Friday, November 2, 2007

Post-1.1.1 iPhone status

Things change.  In this case, an adventurous upgrade to 1.1.1 resulted in a bricking of the iPhone, although most user experience indicated that it would leave a usable (but application-free) phone as long as the SIM wasn't unlocked.  Apparently one of the applications touched the third rail and what remained was a $599 art piece.  

Let's define "brick."  A brieked iPhone is not completely nonfunctional.  A bricked iPhone is actually an iPhone with its function set stripped down from at least a dozen to only two functions:  an entry screen that times out (and features a photo of the earth, a lovely planet while it lasts), and a slider that sends you to "Emergency Call."  Emergency Call is the second screen, with a 12-key touchpad and a "call" button that I haven't had the courage to press.  But you can enter digits, and erase them, and enter more.  Eeyore and the Useful Pot, putting digits in and taking them out again.  

The reliability of operation in this mode is evidence to me that this was a deliberate choice by Apple, not the accidental damage their PR implied.  It always works perfectly, just with many fewer functions.   That's not consistent with "we don't know what may happen," which usually yields flickering pixels, dead screens, clicking speakers, or just permanent, irreversible silence.  I usually don't have much problem with Apple's positions on things, but this bit of spurious pomposity, this seemingly deliberate vandalism, is beneath them.  I hope that the decision process by which it was allowed to occur is corrected and not allowed to repeat.

But, anyway:  it's still useful for showing people.  I took this elegant monolith to Denmark, and the amount of interest, even with almost nothing working, was surprising.  They were trying to hold it, playing with those digits, talking about everything they could see and feel. 

Since this happened, there has been a lot of progress with unbrickers, and I've got it back to a reasonably working state.  It no longer syncs reliably with the PowerBook, which has always had dodgy USB interoperability even with my old iPod, but it does sync with a Mac Mini, so I think this is most likely an issue with the laptop.  

Time to move to the next phase in the master plan...

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