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Newsletter #409 Preview: Reality Check: Is Apple At War With iPhone Hackers?

One of the big stories this weekend, other than the usual political shenanigans and lurid celebrity gossip, was the claim that some iPhones were turned into bricks by the latest firmware update from Apple. Of course, Apple warned iPhone users about the potential consequences of unlocking their phones, which is intended to allow them to work on other phone systems.

In the wake of that update, some of those unlocked iPhones were predictably rendered all or mostly inoperable. Yet, it also appears a few phones that were never hacked also suffered in a similar fashion from the firmware revision. Without knowing what may have happened, on rare occasions, firmware updates do fail, but one would hope Apple will remedy such matters forthwith.

The core question, however, is whether Apple has the right to treat folks who choose to make unsanctioned upgrades to their iPhones in this fashion. Are they playing dirty tricks, or simply acting appropriately?

Consider another example in a different industry.

You buy a spanking new $75,000 BMW and, when you get home, you perform various modifications to the engine to improve breathing and give more power and fuel economy. Unfortunately, your hardware alterations eventually result in serious engine damage.

Does BMW have the obligation to repair that engine under warranty?

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.