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Free the iPhone from AT&T 314

Acererak was one of several readers who noted that DVD Jon has released information on unbricking an iPhone. You sacrifice all cel phone functionality of course, but you have an iPDA that will work on your WiFi. Currently the hack is windows only but it doesn't look very complicated.
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Free the iPhone from AT&T

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  • by HouseArrest420 ( 1105077 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @08:57AM (#19742549)
    Why would you pay that much money for a PDA, when you can get other devies whose only purpose it to be a PDA for less?
    • by Simon (S2) ( 600188 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:02AM (#19742597) Homepage

      hy would you pay that much money for a PDA, when you can get other devies whose only purpose it to be a PDA for less?
      Because of the "I" prefix.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thebrieze ( 1102809 )
      Cool factor, User Interface, Wifi, Almost full featured browser, Full screen, Video player.

      Granted its still an expensive, but there isn't another device that does all of the above with quite as nice a user interface, and which has quite as much cool factor.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:18AM (#19742775)
        Tapwave Zodiac :)

        Cool factor > Still looks cool to this day!

        User interface > Yup its pretty nice touch screen interface

        Wifi > With an SDIO card yeah

        Almost full featured browser > yup got that too

        Full screen > tis a pretty big screen

        Video player > hardware mpeg4 decoder built in :D

        plus it plays emulators and has tonnes of over features :)

        f*ck the iphone get a Zodiac off ebay now!

      • Cool factor, User Interface, Wifi, Almost full featured browser, Full screen, Video player.

        I think the phrase you are looking for is "prosthetic eNis".

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy ( 12016 )
        Nokia N700 or the new N800 does all of that.

        No it does not play DRM locked iTunes music but it does everything else including play doom.

        Oh and it's been out for far longer than the iPhone.

        does it have the yuppie metrosexual iconic look? No but in a way kinda, every time I use mine with my phone (BT data) or for other reasons (far bigger screen than the iphone so movies rock and makes websurfing very tolerable) I get tons of questions about it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wealthychef ( 584778 )
          Synchronization is important to me. I hate my Treo 700p because it sucks as a phone, but I need it because it syncs my calendars and contacts with my Mac. The only reason I don't buy an iPhone yet is I haven't been able to see one in person.
        • by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) * on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:36PM (#19744551)
          I admit, from toying with one that a friend picked up, the N700/800 tablets look quite nicely usable. They do not, however, look like something I can slip into my purse, or the pocket of my jacket, for easy transport as a phone. (Especially as they need a Bluetooth phone to use for GPRS connectivity, and don't do normal GSM calling.)

          I haven't taken the plunge and enslaved myself to AT&T for an iPhone, but I know that my desire for it is a tradeoff of several things. Windows Mobile just plain feels like I'm fighting with my PDA most of the times (I will spare you my rant on the astonishingly poor UI design of the Connection management screen in WM5), and most of the more-usable PDA-type devices are, like the N700, just too darn BIG to carry around conveniently for me, especially if I also have to carry a phone with me.

          So all flashy 'woo' factor aside, the iPhone seems to have a very usable interface, do most of what I actually want from my PDA-phone (with, alas, the exception of IM... what were you THINKING, Apple?) and would fit in my jacket pocket much more conveniently. It's just that (ugh) AT&T requirement that's kept me from taking the plunge; T-Mobile's been fairly good to me.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by *weasel ( 174362 )
            I carry my n800 in my pocket all the time.
            Of course, I'm a pretty big guy and I don't wear tight pants - so YMMV.

            In the winter, I've got coat pockets that make it even easier - in the summer, my shorts tend to have those big superfluous pockets, so that's a no-brainer too.

            And the important part of 'the n800 is bigger' is that the nokia's screen is 800pixels wide.
            Despite what Jobs would have you believe, the real internet is not 480 pixels wide, nor is it browsed by zooming in and out and sidescrolling as a
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sethstorm ( 512897 ) *
        Depends on if you like some Symbian based smartphones (N91,N92,N93i,N95, 9500/9300 Communicators, some of the E series). They range from just as expensive, or the price of some small laptops- but are usually not iCrippled.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by appleguru ( 1030562 )
      It's not just a PDA. It's a SWEET solid state iPod... In fact, it;s currently the only flash based iPod that can play videos; and it has a kickass screen and touch interface to boot... the iPhone is apple's best ipod to date. While the price may seem high, there is clearly a demand for an iPhone-like iPod, and I imagine one at a lower price point than the iPhone will be released soon. Time will tell if the new ipod has any connectivity features built in (wifi, bluetooth, etc), but I hope so!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by maeka ( 518272 )

        In fact, it;s currently the only flash based iPod that can play videos...

        I'm obligated to point out that the first generation Nano can play MPEG 1 and 2 videos full speed if you use Rockbox firmware.
        Yea, the screen is small, and I'm totally ignoring your larger point.
        It just needed to be said.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Because it is an iPhone. If you have one, you are hip and cool. You are important and beautiful. If you don't, you are a loser. Basically it is like middle school but with more money.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Otter ( 3800 )
        Because the way you get to be "DVD Jon" is by bragging about trivial "hacks" to high-profile Apple hardware and services.

        OK, you get to be him by taking credit for someone else's DVD player hack. But you stay "DVD Jon" with noisy, pointless attacks on Apple gear.

    • by niceone ( 992278 ) * on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:18AM (#19742771) Journal
      Well, because you get to have a cool iPhone.

      This mod has a couple more advantages for the slashdot crowd:

      1) you won't have to talk to people.
      2) it makes it harder for 'them' to track you
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zaatxe ( 939368 )
      "The difference between a man and a boy is the price of their toys."
      -- My mom
    • Won't there eventually be a way to run VOIP on the iPhone, making it an ipod, wifi browser, PDA, and VOIP phone? Now that would be good, dontcha think?
  • Why "Of course"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by l-ascorbic ( 200822 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:06AM (#19742637)
    Why is it assumed that phone functionality must be sacrificed? Why can't another SIM be used?
    • Re:Why "Of course"? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:11AM (#19742693)
      The iPhone almost certainly contains a network lock (where it will refuse to talk to any SIM card that isn't from AT&T)

      The interesting question would be if you could use any AT&T SIM card in the iPhone after activating it with this hack (or if not whether the hack could be changed so that becomes possible). If so, this allows you to completely avoid the "lock-in contract" by obtaining whatever the "I already have a suitable phone and I just want an AT&T SIM card with no lock in contract" plan is.
      • by russ1337 ( 938915 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:10AM (#19743249)
        I personally think it is fair that a telco wants you to sign up for a 2 year contract when they give you a subsidized phone, especially when they want to give you an expensive phone at (what appears to be) a bargain.

        What I think is a little unfair is paying full price for the device and being locked in for 2 years to a company that appears is not subsidizing the phone. AT&T must have wanted the lock-in for them to justify spending money on the extra services the iPhone offers such as video mail, which they would have made money on anyway if they were first to market or offered the best service.

        In a truly competitive market the iphone would be free to connect to any telco (and because the phone meets FCC requirements they should not legally be allowed to turn the customer away). Problem is, the Telco's are too accustomed to locking down their services and features and couldn't bear the customer having a choice.

        IMHO of course.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by inviolet ( 797804 )

          Good post. Just one gripe:

          In a truly competitive market the iphone would be free to connect to any telco (and because the phone meets FCC requirements they should not legally be allowed to turn the customer away). [emphasis added]

          Don't equate 'truly' with 'instantly', or else you'll inadvertently summon the regulators, akin to accidentally blurting out Beezelbub's name and having him appear before you in a cloud of cinders.

        • by LearnToSpell ( 694184 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:48AM (#19744101) Homepage
          Here's a choice: DON'T BUY IT.

          Jesus. /. drives me nuts sometimes. Everybody wants an iPhone for 99 cents, with 10,000 free minutes a month, unlimited texting, unlimited bandwidth, and a personalized letter from Steve Jobs thanking them for making a difference in the world. How the fuck is any of this unfair? There are other phones. There are other PDAs. Want a competitive market? Get Samsung to make a hot phone, and hook it up to another network. Talking about how you don't have a choice is truly idiotic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cdrguru ( 88047 )
          You misunderstand consumer electronics. Person buys phone and wants to use it with Verizon. Verizon is a CDMA carrier, not GSM. The phone will never work with Verizon. Do you feel like you would like to be the support person explaining this on the phone to the customer that just bought a $500 paperweight and believes it is his right to have the phone work for him?

          So then the guy goes down the street to T-Mobile (a GSM carrier) and gets a SIM card. The phone now works. But the really nifty voicemail fe
      • Good point. the only problem then is where do you get an iPhone without actually signing yourself up for the contract.

        And the only way I can think of would be buying one second hand, meaning someone else signed up to the contract, meaning you are buying a stolen phone.
  • Right (Score:5, Funny)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:07AM (#19742647)
    So "unbricking" the iPhone means losing cell phone ability. What kind of unbricking this is?

    How about a guide how to free my PC from Internet security vulnerabilities. By blowing up my modem with a hand grenade.
    • Re:Right (Score:5, Informative)

      by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:12AM (#19742701) Homepage
      If I understand the idea correctly this allows you to use it without activating it and having a mandatory contract. This does not remove the SIM lock though. If a hack comes out to unlock the SIM lock these two will make a total unlock possible. Anything else aside, this allows you to use the iPhone for something without registering for 2 years contract while you are waiting for the second hack.

      The latter is only a matter of time, after all you do not expect a device with a general purpose OS where everything runs as root to last long, do you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by linuxci ( 3530 )

        The latter is only a matter of time, after all you do not expect a device with a general purpose OS where everything runs as root to last long, do you?
        What's Windows got to do with this? :)

        Seriously, what makes you think everything runs as root on the iPhone?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Indeed, especially since iPhone has two pre-set-up accounts, "root" and "mobile" [].
          • by Joebert ( 946227 )
            Didn't Apple use some sort of fake security thing to throw people off ages ago ?

            The real account must be named "grandma", no hacker would ever think to look there.
        • by arivanov ( 12034 )
          At least one of the tech sites (forgot which one, see the iPhone coverage on the Reg, links from there), posted that Safari runs as root based on the UID in memorydumps caused by nuking it the recent Safary vulns. Same for a couple of othr apps which they have managed to coredump. It is only a matter until one of them gets exploited.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
        Cingular had an exclusive market with the Samsung blackjack. it took only 20 days before the things started showing up on the grey market 100% unlocked.

        The iPhone will start showing up on ebay in "New unlocked!" form shortly. Apple did not design the cellphone portion of the phone. It's a standard module or chipset and someone will discover what unlocking tricks are needed to get it fully unlocked and flashed to factory defaults for the cellphone portion so that the provider cant re-lock it.
    • "By blowing up my modem with a hand grenade"

      I hereby defy you in a game of Worms ! you seem to be in the proper mindframe 8)
    • How about a guide how to free my PC from Internet security vulnerabilities. By blowing up my modem with a hand grenade.

      In order for this to be effective folks, you must remain beside the active grenade at all times in order to be certain the vulnerabilities have been removed (among other things).
    • I'll raise you a guide on how to free your "peecee" from security vulnerabilities (at last the overwhelming majority of them) by not using any software or platforms produced by Microsoft on it.
  • On the day of the iPhone launch Steve Jobs confirmed that OS X is also in "some iPods we've been working on."

    > there are people who want an iPhone to use it as an iPod and WiFi device without having to enter into a 2-year AT&T contract).

    Just wait a few months and get a bug-fixed OS X in an iPod video with the same screen and Wi-Fi and Safari and 100 GB disk.

    • by kabz ( 770151 )
      Or you could read one of the many iPhone articles available on the net, and simply 'fail the credit check' with ATT and go month to month on the go phone plan.

      The *really* scary thing is that if there's just the *tiniest* hint that an iPod without a cell phone is lame, then everyone is going to want an iPhone, or whatever v2.0 looks like. iPhone totally *rocks*, even the battery life is great.
      • "...and simply 'fail the credit check' with ATT and go month to month on the go phone plan."

        I still want, no need, the ability to connect to another network. I travel enough to need the ability to put a SIM card in for the country I'm in at the time. So i'd love to use your technique to get my hands on the phone, but will certainly need the (inevitable) hack to use another SIM.

        I've been looking for a device that has wi-fi web, phone, and all the features the iPhone offers (including cool factor) but
  • by MCSEBear ( 907831 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:14AM (#19742727)
    From Ars Technia -- November 24, 2006

    The newest list of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is out, and the Register of Copyrights is recommending six exemptions this time around. If you've been hankering for the legal authority to remove Sony's rootkit or to unlock your cell phone, then this will be big news. If you were hoping for the ability to make backup copies of your legally purchased DVDs, you're (still) out of luck.

    Exemptions are allowed for 1) the educational library of a university's media studies department, in order to watch film clips in class; 2) using computer software that requires the original disks or hardware in order to run; 3) dongle-protected computer programs, if the the dongle no longer functions and a replacement cannot be found; 4) protected e-books, in order to use screen-reader software; 5) cell phone firmware that ties a phone to a specific wireless network; and 6) DRM software included on audio CDs, but only when such software creates security vulnerabilities on personal computers.
    You are allowed to unlock your cell phone no matter what Apple or AT&T think about it. They can't sue DVD Jon for breaking their bullshit attempts to control hardware that they have sold. The purchaser can do what they want with their own phone.

    Whole article is at: .html []
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You are allowed to unlock your cell phone no matter what Apple or AT&T think about it.

      What does unlocking a phone have to do with circumventing copyright protection? Surely the DMCA does not apply and it would be legal whether or not the DMCA had exemptions covering it, as long as you're not interfering with the built-in copy restriction measures of the phone?

  • Unlock?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:24AM (#19742823) Homepage
    I am much more looking forward to unlocking the iPhone so you can use it with any GSM card - including those up here in the great white north.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SpinyNorman ( 33776 )
      Even if that becomes possible, I think you'd lose the "Visual Voicemail" feature (email-like random access to voicemail messages) since they said at the launch that it required AT&T back end development, and minimally has to be closely tied to the AT&T way of retrieving voice mail messages.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Zebedeu ( 739988 )
        You're right!
        The iPhone is totally useless without this "Visual Voicemail" feature!
    • You forgot step 2... Pay $200 to get out of the contract you signed with AT&T.
      • Re:Or... Not (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:26AM (#19743413)

        Cancel within 4 days and you get the activation fee refunded; and since you are within 30 days there is no early termination fee.

        Essentially you are buying a very expensive iPod/WiFi web browser.
      • Wow, way to comment without actually reading the source material! You have, IIRC(this may also depend on the state) 14 days after signing to cancel out of a cell phone contract for whatever reason(most people do it because they get crappy service in their area) without paying a termination fee.
      • by Joebert ( 946227 )
        Are you sure ?

        Per AT&Ts terms of service: If you cancel your AT&T service within 30 days you do not have to pay an early termination fee; and if you cancel within 3 days you get a refund of your activation fee.

    • by sholden ( 12227 )
      Still gives your details to AT&T^H^H^H^HNSA for the paranoid...
  • You're saying people are already bricking their iPhones?
    • Yes. Activation = Bricking.

      Its funny some of the hippies were pissed off when it took them 24 to 36 hrs in queue for, er, bricking their phone.
  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:41AM (#19742955)
    I'm interested in a hack that allows tunring my nano into a phone. Let me know when this happens...
    • It involves an elastic band, a free cell phone from the carrier of your choice (look around. They all have at least one model that's free) and your nano..
  • Genius, so you take a phone and "unlock it" thus meaning it is no longer a phone.

  • by Elsapotk421 ( 1097205 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @09:57AM (#19743107)
    I'll take one!
  • voip (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metroplex ( 883298 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:00AM (#19743139) Homepage
    would a voip webapp be feasible? then the iphone would be pretty cool even whitout gsm functionality
  • Windows Only? (Score:3, Informative)

    by srwalter ( 39999 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @10:38AM (#19743495) Homepage Journal
    There doesn't appear to be anything windows-only about this hack. The Phone Activation Server is written on .NET. If this is anything like DVD Jon's other .NET programs, it will have no problem running under Mono in Linux. The only other part to the hack is to redirect a hostname to, which is also easily done in Linux.

    I'd be happy to verify this theory if someone wants to send me an iPhone ;)
  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:15AM (#19743811)
    My hope is that the iPhone would bring into the limelight how restrictive all mobile phone service providers are. They do nothing but restrict progress and rip off the consumer. I think they're responsible for why phones in the US market lag behind the rest of the world in terms of technology. If US consumers had access to what's available elsewhere I think people would generally be less impressed by the iPhone.

    To me the activities the US carriers engage in is just as bad if not worse than DRM. It's a big problem and unfortunately I don't see many people calling attention to it.
  • What is hard to understand is, why they thought it was sensible to tie the phone to one network. Evidently they did not need to do this to generate sales. So why did they not simply allow people to buy and register with whoever they wanted? The margins seem to be high enough, the demand was there? What was the point? In fact, would they not have sold more if they hadn't locked it to one network?

    Its true they control the customers' network choice. But why do they care which network he/she chooses? Doe
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Sprint and Verizon each use phones specifically tailored for their service. Unlocked phones that'll work with both are a rarity and never quite work well. For it to be unlocked it'd have to be GSM, which leaves AT&T and T-Mobile. Features on the phone that Apple wanted to implement were carrier dependent (visual voicemail, etc)

      Also the main reason: I'm a T-Mobile dealer that also sells unlocked phones. Both AT&T and T-Mobile want absolutely nothing to do with you if you're using an unlocked phone. T
    • by mla_anderson ( 578539 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:11PM (#19744293) Homepage

      Should be pretty obvious why they have the network lock: visual voicemail. Visual voicemail is a major change to the carrier's voicemail system, to get a network to agree to make the change Apple has to agree to the lock-in.

      For me, the visual voicemail is the big win for the iPhone, the ability to have random access to voicemail is great. The other features are pretty, but visual voicemail is what makes me drool.

      • by cuzco ( 998069 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:47PM (#19744633)
        Visual voicemail is cool but, it hardly justifies such an odius 5 year AT&T lock-in. I'd would gladly give up visual voicemail for an iPhone that could be used with any provider. Think about that. Apple can't sell an iPhone that works with any other provider FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. That's an eternity in the tech industry and in 5 years, you better believe that all other major phone manufacturers will have easily surpassed the iPhone in terms of elegance and ease of use. Apple isn't going to sit on their thumbs for the next five years but they showed other phone manufacturers how to make a simple elegant device. They gave away the store with this AT&T deal.
  • Why risk it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @03:17PM (#19746185) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be a lot simpler to just use 999-99-9999 as the SS# when signing up for AT&T, which allows you to buy a prepaid phone plan? Then you pay $30, get access to the iPhone, have no AT&T contract, and can even use it to make phone calls if the mood ever strikes you. You also don't miss out on the software updates and new features Apple has already said are coming, and someday when someone offer unlocking for $50 you can get that done as well.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.