iPhone finds new T-Beau – AT&T patents fuming

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I honestly have no technical savvy, but all this talk about unlocking the Iphone hardware by an “enterprising teenager” was big news to me. RealTechNews reported in August 25th, 2007, “It’s high noon, Apple and AT&T – we really hate to break it to you, but the jig is up. Last night the impossible was made possible: right in front of our very eyes we witnessed a full SIM unlock of our iPhone with a small piece of software. It’s all over, guys.”

MSNBC reported a day earlier that “George Hotz, 17, confirmed he had unlocked an iPhone and was using it on T-Mobile’s network, the only major U.S. carrier apart from AT&T that is compatible with the iPhone’s cellular technology.

Like Duh… This sounds more like someone with a key that has unlocked a chastity belt, bypassing all the safeguards set to prevent this very protected “hole” from being penetrated. The violation of this virginity will open up the iPhone for the use on the networks of overseas carriers, while having no real impact on American consumers.

It also reminds me of the pharmaceutical industry, that bastion of capitalist greed, that patents drugs, thus preventing other companies from producing generic drugs at cheaper prices with the full protection of the Republican Administration.

The similarities can be drawn to a number of industries that lay claim to technological developments while controlling their prices. This unlocking will not have any real impact on Apple, probably not much on AT&T in the long run either.

It does however raise questions about the nature of invention, and whether private interests can be the sole owner in an age when it’s not possible to keep all control. Someone will always be there to find a way around the “lock and key”, while the young “and the meek” inherit the earth.

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