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back to article Apple opens Macbook front in iPhone jailbreak war

Apple appears to have taken its campaign against iPhone modders to a baffling new level, tweaking its new MacBooks and MacBook Pros to disable a popular software tool used to jailbreak the handset. According to discussion groups here and here, iPhone and iPod Touch users who have unlocked their devices using the Pwnage Tool are …

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iTouch ?

It's called an iPod Touch

iTouch make home theater equipment

http://www.itouchsystems.co.uk/

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FFS Apple...

Just _UNLOCK_ the damn phone platform already.

Then .. even I would probably buy one, unreplaceable battery, glossy shiny (but vulnerable) screen and all.

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Jobs Horns

Hopefully, by the time this affects my old G5,

a decent phone running Android or the new Linux-based PalmOS will be available.

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Really?

"Final" because we know that Apple will come up with an unbreakable lock-down method.

Happens all the time. Perfect security is, after all, a reality.

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itunes?

When you say that an error appears at MACBOOK, you mean while using itunes, right?

Why not use another program to stuff the phone/ipod?

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Sounds more like a hardware problem

If iTunes isn't recognising an iPhone in DFU mode - a vital troubleshooting procedure - then it's more likely accidental than deliberate, and it's probably hardware-level. That means there could be issues with USB on the new machines (and one poster referred to problems with a USB hard drive); fuck-up, not conspiracy. Which is worse?

That's just great, 'cause mine arrives in a couple of days.

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Strange..

I've not noticed any problems with the new MBP.. maybe I am just lucky. Maybe I wont upgrade me iPhone just let until they find a cure for this possible bug?

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OS X Version...

The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros use a newer build of OS X 10.5.5 which might account for the issues experienced. If true, that means the next update (10.5.6) will likely implement this 'feature' on all Macs. Time will tell...

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Jobs Horns

So.....

...the jailbreakers will just write a version of the app for Windows. Apple FAIL.

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Anonymous Coward

Monopoly ??? You bet

Jobs is as monopolisitic in his atttude as Microsoft is. They should also be investigated under antitrust legislation ! And they will go to any lengths to protect it.

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Ben
Jobs Horns

No publicity ...

...is bad publicity...

This is turning out to be the perfect way to keep Apple *constantly* exposed in the tech press whilst outsourcing security testing to unpaid volunteers. Good work Jobs.

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Flame

Heres the answer....

If you don't like the fact that the phone is locked, don't buy one, don't buy one, spend ages fiddling around with some third party software (which you have no real idea exactly what it is doing to your phone) and then complaining when the company who made the phone, wrote the software, wrote the theme tune etc etc decides to lock it down again.

Ohh.. but I can unlock this and that phone and do what I like and they can do this that and the other... BUY ONE OF THEM!! Either the iPhones great and you want one as it is or you buy something else. Now seriously, all the hackers, iPhone haters etc etc, get a life and find something else to bitch about, its getting SOO seriously boring.

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Anonymous Coward

@No publicity

Why do people parrot stupid cliches like "no publicity is bad publicity"? What about the recent coverage of Brand and Ross? How was that good publicity for anyone involved? And how does this issue "outsource security testing to unpaid volunteers"? What security testing is being done? What are you gibbering about?

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Flame

Yet another reason to avoid the new MacBooks

If the removal of Firewire 400 ports wasn't enough leaving the new MacBook with no Firewire at all, or the horror that is the lucent/agere chipset in the MBP that still does have one firewire 800 port rendering it useless for anything serious, or the touch pad faults, now we see this rubbish.

It's almost as if Apple don't want people to buy the new models. Or at least people who want to do more than check their email.

Having said that my MBP2.4 died this morning so perhaps it's a conspiracy.

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One observation bad conclusion

If Apple wanted to prevent jailbreaking, this would not be a good solution.

99.9% of all computers Including Windows and older Macs can run the PWNAGE tool.

My guess is this a USB driver bug of some kind.

C

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Anonymous Coward

Not a monopoly.

Much as I dislike the way apple has elected to decide what I do with my own hardware (and it is mine, it's an iPod touch, so it wasn't on a subsidised contract), them locking down their hardare is not a monopoly, seeing as you could y'know...not buy an iPhone if you want that functionality. Unless you're trying to suggest that someone should sue Apple because they have a monopoly on distributing iPhone software on iPhones.

It doesn't bother me a huge amount, since, aside from theming my device, I'm not deriving a whole lot of extra functionality from having it jailbroken.

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Anonymous Coward

iPod Touch 2nd Gen are hardware locked

There's still no jailbreaking hope in sight for them, apparently.

I just wish i knew this before buying one.

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Linux

Thought for the day:

When Windows doesn't support something, Microsoft is evil.

When Linux doesn't support something, it's the user's fault.

When OS X doesn't support something, it's a feature.

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Flame

Just leave it unlocked and use the fact for marketing

Apple should be flattered that so many people are taking an interest in their hardware!

The reason Apple are fighting this is that, in unlocking the phone or iPod Touch, Apple perceive that they are losing revenue. Remember, all these excellent devices are being viewed as downstream revenue generators by Apple management, and each device that is unlocked is one less that can contribute to Apple profits downstream. Absolute B*llocks in my view, I've only ever purchased a couple of dozen iTunes in three years, and I've paid for a couple of apps for my phone and all the other downloads are freebies.

Apple need to realise two things. One, they can't win. Two, they would sell more if, as somebody else has already said, they just unlocked the thing already!

The majority of users don't care if the phone or ipod touch is locked or unlocked, it will not significantly affect their usage profile anyway. All Apple is doing is perpetuating a stream of complaints and bad publicity.

And that from a Fanboi. Take note, Apple.

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OMG...

Am I seeing things?

Can this be true?

A BALANCED article about the iPhone?

From an El Reg contributor?

If you're not careful, El Reg, you may get an invite to an Apple Event !!!

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Paris Hilton

oh, do get a life

It's tied down. Boo-hoo. Burn Jobs at the stake, immediately.

If you can't buy one, accept this fact and just bloody get on with using it as designed, then here's a tip, pop-pickers - DON'T BUY ONE.

There are several other options on the market if you're too 'cool' to admit the iPhone is the nuts. If you really can't sleep at night without feeling you've done your bit to subvert a big corporation, then I'll leave you to it. Enjoy your life.

Paris, because her firmware never prevent cracks from being exploited.

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Ash
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Doesn't affect me

I wouldn't buy an iPhone or another iPod if they came with a free dinner and "hot coffee" session with Angelina Jolly[sic]. Being told I can't use some program on a device *I* bought because someone else says so isn't my thing. By the way, doesn't this fall under Unfair Terms in Contract regulations? iPod Touch doesn't require a subscription-based contract to function, so you should be able to modify the firmware in any way you want. After all, you BOUGHT the device, you didn't rent it. You OWN it. Can you imagine

Hand me something which plays FLAC, is recognised as an external disk, and has good sound quality and battery life and i'm sold. For everything else, there's my E51.

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tim
Paris Hilton

*sigh*

why are people surpirised/angry by the fact Apple want to protect their interests ? Its what most companies do, I think its a bit petty but I dont have a mac or an iPhone so dont really care tbh. Jobs/Gates, Microsoft/Apple different tinsel same turd.

Paris - because she's a brand.

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@Monopoly ??? You bet

>Jobs is as monopolisitic in his atttude as Microsoft is. They should also be investigated under >antitrust legislation ! And they will go to any lengths to protect it.

Why?

It's exactly the same sort of protection methods used by the Wii, XBox 360, PS3, PSP etc.... and yet you aren't calling for those 'consoles' to be unlocked as well?

Is it not an advantage to have vetted applications on a platform? or do you want a zillion applications which use undocumented APIs and lots of hacks to achieve their aims instead of sticking to the documented APIs? (See some of the Windows Mobile applications for examples of that).

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Jobs Horns

nice video...

... I guess. I don't have Quicklime installed so I guess I must be missing out on all this iTomfoolery

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@Ash

Yes you bought the device and don't rent it, but all you've done is paid for the box in your hand and a piece of software that goes with it. It doesn't contravene unfair terms law - you have paid for a physical device and the software that makes it work by putting music and apps on it. Where is the breach of unfair terms??

Yes you can modify the firmware if you want, but Apple are under no obligation to support it. I wouldn't expect Ford to service my car if I'd put a Honda engine in it.

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@ Alexis Vallance

"I wouldn't expect Ford to service my car if I'd put a Honda engine in it". Fair enough, I'd agree with you there.

Thing is, once I've put a Honda engine in my own Ford, it's not Ford's business to go around telling all the garages not to sell me any petrol; nor to remove the Honda engine I spent time fitting while I'm asleep and replace it with a stock Ford unit.

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@Giles Jones

THANK YOU!!

You've saved me saying the exact same thing. I agree it would be "nice" to have them unlocked (in fact so far I've unlocked a PSP, PS2 but yet to do my iPhone as I don't have the need yet) - I'm more than aware it's not the right thing to do and will invalidate my warranty.

It's very difficult to identify the difference between hardware, firmware and software and the line is blurring quickly. Software capitalisation is a similar area (but in accounting) and in over-simplified terms means that you can count the software as an intrinsic part of the hardware, as it is essentially useless without it.

I consider unlocking, pwning, flashing the firmware etc to be akin to ignoring the sign on the back of TVs that says "no user serviceable parts inside" - p1ss about with it at your peril basically, and don't come crying if it breaks or kills you. I would doubt Apple could ever successfully sue someone for having an unlocked iPhone, but are left entirely on their own when it comes to updates etc. Where it gets interesting is trying to prevent people from developing the tools to do it (as Sony tried with Dark Alex I believe), or stepping over the line of simple reverse engineering. Sanyo may as well sue screwdriver makers...

What might be useful is if they calm down the language in the EULAs. Along the lines of "carrying out the following activities invalidates your warranty" as opposed to shouting that it's illegal, but that's not what they're trying to do - it's not illegal as such, but CAN be considered as breach of contract.

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Heart

just hack it!

Put windows XP or linux on it so it can play lots of games.

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@Giles Jones, Ash

Giles:

"It's exactly the same sort of protection methods used by the Wii, XBox 360, PS3, PSP etc.... and yet you aren't calling for those 'consoles' to be unlocked as well?"

Well I bloody well am. Vendor Lock-in is always a bad thing for the consumer, with no exceptions. Now this crap is most likely a bug, but deliberately damaging bought-and-paid-for products is malfeasance, pure and simple.

Ash:

"Yes you can modify the firmware if you want, but Apple are under no obligation to support it. I wouldn't expect Ford to service my car if I'd put a Honda engine in it."

You would be mightily fucked off if Ford goons came round your house and put sand in your tank because you put a Honda engine in YOUR car, now wouldn't you?

Get this - people who reflash or jailbreak their phones *know* they won't get support. That's what it costs them when they buy a closed product. What they don't deserve is the vendor assaulting their physical property rights in order to "safeguard" whatever makey-uppy ones the vendor chooses.

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It's still speculation

It may even be an OS build tweak, as it is a later build which is shipped with the new Macbooks.

@FFS Apple... "Then .. even I would probably buy one, unreplaceable battery, glossy shiny (but vulnerable) screen and all.."

You can get new batteries for £8 off ebay, and new screens for £10.

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Jobs Horns

So, why jailbreak the thing then? What use could it have?

Well... apart from the fact that there are emulators for NES, PSX, Mame, etc, available that Apple will never allow on the iphone/ipod touch

a) I can install lighttpd and run a pretty reasonable web stack on my iphone so that I can take stuff I develop and run it wherever I want regardless of whether I have net connectivity. Which was dead useful for me last week when I was in Germany.

b) There are plenty of visual changes ("skins") that many people think are quite fun, although that's something I don't play with that much.

c) You can download new prefs option to disable the bloody autocorrect system (this is worth the jailbreak on its own)

d) Other enhancements, for example being able to save images directly from Safari to your camera folder and sync them back to your PC

e) SSH access, you can use your ipod as a terminal and you can even SSH into it over wifi for tranferring stuff, etc (a nice 16gb wifi-enabled transfer device)

f) Another tweak allows you to keep applications (even app-store ones) running in the background when quitting. obviously memory can be an issue, but it's handy when using chat for example and needing to go check a contact name or something. You hold down the [] button a little longer to quit an app while leaving it background enabled.

g) mplayer for playing video/audio content in non-apple formats. Haven't played with this yet (too busy), but looking forward to it.

h) mxtube allows you to download and store youtube videos on your ipod/iphone. very handy.

So... for all these reasons and more, I'm not going back to an un jailbroken iphone/ipod any time soon. It's my hardware, I paid for it, so I'll be damned if Uncle Steve is going to tell me how I have to use it.

Jolyon

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Jobs Horns

Hey, Apple!

How about fixing Safari on the iPhone which crashes all the time instead of wasting effort trying to stop people jailbreaking their phones? Your adverts led me to believe I would get desktop surfing on the go. Well Firefox doesn't crash every time I want to look at lolcats.

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Unlocking

When the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, DS came out, was there uproar because you couldnt play other consoles games on your particular choice of console, no there wasn't. When you bought your particular choice of console were miffed when you got it home and realised that you couldnt play a wii game on a 360 - No. As many a previous poster has said on this story and other stories, you dont like what Apple are doing, then dont buy Apple. Its the same with M$, you dont like what they are doing then dont buy. Everyone has they're own particular preferences, and not everyone will agree. So what if Apple dont want you to unlock your phone, i believe i'm right in saying (feel free to correct me as i know you will) it is illegal to unlock a phone during the life of a contract. Once it is out of contract you are free to do what you please with it. SO in some respects they are quite right to do what they are doing. However the ipod touch situation is a little more baffling, Personally i dont see the major attraction of jailbreaking it, what massive advantage are you going to gain, a lot of the apps are reasonably cheap anyway. Ok the films are quite expensive and so is the music, but there are ways of getting round that without needing to jailbreak it.

This is what i believe anyway, any Apple story nowadays get completely overblown and people seem to thrive on portraying Apple and lest we forget M$ as the absolute spawn of satan, and also sensationalizing any stories on the former.

I tell you what would be nice in this day and age, some nice objective journalism so that any comments on the posted story that follow, MAY also be objective.

I myself can't see it.

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Coat

@Martin Fowler

"When the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, DS came out, was there uproar because you couldnt play other consoles games on your particular choice of console, no there wasn't."

Of course there wasn't, you silly man. A major problem is people aren't free to run apps written for the IPHONE on the iPhone.

If though, - as is MY choice - I succeed in flashing a linux kernel to an iPhone I would expect neither support from apple, nor the ability to run binaries written for MacOS without an emulator. Is that so difficult to grasp?

I'll just get me bleedin' coat.

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Stop

Completely missing the bleeding obvious...

You are strictly speaking perfectly entitled to do whatever you like with your iPhone, throw in the bin, set fire to it, flash it, hack it, whatever you like. You own the hardware, plain and simple. The software/firmware however is Apples and you agreed to their T&Cs when you bought it.

If you wanna be @nal and hack it, then feel free to do so, it'll work FOREVER, nothing Apple can do will ever stop you, just never upgrade it or use iTunes and stop bitching and give the rest of us peace.

You wanna be a smart @ss and hack it fine, don't then be little kids and cry when big bad Jobs comes along and breaks it again.

END OF TOPIC.

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Jobs Horns

They're doing a lot of this

The new gen iPods have put some sort of cryptographic hash on one of the indexing files they use. Result - try and do anything with Amarok or any other iPod management software that's not iTunes and you get an iPod that tells you it's full but has no songs on it.

It's just not cricket I tell you.

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@ Steen Hive

Ok fair point (apart from the playground insults), but the basic point is, it comes down to the fact people dont want to have to pay. If an app has been written and developed and then not put on the app store its because apple have possibly rejected it. They own the software and firmware, if they dont want an app to run then they are quite within they're rights to reject it. The iphone SDK has been freely available but it has always been clear that if apple dont like it then it wont go onto the app store.

This is simply my observation and opinion, you dont like it then boo bloody hoo.

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Anonymous Coward

Just apply a larger hammer

Preferrably to all the (cr)apple stuff you got. and make that a physical hammer.

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Jobs Horns

@Giles Jones

Comparing the iPhone lock-in to the PSP, PS3, Wii, XBOX lock-in is like comparing apples (no pun intended) with oranges.

The reason those devices have these protection measures is simple: PIRACY. Most of the jailbreak cracks for game consoles are not motivated by being able to run homebrew apps on your game console; it is because once you jailbreak the device, you can play pirated games. So there is a legitimate interest on Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft for locking down game consoles; and even then, Sony lets you put Linux on your PS2's and PS3's.

Apple's motivation for locking down the iPhone seems to be solely to keep the stranglehold on what can/can't run on the thing, and the app distribution channel. It would be akin to Microsoft forcing you to do all app installs from the "Microsoft App Store", and disabling all other install methods. If MS did this, it would be flamed to infinity, but when Apple does this with the iPhone, it's a "feature". Sheesh.

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@Martin Fowler II

"They own the software and firmware, if they dont want an app to run then they are quite within they're rights to reject it."

You start with one accurate point and then make a bizarre leap of logic to make the second point which is quite simply false. They are quite within their rights to do bugger all of the sort.

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Happy

This isn't accurate anyway

FWIW, my unlocked, pwnd iPhone 2G works perfectly well on my spanking new MacBook Pro 15", so I expect this is just a load of old tosh (and this is the same MacBook Pro that has performed flawlessly since the day I bought it, has no touchpad problems, not other problems, and is, FW400 or not, quite possibly the best laptop I have owned to date). So far I haven't found the lack of FW400 to be a problem but maybe that's just me.

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Paris Hilton

Wow

It's stupefying the amount of inaccurate and misguided information contained in this comments thread (not the original story). I ask each of you who have posted to re-read your comment and then check your facts (and conjectures and conclusions).

Paris bcause I'm going to ask her for tech-related information before I believe most of the above...

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Apple are cunts

Complete cunts. Wake up people!

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@Martin Fowler

"When the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, DS came out, was there uproar because you couldnt play other consoles games on your particular choice of console, no there wasn't. When you bought your particular choice of console were miffed when you got it home and realised that you couldnt play a wii game on a 360 - No."

That's because it's a hardware limitation. If the hardware made it capable to play several console games on a single console, why the f*** would anyone pay $200+ for a 360, $350+ for a PS3, AND $250+ for a Wii? EVERYONE and their Momma would be unlocking their system...and there isn't a damn thing Sony, MS, or Nintendo could say about it because the USER OWNS THE DEVICE. As a matter of fact, that's why we are called owners.

What were you smoking when you came up with this gem?

"So what if Apple dont want you to unlock your phone, i believe i'm right in saying (feel free to correct me as i know you will) it is illegal to unlock a phone during the life of a contract."

WRONG.

Sorry to dash your attempt at a logical argument here, but...well, sorry.

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@Matt Vann

"FWIW, my unlocked, pwnd iPhone 2G works perfectly well on my spanking new MacBook Pro 15", so I expect this is just a load of old tosh (and this is the same MacBook Pro that has performed flawlessly since the day I bought it, has no touchpad problems, not other problems, and is, FW400 or not, quite possibly the best laptop I have owned to date)."

Spanking new huh? And it has performed flawlessly since you bought it? So that means you've only given it a few days, maybe a week? The post just sounds contradictory and misleading.

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