You really have to wonder what they're thinking down at #1 Infinite Loop these days. Let's review:
- King Steve and his merry men ship what is undoubtedly the hit phone of the year in iPhone. Breathless anticipation, glitzy rollout, and the star power of Steve Jobs himself all conspire to make the launch a huge success.
- Customers love it so much that they pay full pop for it, and then unlock it to work on the cell phone network of their choice. Aside from Nokia, not many cell phone manufacturers are able to get full price for their phones in North America – especially $500 cell phones. It's a remarkable achievement.
- Without so much as an SDK to help, a thriving community of third party developers emerge, who start to build all kinds of software for this new "internet on the go" device. Apple officially says "We don't support third parties, but we're not going to go out of our way to break their applications either". Developers forge ahead anyway. The Loopers later modify that statement to "updates will likely break the apps".
- Four days before the 1.11 update goes out, Apple makes a statement that all hacked iPhones will be rendered inoperable by the update.
- Starting September 27th, reports of bricked iPhones start to roll in.
The Infinite Loopers are trying to replicate the success they had with iPod. By tying it to iTunes they built themselves a tasty backend revenue stream from services. They must have been asleep at the wheel on iPhone, however. While getting in bed with the cellular industry and its hated contracts and locked phones was certainly a means to build another backend revenue stream, casually bricking loyal customers' phones shows an unexpected degree of arrogance. The backlash is likely to be extreme.