Apple's hardware team can't seem to keep their close platform closed

Apple has a big headache. That headache is iPhone unlockers and jailbreakers. With iPhone jailbreaking, the powerful handsets are no longer constrained to only run the apps that Apple allows. And with unlocking, users can jump onto other networks, leaving Apple's partner AT&T and its patchy 3G network behind.

Apple has long and unsuccessfully waged war with the unlockers. It has tried to brick their iPhones. It has tried to release new firmware versions to try to lock them out. But ultimately, time and time again, Apple's best hardware and software engineers are finding themselves outwitted and befuddled by the persistent hackers.

Leading the crew is George Hotz, a 20-year-old New Jersey native who goes by the aliases geohot, million75, or mil online. When he was just a teen, he became the first to develop a procedure to jailbreak the iPhone allowing its use on other networks. The move netted him a hot car, extra iPhones, money, and fame. Now slightly older and a month out of his teenage years, Hotz continues to be among the most prolific iPhone unlockers, consistently outsmarting Apple.

Now Hotz has released his latest masterpiece, blacksn0w, a free unlocking utility that works with the latest iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS hardware (the latest 05.11.07 baseband, which locked out previous hacks). The unlock works with a new version of Hotz's popular purplera1n jailbreak hack, dubbed blackra1n. Together the hacks can both free the phone from the AT&T network and Apple's app restrictions.


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