Thursday, September 27, 2007

Help, my iPhone is a brick!

I wrote a few days ago about the upcoming software update by Apple for the iPhone. It was supposed to brick unlocked phone. Apparently, it did. This morning I started receiving emails with "DO NOT UPGRADE, IT BRICKED MY PHONE" ;-) I am amazed by how many people did not know about what was coming and now have a bricked phone... I guess they now have to pray for some hacker to save them...

On top of it, it seems the upgrade bricked also some virgin phones... The Apple support site has a bunch of people complaining that their phones are dead, despite no hacks or unlock having been performed. Apple might have overdone this one a bit...

Now, what do I take from this experience?
  1. This is the first phone on the planet that gets such a serious software update on a massive scale. It has never been so easy to add a feature to a phone. Apple has made it. It is a huge change in the mobile industry.
  2. People will be demanding software updates from every device manufacturer from now on, at least for smartphones. RIM, Palm, Microsoft... Somebody else set a new bar, you have to catch up (fast).
  3. If you upgrade a firmware and things go wrong, that's really bad. It is not acceptable to brick a phone. Your customers will yell at you... They can't call anymore. They could die in the middle of a fire because their phone is not working anymore. They will sue you and probably win. Firmware upgrade is a risky thing, but Apple went for it. In any case, it is a fact of life now.
  4. Do not hack your phone or you will be in trouble, because the manufacturer will first brick your phone, then kick you out of the store when you show up with a sad face asking for help.
  5. If you hack your phone, just hope the manufacturer will screw up the firmware update. If Apple really bricked normal phones, you might get lucky and show up in the store, and say with a angry (and straight) face "I did not hack it and the upgrade bricked it!!! I want a refund!!!!"
I should write a book about the iPhone. This developing story is just fascinating...