Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
"Bricking" is a term for an update or modification that turns a previously useful portable device into an inoperable one - rendering it nothing more than an expensive "brick" of electronics and plastic.
iPhone users who had unlocked their phones to run on networks other than AT&T or otherwise customized their iPhones beyond what Apple considered appropriate were in for a rude surprise this week as the latest firmware update turned their $600 toys into $600 bricks. As I understand it, the bricking might be reversible and might even be avoidable if you "un-hack" your iPhone before applying the update, but in either case you're left with either a brick or a "standard", unaltered iPhone.
All this really comes down to a topic that's been quite popular lately, though more in relation to Microsoft than Apple.
Just who's computer is it, anyway?
And is this a computer?
Apple appears to want to completely control what is allowed to run on the iPhone. And in all honesty, they certainly have that right. Let's face it, if we didn't know it was a programmable device people would likely accept it as is without question. It's totally within Apple's rights to lock it down as tight as they want and let the market decide whether that was an appropriate choice.
The problem is that people do notice that an iPhone, like most portable phones these days, is more general purpose computer than it is actual phone. In fact they do much more than notice; they expect the device to be programmable like a more general purpose computer.
They expect the device to be open.
Now, honestly I have a hard time understanding Apple's position on this one. It seems to me that to step on your most advanced, most supportive users and tell them that they can't make your device more useful to more people is just ... well, it's just inexplicable. I don't get it. Selling the iPhone as an open platform (or at least a more open platform) seems like it would only increase acceptance.
The iPhone is a very nice device with some incredibly cool innovations and features.
But Apple's taking the "i" out of the iPhone. They made it clear that it's not my phone at all. It's theirs.
And that's too bad. It's more than an opportunity lost, it's a disappointment to those of us who really understand its potential and want to see the product succeed.
But as it stands, no, I'm still not getting an iPhone.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11869 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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