iPhone 3G baseband almost cracked, carrier independence imminent

The wizards at the iPhone-Dev Team have just about cracked the iPhone baseband which means carrier unlock is almost upon us. What does this mean? Sadly, not much. The iPhone is still physically – at least in theory – locked to purchase and activation at AT&T and Apple stores so those heady days of buying an iPhone to crack at home are long gone. It is my suspicion that lots of 3Gs will soon be falling off the back of trucks around the world, especially in Russia and Asia, as folks dedicated to one G.S.M. carrier or the other decide they don’t want to switch.

Baseband unlocks essentially cede control of the phone’s telecomm portions to hacked code. Usually it’s impossible to run hacked baseband code but the iPhone Dev folks have patched the baseband without alerting the phone itself, resulting in the Great iPhone Unlocking of 2007 and the future iPhone unlocking of 2008/2009.