back to article Apple eyes kill switch for jailbroken iPhones

Apple has applied for a patent covering an elaborate series of measures to automatically protect iPhone owners from thieves and other unauthorized users. But please withhold the applause. The patent, titled “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device,” would also protect Apple against …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Why bother with Apple?

    Skeletor is such a control freak and treats his customers like total fucking idiots. Just another reason I will never give Apple another cent of my money.

    Time for that tired old twat to retire.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Why bother?

      Because they've trapped all the smaller developers and locked them into the iTunes Store (which, thanks to their no-middleware-library policy combined with Apple's overzealous patenting of their API, means that porting iOS code to other platforms or vice versa constitutes for a full rewrite which is costly to smaller development houses). While this thankfully means that there's way lesser prank/fart/useless/annoying apps in the market for other devices now, many seriously useful apps are also affected.

      My iPad has three dozen stuff, half of them paid for. Over half of them does not have a Symbian/WinMo/Android port. And over half of them are apps I found highly desirable.

      Beer, because it cost me one month wages for that iPad, and I need to ease the pain.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I can not agree...

      With not giving them *another* cent --- because I have never given them any so far.

      Apart from that... Have a beer!

    3. DN

      Stop Freaking Out:

      1) A patent application does nor mean that it will be implemented as described

      2) There are a several reasons where the idea actually makes sense, possibly with an opt-out

      See article on Forbes blog: "Stop Freaking Out: No, Apple Is Not Seizing Control Of Your iPhone"

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Massive Fail!

        "Rest assured that this jailbreaking identification, the application would have us believe, is simply a means of protecting owners from unauthorized users."

        It's an Orwellian means of protecting your income

        Massive Fail!

        Worse than anything Google has ever done!

      2. MyHeadIsSpinning
        Big Brother

        I disagree

        I have read the Forbes article, the writer appears to be saying what a good idea it would be if Apple wwere granted their patent and if they went ahead with this. It talks about Apple as protecting 'it's devices'.

        It is not a good idea - I bought the i-Phone, it does not belong to Apple or Steve Jobs.

        You hear that Steve? My phone, not yours.

        Leave me the hell alone Steve.

      3. Bullseyed


        Shouldn't the blog be entitled:

        "Stop Freaking Out: No, Apple Is Not Seizing Control Of Your iPhone: they're just setting up the framework to do so in the code so if they choose to at a later date they will already have the infrastructure in place."

        Sounds a lot like Obama's plan to be able to 'turn off the internet' whenever he decides there is an emergency warranting it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Pardon me if I've misunderstood, but I was under the impression that jailbreaking one's iDevice was now entirely legal (providing one does not then continue by pirating software)?

    And presumably, when this goes wrong Apple will need to have their legal eagles ready to fly, because if I get snapped using my own device I won't be a happy bunny.

    (I for one welcome our Orwellian overlords etc, etc.)

    1. Lou Gosselin

      Re: Umm...

      The courts confirmed that jailbreaking is legal. This isn't nearly as significant as one might initially think.

      It just means apple (or sony, or tivo, etc) cannot sue it's customers for jailbreaking their own devices. However apple are under no obligation to support them once they do. It remains apple's prerogative to block jailbroken devices from their services if they so choose to turn their backs on these paying customers.

      As for remotely killing a jailbroken phone, that's a major invasion of customer rights in my opinion. I'm guessing that the "R&D" on this patent predates the new ruling. They might not have filed it as they did had they known that jailbreaking was to be made expressly legal.

      1. Player_16

        Re: Umm...

        My phone's been nicked!

        Sic'm Apple!... and be quick about it!

        Sounds OK to me.

        There's a warrant for that!

      2. Mark Broadhurst
        Jobs Horns

        Re: Umm...

        I agree with you and apple that people should not expect apple to support unlocked or jailbroken phones (or any other type of hardware).

        But disabling or spying on the user sounds like its more than a bit illegal.

      3. Mad Jack

        Oh, so removing the SIM card is gonna be a crime now?

        "....specifically describes the identification of “hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking, or removal of a SIM card”


        Heaven help us all. I think I need some 'roid rage - heading out to buy an android phone now.

  3. M Gale

    Think Different?

    I tell you what, Jobs, how about you let me decide whether the phone has been stolen? How about by, say, providing a number to ring so I can get the IMEI locked out - LIKE EVERY OTHER PHONE IN THE UNIVERSE?

    The worst part is, there's a hell of a lot of people who are either completely ignorant or downright apathetic about the consequences of these ever more ubiquitous computing devices being less and less under the control of their supposed "owners". The ignorant can at least be educated, but there's not much you can do about "I just don't give a shit" or worse, "I completely agree with Apple!"

    Problem is, when the kill switches start being flipped, it's everyone else who gets caught up in it and not just the numpties. Well, enjoy your pretty brick. It was fun while it lasted.

    1. Chad H.


      1) they do have an imei on their phones, it's a requirement of the GSM standard

      2) the imei blacklist isn't enabled in all locations, like the USA.

      3) an IMEI block only stops calls being made, and can only do this if and only if you know your phone is missing and you've contacted your carrier

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well...

        "3) an IMEI block only stops calls being made, and can only do this _if and only if you know your phone is missing_ and you've contacted your carrier"

        Mate 1: Oi! I got mugged last night and the bloke took me phone!

        Mate 2: Call up your carrier, mate - get it blocked and tracked.

        Mate 1: I can only do that if it's missing, but I know it was taken, instead!

        Mate 2: Fair Dinkim. Have a beer.

        Not even Aussies/Kiwis/Kentucky Rednecks would fall for that logic. All lost/stolen iPhones up to this point have been perfectly happy to be reporting GPS to appropriate authorities, through Apple, of course. Wasn't that part of the whole "safe and secure" ad campaign?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      From: E.T.


      That's extremely presumptuous. You humans!

  4. skeptical i
    Thumb Down

    They see it when it's sleeping, they know when it's awake.

    The Apple- of- my- Eye- of- Sauron tracks how much memory my iPhone uses? Unless I'm on a bizarre payment system that bills me based on memory usage, who cares if I let it sleep all day or bury the needle on a regular basis?

    We are not amused.

    1. Bullseyed


      "bury the needle on a regular basis"

      I'm still laughing. You're gonna owe me a new keyboard for that one.

      /Is that what your wife calls it?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    what bullshit!

    If I purchased a Judas Phone, it's my property. If I want to strip myself nekkid, put a rubber glove on my head, cover my body with baby oil and dance around the fire I set to sacrafice it, screaming I'm a squid!!! I'm a squid!! that doesn't give them the legal right to take my photo and/or record my location.

    1. Lionel Baden

      true but ...

      There would be comedial plus points to your photo being taken in that state.

    2. Pete B


      Photos or it didn't happen...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ Lionel and Pete B.

        I'm going to have to respectfully decline that one; I'm thinking of safety, welfare, mental health and visual acuity of: “The children”; society in general; animals (domestic and feral); mirrors world-wide and any members of the law enforcement community that would be required to apprehend me, after said event.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Thanks Apple

    So because Apple have patented this, that means if anyone else (Google/MS etc.) also try to do the same, they're liable to be sued by Apple?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      probably not

      there are already commercial services that do similar things on laptops. I seem to remember one being tied to hard drives too.

      It will become a prior art lawsuit. Viva la USA, land of sue.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Why don't Apple just go the whole hog and insist that their phones (suitably reduced in size) are implanted subdermally and fitted with a small remotely triggered explosive device so that any tampering with their intellectual property/business model can be firmly dealt with in a way that sets an example to others? A future development might be to connect it to the brain to better monitor if any users have thoughts that may be inappropriate for users of Apple technologies, and administer an instant product destruct - a good perusal of the magnificent breasts displayed by the girl sitting opposite on the tube would be an obvious candidate, as would less than charitable thoughts about Apple's increasingly megalomaniac leanings.

    I by and large love Apple's computers and OS, having used nothing else for over twenty years, but I am really, really beginning to detest the direction the company has been taking for the last few years and their increasingly 'control freak' mentality. The iPad merely looked like a "so-so if you like that sort of thing" idea until Murdoch started drooling over it. When your snoop-friendly closed system OS starts giving a bigger boner to media moguls with a dubious rep than it does to experienced users, you're heading for the territory usually occupied by Phorm, Facebook and their ethically challenged ilk. Thanks, but errm, fuck off.

    1. Jason Yau

      Less iPhone users

      means less people buying fart apps

      Mine's the one with cups and string in the pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward



      2. Disco-Legend-Zeke


        ...once ran an ad showing how advanced their systems were. It featured the competition using a pair of cans and some string.

        However, they failed to show the strings being held taut, a requirement for operation in the string-can domain.

        Not sure weather AT&T was unaware of the proper string-can technology, or was merely trying to hide it from potential competition.

        Beer because my GF is back from vacation and 211 is in the fridge again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You should watch the episode of Futurama called "Attack of the Killer App", pretty much the same as you were suggesting and very funny too.

      (Don't bother if you are a Jobs/Facebook/Twitter fanboi tho, you'd probably end up crying instead of laughing).

    3. Bullseyed


      "I by and large love Apple's computers and OS, having used nothing else for over twenty years"

      Ouch, I didn't know unemployment was that bad...

  8. lotus49
    Jobs Horns

    Android for me

    I have been mulling over whether to buy the rather lovely looking iPhone 4 to replace my iPhone 3G for some time. I was already leaning towards the idea of Android because of the excessive control Apple exerts over the apps.

    This really takes the biscuit though. This is genuinely unnerving.

    My mind is made up, it's an HTC Ace for me. Bye bye Apple.

    1. g e

      One thumbs-down?

      I guess Honest Steve is reading after all.

      Anyone have a message for him while he's around?

    2. Hoe

      Good choice...

      I have an iPhone 4 for work (not my choice) and a HTC Desire of my own and the iPhone looks average!

  9. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Do you get the impression Apple priorities are screwed up?

    You have to wonder what Apples priorities are.

    Here they are in the middle of a technological challenge where Lemon 4 can't maintain telephone calls yet Apple has plenty of resources to deploy on a minuscule proportion of OWNERS who decide they actually want to use THEIR PROPERTY for what THEY want to do.

    Seemingly Apple can't even read tea leaves or sales reports. Their line of PC's were crippled by their 'closed' environment whilst across the street the 'open' PC was being mass produced and had uncounted number of after market companies whose efforts expanded the PC deployment into areas and applications never envisaged by IBM.

    Now Apple has a new toy. Jobs, in his strange world, thinks he is 'loaning' the device to you, even though he claims to 'sell' it to you.

    Again he is trying to confine these devices. This time his competitors are even more advanced and an upstart Android is now giving Jobs a run for his money. Once again, Jobs competitors - at least one - has an OS that is appearing in all manner of devices that it is fast becoming ubiquitous, dare I say it, as ubiquitous as Windows.

    Yet Jobs still seeks ways to lock his followers so they can do no more than HE wants them to. This must be one of the few consumer products that does this. Imagine cars all fitted with governors to limit their speed?

    But let him go ahead for he knows that someone, in some garret, in some corner of the world is working just as diligently to thwart his plans. There is a company in Ha Noi, hardly a centre of technological excellence, in a walk up workshop, is extracting the 'baseband' chips, modifying the contents and restoring the REALLY unbroken Lemon to new heights of functionality.

    Meanwhile, others wonder what mental process has evolved where people deliberately go out and knowingly buy a defective product.

    And poor old Jobs, he still has not achieved the manufacturer of a white Lemon! How humiliating can that be?

    1. david wilson


      >>"This must be one of the few consumer products that does this. Imagine cars all fitted with governors to limit their speed?"

      More like having a car that is only allowed to drive to places that the person who sold you the car has decided they approve of this week.

      Seems like a worse situation than with locked game consoles, where there is at least be an expectation that they are simply toys, that most decent games would be likely to be allowed to be published, and that if the console does end up borked, all you lose is one means of playing games.

    2. Stuart Castle


      "Seemingly Apple can't even read tea leaves or sales reports. Their line of PC's were crippled by their 'closed' environment whilst across the street the 'open' PC was being mass produced and had uncounted number of after market companies whose efforts expanded the PC deployment into areas and applications never envisaged by IBM."

      PCs are so ubiquitous that some manufacturers are having to sell them at or below cost. Apple are currently one of the most profitable computer manufacturers (despite their tiny market share) and the most cash rich company in Silicon Valley.

      It's also worth noting that IBM found the PC market so profitable that they, err, left it, preferring to concentrate on servers and other specialised systems..

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Thumb Down


        "It's also worth noting that IBM found the PC market so profitable that they, err, left it, preferring to concentrate on servers and other specialised systems.."

        is a vey long winded way of saying that ibm 'lacked the sense to see the potential of the pc market' - hence the no-brainer contract with Gates & Co. tying IBM into providing MS-DOS with every IBM PC while allowing MS to sell to whosoever they liked.

        Bit of reverse engineeing of the bios, mass produce in any of the tiger economies... and then IBM were dead ducks and FORCED back to the big iron business, cos there was nowhere else for them to go. (any fule kno IBM desktops were grue anyways and the price was a real chizz)

      2. Bullseyed


        "PCs are so ubiquitous that some manufacturers are having to sell them at or below cost. Apple are currently one of the most profitable computer manufacturers (despite their tiny market share) and the most cash rich company in Silicon Valley.

        It's also worth noting that IBM found the PC market so profitable that they, err, left it, preferring to concentrate on servers and other specialised systems.."

        Real computers are also part of the IT distribution system. Apple computers are sold through their own retail locations because frankly no one else was interested in shipping them. With PCs you're looking at three or four companies sharing the profit margin while with Macs Apple takes all the profit.

        Also worth noting that PCs create many more jobs per PC sold compared to Macs.

        IBM leaving the PC market is a much much more complicated issue. They were more along Welch-ian lines ("If you're not number one or number two, get out"). On top of that was IBM's corporate planning model. They don't see personal computers (Windows or Mac) as part of the future of computing. They fully endorse the cloud model and are focused on value adding services for long term revenue/profit.

        Where these two topics converge is market strategy. PCs are a commodity product. Everyone who wants to do something productive needs a PC, the market is well established, there is little variety based on hardware, and essentially all PCs are the same. Even Macs are the same, the OS is their only point of differentiation. In a commodity market the market leader is the one who wins the race to the bottom. This means competition is done on the cost end of the willingness to pay scale. Cost is best lowered by taking advantages of economies of scale, meaning whoever sells the most PCs becomes the most cost effective allowing them to sell cheaper and long term sell more PCs. Being the winner makes it easier to win and keep on winning. Thus, if you are not number one or number two by market share, you get out of the market because you have no chance of success.

        /end economics lesson.



    3. Bullseyed


      "Here they are in the middle of a technological challenge where Lemon 4 can't maintain telephone calls yet Apple has plenty of resources to deploy on a minuscule proportion of OWNERS who decide they actually want to use THEIR PROPERTY for what THEY want to do."

      Interesting point. If I steal your iPhone and deathgrip it, can Apple still disable it? As long as I don't let go, the phone will never get a signal...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't there prior art for this

    Well, prior art less the BS about jailbreaking, but basically the actually useful stuff has been available on winmo for years

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge


      Winmo? You're thinking blackberry. Where remote wipe, shutdown, etc is a standard part of the package. One of the reasons that they're so successful in business.

      As for the rest of the patent BS - it's all pie in the sky stuff that's been suggested elsewhere or just included in case Apple ever figure out how to implement it - normal patent trolling really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        Yeah, BB had it first, but then MS went ahead and implemented the exact same thing into WinMo 7 last year or earlier this year I think (it was covered in el Reg).

        So yeah, prior art.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Halo


        It's been there for years (i.e. more than one year) on WinMo via Microsoft System Center's Mobile Device Manager.

    2. JaitcH
      Jobs Horns

      Apple's always stealing others IP

      From the earliest days Apple has always been stealing Intellectual Property which INCLUDES iPad - the name Fujitsu used for their very same product.

      Maybe someone should register a copyright for every combination of the letter "i" so they can out do Jobs!

      1. Ivan Headache
        Thumb Down


        Just read The Register to find out that Apple bought the iPad name from Fujitsu. And by the way, a name is not IP.

        Also you appear to be implying that Apple and Fujitsu are making the same product. Please . The web is full of pictures that clearly show that the two items are as different as Bicycles and carrots.

        1. Bullseyed


          "Just read The Register to find out that Apple bought the iPad name from Fujitsu. And by the way, a name is not IP."

          You fanbois really are too much sometimes.

          Apple licensed the name from Fujitsu... after they named the product and launched it... and not before Fujitsu said "uh guys? you don't own that name you know... we'd like the money you're stealing from us".

          Apple was fully planning to steal the name without paying until they were called out on it.

      2. mmiied

        how about

        a range of VR specs called the I -GLASS?

        1. musojon74


          or the I-Glasses - done, many years ago, for the Amiga.

        2. musojon74

          or I GlassES

          "a range of VR specs called the I -GLASS?"

          Or the I-Glasses - 3d specs made available many years ago for the Amiga.

  11. asdf Silver badge

    you knew Apple biz model would bite them in the butt eventually

    Even in the dark days of the late 90s when Apple was largely irrelevant their biz model has always been find a small group of people badly searching for an identity and way to be hip and then monetize the crap out of them. Yes they have always made whiz bang future looking stuff often of high quality but as an Apple customer you aren't buying a product, you're buying a lifestyle and you will pay and pay. Apple got lucky with the iPod and filled a niche Sony should have filled (worse mistake Sony ever made as consumer product company was buying movie and music studios). Now they have a large group of nuthuggers fans but lets see if they can keep the fad going while also taking away user rights and generally treating their customers like children.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Sorry to disagree.

      I bought Apple kit to get my work done.

      1. Chris Parsons

        And what, pray...

        can you only do on Apple that you could not do on Windows/Linux/whatever? Oh, of course, "I'm a creative, I have to have a Mac"

        1. Ivan Headache

          It's really simple

          see the next one.

      2. karakalWitchOfTheWest
        Jobs Horns

        Then my friend... have a very strange work.

        I defended Apple products for a very long time, owning some kit (some PowerMacs, some G3s, some G4s,...) myself but for now I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

        The iPhone is getting more locked up, the PCs are way to expensive (except maybe the iMac) and with Windows 7 MS closed the gap.

        So Apple is only a lifestyle, not something else...

        And I hadn't a real software-problem with my Win/Linux-Intel-PCs for a very long time which hindered me working on something... Some hardware-faults, but they were repaired fast and successfull (which you can't say of the Apple-guarantee-procedures...)

        1. Ivan Headache

          I don't have very strange work.

          I'm a Mac trainer. I work on Macs. (like increasing numbers of others do).

          You seem to assume that you can only do 'real' work on win or linux.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @next phone android

    My 3Gs iPhone has been a nice experience for the most part, but coming from a 'dumb' phone previously and looking at the way things are unfolding, iPhones are laying out the nails for their own coffin!

    They are prohibitively expensive in many parts of the world, where Android is not having the same control freak problems. Some US companies are global companies, Apple is a US company with interests abroad. Many US companies operate in that way, where what happens in the US is all that matters and all that is paid attention to.

    1. Wallyb132
      Black Helicopters


      "Android is not having the same control freak problems"

      I recommend you take a dose or reality, and call me in the morning... Google has already demonstrated this level of control freakery with their beloved android. It wasn't but a couple of months ago google showed of their ability to fiddle with ones device without the owners knowledge or consent when they nuked a pair of apps off of all android phones the world over without warning or notice, then justified it by saying the apps were nefarious in nature.

      You better wake up and smell the stench of Orwellian control engulfing you... As captain Barbarossa would say "Dont be evil" is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

    2. Chris_Maresca

      Google more evil in some ways...

      I was recently looking into how to access USB devices in both Android and the iPad. With Apple, you have to sign a godawful licensing agreement where you hand over 25-30% of your cash just to use the hardware interface (either dock or bluetooth).

      However, with Android, it's even worse. You can't access USB at all as Google has removed all parts of the Linux kernel that allow a device to act as host.... Basically, you have to jailbreak the device and upgrade the kernel.

      So, who's more evil? Don't know, they're both really bad and a step backwards vs traditional open platforms. Even MSFT was more open.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        not sure it's googles fault...

        Isnt this all part of the FAT32 IP being owned by MS who after a zillion years of it being part of the Linux kernel suddenly upped and sued tom-tom for using it to manage upgrades?

        Hardly the totalitarianism of comrade jobs if they are just covering their arses from a suit form redmond

  13. Web Monster
    Jobs Horns

    Just remembering

    who that old Super Bowl Apple commercial identified as evil...

  14. The Infamous Grouse


    This can't be legal, surely? Remotely activating device hardware to gather information without the user's explicit consent? That's the boundaries of at least two Acts of UK Parliament being pushed right there, and heaven knows what legislation in other countries this could fall foul of. Given what Google are currently going through following the accidental mining of tiny snippets of mostly useless WiFi data, pulling sound and video and location data on demand is likely to land Apple in some very hot water if this gets implemented. EULAs don't trump laws.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      ? Legality

      Since the US have just decided it is OK for a school to turn on remote monitoring so they can watch school girls in their bedrooms surely Apple would argue that they are perfectly entitled to monitor their cattle.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "EULAs don't trump laws."

      Corporate bribes tend to work though.

    3. Ivan Headache


      Isn't there a diffeence between applying for a patent and actually using said patent?

    4. A J Stiles
      Thumb Up


      Misuse of Computers Act 1990 section 3.

      Criminal Damage Act 1971 section 1.

      Go and look them up if you aren't convinced. Even the act of submitting the patent application seems to be in breach of CDA71 section 2.

  15. JK47


    I'm happy with Apple products - I draw pretty pictures on Macbook Pro, make phone calls on iPhone. This suits perfectly. However i understand that some people wish to "fit" out side of the box. As Stalin once said - We have filed for a patent that will prevent you to do so.

    Writing this has questioned the commitment to the iSoviet from someone who is member for 15 years or so

  16. Jared Vanderbilt

    Opt out?

    I have no problem with this if the owner of an i--- has the option of opting out of the program.

    If Apple wants Stalinist control over their devices they should rent them to customers, not sell them to customers.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      No, opt in

      No, opt out is NOT ok.

      It would have to be opt in with full description of what you were agreeing to (not just "protect your phone,,,yes?").

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    sod off jobs

    fucking control freak

    horny jobs cause it offends people

  18. Sailfish


    Apple SUX!

  19. John Munyard


    Surely Apple's vice grip of the device and it's functionality doesn't matter does it?

    I mean, how *cool* is the iPhone?

  20. JDX Gold badge

    The IDEA is cool

    But the implementation is just wrong. Apple are going to get SUUUUUUUUUUUED!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Much frothing and how predictable

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! What a rabid lot you are. Apple files a patent and the lunatics, very predictably, start barking at the moon. Good lord grow up why don't you. It is a patent filing, that is all. But the way you lot are ranting its as if this is happening in iOS 4.0.3. It isn't of course.

    There are plenty of patents filed that will never see the light of day. Apple are well known for their disposition to file patents for all of their ideas. This is just another. What they actually deliver from it will be tempered and measured. They're not stupid as some of you would have believe.

    There are plenty much worse than Apple could ever imagined to be. You might want to look closer to home, to who you all voted in to be your leaders.

    Now thats is way more scary than any Apple patent.

  22. david wilson

    That whining sound you can hear... either a chorus of fanbois practicing a defensive argument, or Albert Einstein spinning in his grave.

    How can someone patent a speculative list of things they might do in a range of possible situations, when such a list could easily have been (and for all I know, actually was) generated by a couple of first-year computing students hanging out one night and drinking coffee?

    Presumably they're just doing it for publicity, since it's hard to see how such a patent could ever hope to be be defended, but even on the publicity side, all they seem to be doing is make themselves look like a bunch of [insert genitalia of choice].

    At the very best, they might be trying to suggest they're serious about the security of the various iStuff, but suggesting they might need to do more can just as easily make people scared about the security that already exists.

    Thinking about recent comments elsewhere, maybe Apple should come up with a one-ring-to-rule-them-all RFID-based 'iRing', which prevents use of the phone except by the appropriate user.

    They could even patent the idea.

    The fact that it's not even slightly novel shouldn't be any barrier to them, since it would seem that they have some pretty 'tame' patent examiners.

  23. Wang N Staines


    Why do people use jailbroken phones?

    If people like it soooo much, why don't they use it as is.

    I made the mistake of getting an iphone. I'll never do it again and as soon as my contract is over it'll be on ebay.

    Isn't using a jailbroken phone also directly supporting the manufacturer's revenue stream?

    x phones shifted is y dollars gained regardless of how they are used.

    I suspect the people who use jailbroken phones are closet fanbois.

    Ever wondered why an abused wife/girlfriend goes back to their man?

  24. Absent

    "removal of a SIM card”"?

    So as to possibly stop secondhand sales of handsets? Swap the SIM and it's bricked?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Felony Hack

    Need to go check the definition of this one i.e. accessing a computing device without the explicit authorisation of the owner and taking some action which disrupts the operation, disables, or retrieves data from the device. Sounds like jail time to me.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior Art???

    Didn't some school in PA just get into trouble for taking pictures with equipment passed to their students? Maybe the school should sue Apple to recover some of the costs of the civil suit being brought against them.

  27. Dick Head
    Thumb Down

    You guys are so gullible...

    It only requires the Register to patent trawl Apple's applications, then write some stupid 'what if' fantasy and you're all over the site moaning how evil Apple are. The idea of using it this way is the Register's not Apple's. The Register is whipping up stupid emotion to get you to come back and view the site more often and thus get more advertising revenue.

    Get a clue.

    1. I didn't do IT.

      Re: Gullible

      I fail to see how El Reg's presentation of accurate quotes is causing me to be "whipped into a frenzy," furthering advertising revenue.

      I read the articles to get the latest news with little regard to the actual topic - If I knew what the news already was today, I would not need to read a news site, no?

      If I felt that the Register was no longer humourous or accurate, I would be off to one of those Murdock Approved(tm) paysites, eh?

      1. Steve Williams

        The accurate quotes all refer to preventing use by thieves.

        The bits that are raising so much ire by Reg readers are extrapolations by the author.

        If you really believe so much in the Register's accuracy then you would probably ignore 90% of their postings about Apple.

  28. Chad H.

    I don't understand the paranoid criticism here

    All were looking at here folks is a more complicated password system that kills your phone when it gets lifted and takes a picture of the theif. It looks for malware the theif might be using to bypass security lockouts, anticipating that.

    But because it's apple it must inherently be evil right? Heaven forbid they might actually hurt thieves.

    If apple wanted to truly get jailbreakers, I'm sure they could do the same thing with less effort - scan the software on sync perhaps.

    1. Bullseyed


      Who would steal a phone that can barely make calls while held comfortably?

  29. John_C
    Dead Vulture


    Why would apple want to do this? Corporate/Government use. That group of customers actively WANT systems which detect unauthorised use and give their admins the ability to nuke phones remotely, under certain high security situations they may also want this decision to be made automatically and instantly without human intervention.

    Get a grip guys, the concept of apple arbitrarily boxing users phones without permission because they jailbreak them is laughable.

  30. Patrick 17

    Sounds a good idea to me

    Having been attacked & robbed of an iphone by a gang, it's frustrating that nothing could be done. So I'd be happy to see a remote disable feature that can be activated if requested by the phone's registered owner. The Police can block the phone from being used in the UK but they claim that stolen phones are just shipped off overseas. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the people involved are able to change the IMEI for continued UK use (they do so with other phones).

    Remote killing Jailbroken phones is a stupid idea and will just result in more antagonism towards Apple.

    1. PirateSlayer



      I think modern handsets can be killed permanently anyway, even if the sim is switched out. I know this is the case with my Blackberry and I assume that the iPhone (being such an expensive piece of equipment) must have a kill switch for the handset itself. Taking pictures and reporting back, etc is too Orwellian.

    2. I didn't do IT.

      Re: frustrated

      "Having been attacked & robbed of an iphone by a gang, it's frustrating that nothing could be done."

      That seriously sucks, dude. I feel for ya and appreciate that you place the blame on unsolved "normal, unsexy" crimes squarely where it belongs - on the Police.

      If they are "too busy" to pop round to pick up and collar a thief when the stolen property is on display for sale in the front yard (still with the identifying markings and serial reported to the Police by the victim three doors down) and they are provided with photographs, GPS maps, a link to the ebay listing, etc; how can they be expected to *actually work* to find else?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    ahh welcome to jobs 1984

    i said this once before apple cultists are too much like scientology cultists.both like to take your money and then seek protection one as bussiness the other as religion and to top it all off they love control.both love to take your privicy away.

    sorry but after reading user agreement for ipissed way back when it was released i decided to be very weary of any apple product.

    as for scientology if it is not proven by science with varified theory its worthless.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scientology

      Before this post gets UT'ed...

      "...if it is not proven by science with varified theory its worthless."

      And how do we expect them to prove that we are all possessed by ancient souls that were murdered by the Great Evil Xenu by crashing DC-3's into volcanoes on that beknighted backwater trash world we know as home?

      If there *is* no hypothesis that a proof can even be ARTICULATED for, isn't that the definition of a religion?

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Read the article

    It is a patent, nothing else. Apple, like so many other engineering companies have lots of patents that they never use, because it stops the competition from using the idea. Meanwhile the Reg writes a paranoid article, and like so many sheep or chicken lickens, you all go on a cyber rant. Good job the stall selling pitchforks and torches is closed for the summer.

    It would not surprise me if Apple, again like so many other design or engineering companies have an incentive scheme that pays a nice little sum to the inventor, thereby encouraging lots of new ideas. I know I did. I got £450 from Lucas Industries for my little idea back in the 80's. They didn't have to give me anything, as it was invented during their paid time, but they did.

    Now to the real news, the planned collapse of the dollar, whereby the US leaves its debts behind, and you all lose your pensions, saving, etc. Coming soon, about 18 months time.

  33. Stuart Castle

    I'd be surprised if Apple did the things listed here..

    I think the Author of this article is speculating somewhat.

    First, Apple patent a *lot* of ideas. It does not follow that they always implement them

    Second, any attempt by Apple to "spy" on their users in the way would violate many laws and would likely result in Apple themselves (and possibly Steve Jobs personally) facing criminal proceedings in many countries.. Remember what happened when those schools in America were found to be using the management software install on the laptops they gave students to activate the laptop's webcam remotely? You think Apple would want that kind of publicity?

    Also, Apple appear to be saying that a large spike in Memory usage may be an indication of hacking. It might. It might also indicate the user has started a memory hungry application (like a game), so I don't see how that will help in security..

  34. Captain Thyratron

    It ain't all bad.

    On the bright side, this'll encourage a whole new generation of users to learn to how to hack.

  35. kevin biswas
    Big Brother

    Maybe they could flog their hardware as

    "licenced, but not sold".

    As an aside, I can't imagine what anyone sees in their overpriced, low-quality, non-repairable products. It seems pretty clear to me they are a bunch of evil corporate jerks.


    jailbreaking the iphone

    thats why i never like a company who locks there devices down which clearly apple has this issue il never buy a apple end of story give me android any day.

  37. Bod

    Unauthorised use?

    If I buy a phone it's got jack shit to do with the manufacturer what I do with it.

    Would this patent prevent Blendtec from further blendage of iProducts, as surely that is unauthorised use too?

  38. raving angry loony
    Jobs Horns

    end of the road

    DEFINITELY never getting an iPhone at this point.

    Actually, I gave up on Apple "ipods" when I got my iPod Touch and realized that due to them moving some connections over 0.5 mm from where they were on the iPod, none of my accessories were usable any more.

    But this latest bit of assholery just confirms my decision.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      is this

      where they realised nobody really used firewire, and switched to 5v usb charging. Then, in order to stop you frying you shiny new phone with 12v, they adjusted the connector slightly?

      1. Ivan Headache


        It's about changing the space between the standard ipod connector and the headphone jack.

        This messed up some peripherals that used both connectors at the same time.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. Neil 13

    Jesus H Christ....

    Just listen to all of you whinging pussies. First off, companies file patents for things that'll never see the light of day all of the time and since you have no guarantee that Apple will ever produce a kill switch, what the hell are you getting your panties in a bunch about?

    Secondly, Jobs has said that one of the main reasons Apple wants to keep control over it's phone system is to stop unauthorized software threatening the mobile network. If Apple really were the control freaks that you say they are, then why is it that they don't even ask for registration and get you to jump through all sorts of hoops when you install their operating system on their computers? You know, like Microsoft does when you chuck it's OS on your PCs.

    And you Android users make me laugh. You do know that Google own up to having a kill switch when you look at their terms and conditions don't you? And you do remember that they've already used it on two occasions to remotely wipe apps off users phones (with no guarantee of a refund) don't you - something which Apple has never done.

    Oh, and you do remember that your 'garden without walls' has already seen one app uploading personal info to it's author in the background whilst you were using your phone? Of course, these sort of unscrupulous malware authors would never behave worse than Apple with people's data would they?

    Grow up you silly sods and if you don't like Job's toy then don't buy one.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "stop unauthorized software threatening the mobile network"

      Bollocks. WinMo has been about for years- I've been using it since it was PocketPC. It's hooked up to the mobile network, so it could have had mobile-network-damaging code written for it.

      And no-one's done it. So unless you're saying that Windows Mobile is safer and better coded than iOS, there is no risk.

      How would a phone threaten the network anyway? At worst you're looking at it being used as what, a radio jammer?

      Google's control is over apps bought on the Android Marketplace. It's a subtlety to be sure, but they don't have any (legal) control over, say, an application you bought yourself. To make yourself "google-proof" you just install the .apk file directly rather than using the Market. Which is something that you can do without "jail-breaking" or whatever the device.

      Apple's tightly-controlled application checking system failed to pick up on an app providing "tethering" functionality for quite a while- and then probably because news of it spread through their community.

      What're the chances that a similarly shoddy check has been performed on another app that, while looking innocuous, harvests user data in the background? Which no-one would notice? Pretty high, I'd imagine.

  41. heyrick Silver badge

    Computer Misuse Act?

    Would something stuffed into a firmware update be able to override current legislation?

    Take a look at for the part about "Unauthorised modification of computer material" and ask yourself if you could apply this against Apple if it decides to employ measures to deliberately nobble your phone if they don't like your take on it.

    After all, they CAN refuse to support jailbroken (!) phones, but to actively look to disabling them, it's flying a bit close to the wind...

  42. heyrick Silver badge

    In Jobs we trust

    Given the antenna problems that aren't really real, and the WiFi problems that aren't really real, and the exploding batteries that aren't really real... we trust such a feature not to ever backfire on users?

  43. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Dear Steve

    I have a friend who says customers are like tofu. You can hold more in open gentle hands than a tightly closed fist.

  44. John Fielder
    Jobs Horns

    Think yourself lucky!

    You should all think yourself honoured that Apple let you hold their hardware (as long as your only hold it the correct way that is). You don't actually think you pay to own it, you pay to borrow it off them.

  45. petur
    Thumb Down

    prior art indeed

    The part about transmitting GPS, SIM card and camera info when your device is stolen is indeed already done. If they manage to patent that then it is yet another clear example that the US patent office is a bunch of idiots.

    My n900 has such a package where it will send location, camera pics and other data (like new sim card number and telephone number) when the SIM card is switched or you send a special passphrase via SMS (in case your SIM card is still in there).

  46. Translator Dave
    Jobs Horns

    Big Brother

    I wouldn't worry about the Orwellian aspects of this too terribly much. It will probably be hacked by a 17 year old within a week anyway.

  47. The Grump

    Android ? STOP

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!

    Buying an Android to escape from the I-phone is like going from the frying pan into the fire. I have the Motorola Droid, and I hate it for so many reasons.

    1) the quality apps you used on the I-phone don't exist for the Android. You get cheap, knock-off versions of popular apps which are often unstable enough to force an app closeure. Your favorite app may not exist at all.

    2) the photo gallery attempts to open all of your pictures (no matter how many folders you file them in) every time you use photo gallery. At higher amounts of stored images, this causes Android to display your pictures at a horrible low resolution, make you wait for minutes to over an hour for the normal picture to display, and the app may "force close" (crash) at any time. So even if you buy a 32GB SD card, you can't store more images because more images would crash the photo gallery app.

    3) You're going from one tyrannical closed OS (Apple) to another, slightly less tyrannical closed OS (Google).

    4) When Android "upgrades" an app, it usually either has no effect for common users (unneeded functions), or it makes the existing app worse.

    5 - infinity) I could tell you many more faults with the android, but I have hit the major faults above. I have 1 year, 3 months, ands 29 days in my contract before I can say goodbye to the Google OS forever, and get a Windows Mobile phone again. Apps that work again. Folders that work again.

    It's like Google goes to great pains to make its users feel like the car buyer who just bought a "lemon". Take my advise - STEER CLEAR of Android. Go with Windows Mobile. MS has its faults, but it's not complete piece of crap like Android phones, and Bill Gates is not quite as evil as Steve Jobs. MS works most of the time, and Android doesn't.

    I may have to suffer with a phone I would much rather crush s-l-o-w-l-y in a vise than use, but you don't have to suffer. STEER CLEAR of the Android. You're been warned.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Bear Features


      Bet you tell people to use macs instead of PCs because it's impossible to get a virus... am I right? ;o)

  48. Paul S. Gazo
    Paris Hilton

    I have an idea for a new patent.

    "A System for Keeping the Intrusive Manufacturer of the Device I Have Paid For The Fuck Away From My Data".

    Let's see how it works. A law is passed mandating the inclusion in all electronic devices a big indicator that lights up to tell the user the manufacturer has attempted to access device data. If the user has not requested this intrusion, they then press a button and the CEO of the manufacturer has his testicles electrocuted.

    Seriously, if you want to build "security" features into your OS, fine. But when you're going and patenting systems for being a prying, spying, paranoid control-freak, you need to have your ego checked at the door.

    Paris because maybe we could get something useful out of remotely activating her camera and turning on geotagging.

  49. Hoe
    Jobs Horns

    Napoleon Complex Anyone?!

    I bet Steve Job's wife has to wear what he wants when he wants, I bet he even picks here food when eating out, in fact it wouldn't surprise me if he has a GPS on her in case.

    The guy is a deluded idiot with a Napoleon Complex, let's just hope someone proves the right to "JailBreak" your own device in the EU too now!

    Pfff, and we though Gates was bad!!!

  50. Kevin Davidson

    Android as bad or worse

    More ill informed nonsense from the Apple haters. Android is just as bad - try tampering with your Motorola Droid and it will detect that and brick itself. Android is not open for end users, only for manufacturers. And with malware appearing the manufacturers will work harder to lock them down, when they're not conspiring to push out Vodafone branded nonsense.

  51. Iggle Piggle

    We never learn

    I was just browsing the internet with the latest "stable" Firefox release when it crashed, again. After reviving it and being told how embarrassing it was that it crashed I thought I'd pop into my favourite IT web site only to read how the Apple haters (I count myself amongst your numbers) seem to be outweighing the fanbois. My HTC desire has been upgraded to 2.2 of Android only to become less stable and now has a feature that can tell Google exactly what I sound like.

    It seems all the big IT companies push us to the point where we have to turn against them. Microsoft must be quite delighted that nobody even bothers to ridicule their efforts any longer.

  52. gorillass


    I love Apple products. They work well and their attention to detail is 2nd to none. If they do this though I will quickly drop my iPhone and move straight to Google.

  53. WinHatter

    Already there

    I get it now ... it's pronounced eyePhone.

    I bet the kill switch is already there, just waiting for a patent to give them "legal" grounds to use it.

    Steve Jobs middle name is Hand.

    1. Ivan Headache

      You obviously haven't read about

      Google's kill switch on the Android.

      Which is real.


      Has been used

      And therefore stops Apple patentling it.

  54. Yaro

    Not surprising, Apple's always been scum.

    I am still grateful to this day I am not an Apple fan. In fact, I am grateful to this day I never liked Apple. It doesn't surprise me that Apple would not only come up with plans to shut down jailbroken phones but also make up some bullshit about protecting their users int he process.

    Anything to keep from looking like the real dishonest moneygrubbers they actually are, eh?

    Thing is, Apple's NEVER really been the heroic underdog it's been trying to depict itself as. EVERY move its made has been about consolidating its products in a way that makes sure they have the control over their users for the most money.

    Still, this isn't illegal. As awesome as this new law is, it doesn't actually stop a company from blocking it. It just means they can't sue or press charges.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Enjoy your 1984-phone you don't even have control of, iDiots.

    Mine's the one with the Android phone in the pocket.

    1. Chad H.


      You mean like the ability to control what apps google decide to remove from your phone?

    2. Stuart Castle


      Yours is the one with the phone whose OS was manufactured by a company that routinely keeps your searches, also tracks which sites you visit, and probably knows roughly where you are at all times (thanks to the Streetview IP grab), and can install or uninstall software without your knowing?

      You call the iPhone a 1984 phone? At least where Apple do stuff like this, they are honest about it. Google do it and don't tell you.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pissed my self laughing at

    'skeletor' comment. The poor guy (Steve Jobs) is becoming more and more bony. :(

    Remember, companies patent loads of stuff, whether they use it or not. (The software patent system is broken, not to mention boring). As much as I like Apple, if they did some of the shit described in this article, I'd be an ex-Apple customer, very quickly.

    Also, how long before the jailbreakers/haxxors disable the kill switch? (somehow). Bored 14 year old geeks will probably do it in a day. :D

  57. Rick Dickinson

    And this is why I own a Palm Pre

    I knew that there were good reasons to avoid buying an iPhone. Thanks for the confirmation that I made the right smartphone choice.

    1. Doug Glass

      WebOS is ...

      ... just fine.

  58. Gray
    Big Brother

    Monitor a remote kill ...

    Send one of the new iGoodies to a security threat on the CIA "kill asap" list. It monitors location, excellent! It monitors movement? Even better! It monitors heart rate, or the lack thereof? Perfect!

    "Sir, we can confirm that the Predator missle strike was effective. His iPhone heart-monitor showed zero rate as of 90 seconds ago!"

    What a glorious victory for the Patriot Act; give us a huge "iThanks" to Mr. Jobbo!

  59. James Woods


    unlike when filming police officers is deemed as wiretapping - wtf? this would certainly seem to qualify as such.

    So if I was going to jailbreak my iphone i'd do it as soon as possible and make sure to pay with a credit card. From what I recall that's the only payment method apple wants anyhow for obvious reasons.

    When apple starts it's crap just charge it back, you have 6 months + you'll get to keep it.

    Im sure there'd be ways to get it to work since at that point it would be worthless and you'd at least have gotten your money back.

    Apple seems to want to follow in googles coat-tails in regards to owning you when you buy their hardware but google doesn't want competition and there can only be 1.

    The company has tech sweatshops manufacturing their devices working 60-80 hours a week for no rewards other than perhaps suicide which some are opting into as a permanent vacation from making this crap.

    Apple's in for some wakeup calls, and it's already too late for them to make a comeback.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Time for a change....

    I was a contended convert to the Apple empire since my first encounter with a Powerbook 12" in 2004. since then I've owned Macbook Pro's, iPods, iPad etc, and extolled the virtues of Apple to many a bored individual. But this goes a step too far and Jobs can take his shiny aluminium toys and poke them, the word 'megalomaniac' springs to mind.....

    1. Doug Glass


      To be exact.

  61. Anonymous Coward

    hmm, removal of features etc remotely?

    firstly, I'm glad that I have an Android device...where, actually, theres no real need to jailbreak it in the first place

    secondly, I own a PS3 that lost its ability to run another alternative OS , legally - this wasnt some dodgy jailbreak thing and was used legitimately, not for dodgy pirated games (my PS3 hardly plays games anyway!) - and Sony released a firmware that removed that ability...

    Sony still havent been seen by a UK court for that - I doubt Apple would either. the big corporations rule our world these days....we are expected to cow to them...and cower against their 'rights'

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      not quite

      You are deluding yourself if you think even android is immune. There are plenty of legitimate apps that have been force removed from the app store. Many wifi tethering apps spring to mind.

  62. Ben Rosenthal
    Big Brother

    Dr Who

    isn't this the Doctor Who Episode with Trigger from only fools and all the stompy robots?

  63. Anonymous Coward

    The Honeymoon is over

    Waiting to see Apple block 1m iPhones from iTunes because they have been cracked.

    Microsoft did the exact same thing last year (I supposed it figured those 1m console that were rendered useless would mean 1m replacement sales, as Xbox fanboys are too dumb to wake up from their MS Coma).

    This is gonna be fun to watch....

  64. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  65. Rattus Rattus

    "Think Different"

    ...but not differently to me.

    - Steve J.

  66. Gavin Bloeman
    Jobs Horns

    The idots at Apple are going to kill themselves off

    Being a designer I've used Macs since 1994. Not a fashion thing, but they were and still are a great tool. But Apple are going down the wrong road now and as my Mum used to say to my sister and me, "It'll end in tears. you just mark my words!"

  67. Ritchie1987
    Jobs Horns


    This would make a good spin-off of their famous advertisement - "and you'll see why 2010 is going to be like 1984"

  68. Jean-Paul


    This tech site is getting more and more like a z list celebrity tabloid. All you going so against this and going to android blah blah must be so so dumb and only have selective news memory. Every post in here that aims to balance the debate and actually states fact gets downvoted. How pathetic you lot are you can't handle the truth.

    Sure have a rant about apple trying to patent something that has been done beforeany a time. But the rant about the evil control. Yeah right, just look a few month back who actually exercised such a kill switch ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward


      > Yeah right, just look a few month back who actually exercised such a kill switch ;-)

      Right the scandal of Google daring to uninstall an App with hidden malware it had punted through Market and was therefore liable for. That's exactly the same as bricking your handset when you jailbreak it to install software or basic functionality Apple don't want you to have or get paid a commission on.

    2. Doug Glass

      So? What's You Point?

      You need to polish your halo, it's looking a bit on the dull side.

      1. david wilson

        @ Doug Glass

        >>"You need to polish your halo, it's looking a bit on the dull side."

        It's not a *halo*, it's just that, just like Steve, the horns have finally joined up.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    catch thieves?

    I like the prospect that thieves can be caught rather than the usual, phone is barred then sold on ebay for spare parts.

    Leave the phone unlocked, snap a few geotagged pics whilst in the perps posession and then arrest them take them to court with the best evidence possible.

    Although I can see where things could go wrong, just so long as proper and correct measures are in place to ensure you don't get nudie pics of your wife beamed direct to Stevie.

  70. Doug Glass


    The Sacred J just can't stand it. Somebody bigger than he made a decision he doesn't like. So now the cry baby is going to take his bat, ball and glove and not play. Like cockroaches, he'll never kill them all. But he has to try because like Pavlov's dog he just jumps at the chance to be psychotic and manipulative.

    Juck Fobs and the mule he rode in on.

  71. Simon Millard

    Apple doing a Microsoft

    Isn't Apple doing the same as microsoft did with Internet Explorer?

  72. Anonymous Coward

    Apple Quid Pro Quo, Give users a real reason to NOT hack devices...

    Apple should give something to users to make it worthwhile to NOT hack their phones. They could prevent theft of devices as every single user has to register the device in iTunes. if Apple disallowed duplicate device IDs to be registered, a stolen ianything would be iUseless.

    Hacking and jailbreaking devices removes this requirement, hence would also remove the protection Apple could be providing.

    Use your technology as a carrot rather than always as a stick!

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I'd like to see...

    ...someone ENABLING these 'kill switch" features for all the IApples, legal or not, without Apple's or users consent, thus effectively killing all of them in one go. Surely, this "kill switch" is already installed, they are just launching the patent so they can enable it and nobody else can copy it without getting sued. If Apple can kill your Istuff, so any other miscreant. Such backdoor is waiting to be opened.

    On the other hand:

    1. lock yourself in a faraday cage with the Isheep, ILamb-to-slaughter, Iwhatever. Preferably under 10 feet of solid lead-filled rock.

    2. duct tape the lenses. Even the one hidden under the battery recess. Don't forget the one below the SIM card too. Remember to zero-out any memory storage directly linked to the lenses.

    Don't forget any buffers.

    3. hack away and erase the "kill switch". Wipe any geotagged images or any scrambled or encrypted GPS coordinates remotely similar to the coordinates of where the hack was made.

    Soldering may be involved. Running away from premises after the hack was completed and nuking the site from orbit may be involved too.

    4. Enjoy your jailbreak /jailbroken phone.

    It's pub o'clock. I'm outta here.

  74. vincent himpe

    ipof / ipad / iphone are warehouse club cards

    Here is the analogy :

    You buy the privilege of being allowed to shop at SteveCo. Just like you have to pay for a warehouse card to be allowed to shop at things like costco or sams club or Bj's.

    And just like warehouse clubs this SteveCo sells things they did not produce at a markup ( books, movies, music ). Since they have a wide subscribers group Steveco determines aggressive pricing towards his suppliers (developers, musicians, writers).

    And just like warehouse clubs SteveCo also has some house brand products and can decide what it will sell in its stores.

    So there you have it. Either you shop at SteveCo and you pay for 'membership'. Or you keep using Safeway, Kroger , Walmart ( HP, Dell , Ibm etc.. )

  75. Anonymous Coward

    Overstating vs understating...

    "It gives Steve jobs and Co. the means to retaliate when iPhones aren't being used in ways Cupertino doesn't expressly permit."

    Yep, it also gives them the ability to brock the phone when you report it missing so that no-one can log into your bank accout (or even El Reg) and/or access your personal data (and that of your contacts). Sounds like a good thing to me (but then I haven't jailbroken my iPhone)

  76. Rob - Denmark

    Please stop making wrong comparisons

    A company buys a load of Blackberrys or WiMo or whatever, and have the ability to brick THEIR OWN PHONES if, say, the employee (who haven't paid for the phone) leaves the company, but keeps the phone.

    It is NOT the same as Apple having the ability to brick PHONES OWNED BY OTHERS (who've paid for the phone) because said user somehow has more applications on his phone than Apple has sold to him.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares ?

    Got a 3G.

    Got iOS4.01

    Got no problems, got no slow phone.

    Got a phone that's more "manageable" than my Nokia....bigger "keys" and simpler to navigate.

    Only use free apps.

    Cost me the price of a new touchscreen and display (£28.00 (ebay))

    The previous owner couldn't force herself to pay the asked £170.00 from the bought a new iphone and gave me the broken one.

    Also use O2, no problems.

    Must be doing something right ?

  78. Semihere

    I see a major flaw...

    O2 now offer to unlock your iPhone for free once your contract has ended, or will do so for £15. There's a form on their website or you can go instore and ask about it. So if Apple then bricked the phone remotely, where would they stand legally?


    Stopping iPhones from jailbreaking with Apple patent

    Apple isn’t planning to just sit back and let everyone who wants to get the full potential out of the iPhone although it happens to be lawful to your iPhone. Unwanted users won’t be able to get on one’s iPhone with a patent “covering an elaborate series of measures” that is designed to “protect iPhone owners from thieves” reports the Register. That patent, entitled "Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device," would protect Apple liability in jailbreaking exploits, but it would also allegedly lock down a user's phone.

  80. JStewart
    Jobs Halo


    The iFans must be getting disillusioned by the day. iGod is fast turning into iDevil and the poor souls will always fear seeing shots of themselves taking a dump in the nearest 'Most Wanted' poster. I am sure glad I stayed clear off iGouger's offerings.

  81. meme

    Stop Apple

    What is with Apple bashing.

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