Apple is taking steps via the patent office to keep iPhone owners from "jailbreaking" their devices, a practice the that U.S Copyright Office declared last month to no longer be a violation of federal copyright law but one that remains a warranty breaker as far as Apple is concerned.
A CNET post over the weekend sifted through the details of the patent, which was originally filed in February 2009 but published last week. In a nutshell, the patent covers security measures that essentially protects devices from thieve and other "unauthorized users." From the CNET post:
Unauthorized users apparently applies to those who engage in jailbreaking, which allows devices to run apps not approved by the company producing the operating system--such as Apple, the main target of such bypasses.The application, which was filed in February 2009 and published Thursday, describes measures to identify "particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior," so that "safety measures" can be taken to restrict the device's functions. Those activities include the "hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking, or removal of a SIM card," according to the application. Apple also intends to send warnings to owners via e-mail or text message when such activity is detected.
Of course, I can appreciate what Apple is doing by trying to protect its customers. No one wants unauthorized charges and certainly customers want to block thieves from seeing their personal data. But why should that include jailbreaking? Who is Apple trying to protect me from? Myself?
If I want to jailbreak an iPhone so I can use it on another carrier and, as an adult, I understand the risks involved with taking that action, is it really Apple's place to stop me? After all, I own the phone. It's mine. I bought it. If I want to scrape my name into the back of it with a razor blade or paint it bright red, I should be able to do anything I want to do with it. And that includes jailbreaking.
Would I really jailbreak an iPhone? Not really. Who needs the headaches that go with that? But that's for me to decide, not Apple. Apple did its part by reminding iPhone owners that jailbreaking would void the warranty. That's where it should end.