Is Apple Fighting iPhone Pirates?

Fighting Pirates.JPGApple announced today that iPhone customers who use programs to unlock their handsets may cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software when Apple supplied software is updated, and an upgrade is coming this week. Users who make unauthorized changes to the iPhone software violate their software license agreement and void the warranty. Those people who gleefully unlocked their iPhones over the last couple of months may feel like they have been keel-hauled in a few days.

MobileCrunch reported last month that, Pirates take iPhone as a Prize. Summer news stories reported about teens and others who had created innovative ways to unlock the iPhone so users wouldn’t be bound to an exclusive contract with AT&T. I predicted that Apple would find ways to fight back and today’s warning may be a shot across the bow.

Apple is saying that this latest development has nothing to do with proactively disabling pirated phones, but that it is an unfortunate consequence connected to updating software. A skeptical public may find this hard to believe. There is no evidence to show that Apple is actively trying to shutdown modified iPhones, but I’m sure many people don’t believe Apple.

A warning may be all Apple needs to prevent people from modifying the iPhone. Proactively disabling pirated phones would be like sweeping the deck with grapeshot. You hit the pirates but leave a terrible mess for someone to cleanup. Apple wants to create good-will with the public and a shot across the bow may be all the powder the company needs.