that was likely damaged only because someone was hacking around in it? It goes back to the contract argument. Yes, you can techincally say that the "hacker" did not enter into a contract agreement with Apple, so I don't see why apple would be required to fulfill their end of the contract (unless its the scenario the OP presented in which Apple was bricking hacked phones, which I don't see happening).

    I think all Apple will do is just make it inconvenient for someone to continually unlock the phone (i.e. firmware updates re-lock the phone but it can be unlocked again, or perhaps changing the procedure slightly so the unlocking software has to be re-written). Like the OP says, the # of people unlocking phones is TINY (just magnified on forums like these), and all Apple probably needs to do is make the average consumer decide its not worth jumping through all the hurdles.
  10. acrafton thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    I think the Apple warranty (which I browsed) only invalidates the warranty if the mod causes damage, not just that you did a mod. I gave it a brief read and here it is:


    So, the way I read it, if you do a mod and it breaks your phone you are SOL. The mere presence of a mod won't (legally) void the warranty but the Apple staff are not always the brightest.
  11. gceo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    I'm not sure why this is so complicated....

    Apple is *obligated* to keep the phone on AT&T by their exclusive contract with them. They are not going to be "over board aggressive" about it, but you can bet that within time, most hacks will be patched by Apple. That's a given, and supported by public statements from Jobs.

    Jobs knows that for every patch, there will be another hack. Cat and mouse he called it.

    If Apple repairs hacked phones, AT&T could see Apple's position as supporting hacks, in violation of the contract.

    I would assume that a breach of contract on either party has some sort of financial damages clause included.

    Something to think about..... Apple hasn't tried to break the iPod software that allows you to take music off the iPod, such as escapepod, etc... They seem to be OK with hacks, but in this case they are limited by their deal with the <strikeout>devil</strikeout> err, .... At&T.
  12. Kchino macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2007
    Good point in that you if you knowingly purchase the iPhone to unlock it to be used with "another" carrier and you damage the phone in the process absolutely, Apple shouldn't be liable.

    On a side note the iPhone dev community has not bricked or rendered any iPhone incapable of being restored through any software modifications or hacks.

    Steve was absolutely right when he said he wasn't sure if he was going to be the cat or the mouse. They seem to be standing on the fence and mocking locked in consumers on one side and the carriers who are paying huge subsidies to Apple on the other.

    US customers don't have the options that European and Asian consumers do in terms of having a vast amount of carrier options for their GSM phones. People change their sims all the time. The O2 deal is horrendous and just shows how greedy Apple is becoming. Unlimited (1400 pages) EDGE use with only 30% coverage? On top of the fact that they are paying the equivelant of $500+ dollars for the the phone while being locked in to a 2 year contract?

    You can get a n95 which arguably has better features (5mp cam, HSDPA, 8gb) for free with the same carriers that are selling the iPhone. On top of that why would anyone buy it now when they already have shown that they could drop the price drastically overnight and a 3G version will be out soon?

    I'm not so sure they are going to reach the 10 million goal unless they just start giving them away with a contract.
  13. TXCraig macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I'm sure Apple has agreeded to try to stop unlocking the phone but they also MAKE money from your AT&T bill. So they will be VERY agressive to close down the unlocking. They are loosing lots of money on the hacked phones.

    They have said basically they don't care if you hack the phone to install other applications- your just on your own if you do.

    I think its crazy for someone with a hacked phone with a T-Mobile sim to stroll into a Apple store and expect them to fix the phone.
  14. acrafton thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    I agree with your last line. . .but, it would be interesting for an attorney or someone linked to an attorney to do just what this nimrod did and then file suit to get the whole carrier thing clarified by the courts and/or FCC.
  15. hotzenplotz macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
    Yeah, I am kind off on the fence right now about to unlock my phone.
    I have a GoPhone plan on my iPhone and I found out that I cannot sign up for an international plan (calling to the US from my Europe vacation), unless I go with a contract. How messed up is that?
  16. emegmac macrumors regular

    May 19, 2007
    Nowhere does it say You must legally use at&t. This is like buying the next macbook and apple telling you that you are must use Comcast because they have a deal with them. It is not illegal to use an unlocked phone.

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