Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To Hack Or Not To Hack....That Is The Question.

Well its been 47 days since my last post...And there is still nothing to report...Nada....Bubkus.....Rogers is quiet as a church mouse...And don't get me started on the BestBuy fiasco...The only news I can report is that Europe is about to get its iPhone. T-Mobile will carry it in Germany, Orange in France and O2 in Britain.  As for Canada, Rogers and Apple are eerily silent....nothing but tumble weeds blowing in the sage brush. Since the romance between Rogers and Apple has fizzled I am starting to think that a shot gun marriage is in order.  In the last week it has been reported in the news and all of the tech blogs that no less than 3 hacks have been discovered to unlock the iPhone. The first one to be reported was by a 17 year old kid on his summer vacation. He unlocked the iPhone using software and hardware manipulation to get his iPhone working with T-Mobile instead of AT&T. A neat stunt but when I hear the words "soldering." I "shuddered". I still remember my last attempts of soldering in an electronics class in High School. I soldered my circuit board to my desk...So I will not be opting for that hack. But no less than 2 hours after reading about the iPhone Wunder-Kid, I heard from my friend that there was a website up called iPhone-Sim-Free claiming they had a software only hack to unlock the iPhone. And then Engadget posted a video using the software to unlock one of their phones. Sure enough the hack works. There on the iPhone was the word "T-Mobile" and the word was good. Then the next day the company Uniquephones, who unlock phones as a business, also claimed to have a software hack to unlock the iPhone. Their claim was taken very seriously by AT&T who promptly threatened legal action against Uniquephones
So what does all of this unlocking do with me getting an iPhone?  Well it may be the only way for a Canadian to get their hands on an iPhone in the foreseeable future. If I was in Europe or Asia I might play the waiting game but I'm thinking Rogers will not budge on its data rates and Apple probably does not think Canada is a big enough of a market to bother with for some time. 
But there are still some land-minds ahead if I decide to go the "unlock the iPhone with a hack" route. 
1. Legality. Can I unlock the iPhone legally? Some say yes some say no. This is one for the Lawyers.  I'm not too concerned about this one but it would be nice to be on the right side of the law...for once.
2. Warranty. If its a "firmware" hack, even if its only software, it pretty much voids my warranty...and on a product as complex as an iPhone that's not a good thing to happen. I would be chewed, stewed and barbecued out of luck if the phone stops working.
3. Firmware Updates. Apple could come along and send an update which would "brick" my iPhone. The people at iPhone-Sim-Free say that their software is Firmware safe but I doubt it. More likely it would be an on going cat and mouse game between Apple and them to keeping the phone unlocked.
4.Rogers Data Rates. Nothing has changed with Rogers. Their data rates still suck. No unlimited data rates for me. I would have to be very careful to use WiFi and not Edge while I was surfing the web and checking email. As for YouTube it would cost me about $200 to watch 1 video on Rogers data plan.....crazy.

Well what to do? Do I go for it and hope that the unlock software is easy to implement, firmware resistant, and carefully tiptoe my way around Rogers data plans or wait....and wait....and wait for Rogers and Apple to get their act together.......I will have to think on it. If any Canadains out there goes for it I would love to hear how it went. Email me at leo_eddy@telus.net.