You Hack It, We Break It . . .

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Imagine either Intel or AMD announcing the following:

“We think overclocking is bad. It often causes irreparable damage to our CPUs, and makes it likely that the overclocked CPU will become permanently inoperable when the next BIOS update is installed.
Users who overclock violate their CPU license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use a CPU due to overclocking is not covered under the CPU’s warranty.”

What would be your reaction if you owned an overclocked CPU covered by this statement? Assuming you didn’t, how likely would it be that you would ever buy a product from a CPU company that ever made such a statement?

I bet your reaction in either case wouldn’t be too good.

Imagine buying a car, then finding out just before you sign on the dotted line, “If you don’t use X brand motor oil, a circuit in your engine will permanently disable your vehicle.”

Would you sign?

Well, Apple announced it was going to do just that to those who have unlocked their iPhones so they can use different phone carriers. Here’s a real quote:

“Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed. . . . Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.”

Not that we condone the practice, but permanently breaking the equipment? That crosses our line.

This sounds like a Little Stevie Jobs temper tantrum. It’s inexcusably vicious and vindictive.

Apple’s justifications for this are as convincing as the Flat Earth Society’s:

“This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview. “It’s unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for … those consequences.”

Somehow I suspect “proactively disabling” in AppleTalk means “burning out every transistor in the device,” and nothing else. As for responsibility, a court will decide that as part of a class-action suit should your company be foolish enough to try this, and it will lose, Mr. Schiller.

This decision is so outrageous it is difficult to believe Apple is really serious about it. What is more likely is that this threat is just a stalking horse for a less-objectionable “compromise” to be announced in a few days, perhaps a temporary disabling of the device until the firmware is unhacked.

Whatever the outcome, for the vast majority of people, the issue shouldn’t be, “What is Apple going to end up doing?” but instead, “Why the hell would you want to buy anything from a company that does these kinds of things?” Really, is your life so lacking in abuse and disrespect that you need to buy some more?

For me, there’s an excellent way to avoid all these iPhone issues: Don’t buy it! Don’t let your friends and associates buy them! Most importantly of all, make fun of the people you see who have bought one! Call them shallow, call them Stevie’s saps, be highly unimpressed.

If a status symbol gets not respect but ridicule, it stops being a status symbol.

No, I don’t think this is likely to catch on, too many shallow saps out thet.

But you and those around you don’t have to join the zombies.

Ed


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