Menlo Park, USA: A well-known hacker claims to have overcome restrictions on Apple’s iPhone, allowing highly technical users to bypass AT&T’s network to use the phone’s Internet and music features.
As of now, the iPhone, can only be used in conjunction with service providers AT&T in US states where the telecom provider runs its network. Apple has yet to reveal network operator deals in markets outside the US.
In a post dated July 3 on his blog, Jon Johansen, 23, a prolific Norwegian hacker of electronics gadgets, said “I’ve found a way to activate a brand new unactivated iPhone” without signing up for AT&T service.
“The iPhone does not have phone capability, but the iPod and Wi-Fi work. Stay tuned!” he wrote on his blog, which is combatively named “So Sue Me.”
The site contained technical details for other hackers, as well as links to software necessary to complete the process.
One potential use would be for an iPhone user living or travelling outside the US to access the iPhone’s music player and Internet service over Wi-Fi connections without using the phone.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said it was necessary to activate the iPhone on AT&T’s network to ensure optimum performance.
Using the phone without AT&T’s two-year service contract was unauthorised under the phone carrier’s exclusive network service contract with Apple, Siegel added.
“We’ll monitor situations like this and if necessary we will take appropriate action,” he said. “Our terms and conditions are very clear.”
Neither Apple nor AT&T have disclosed iPhone sales figures since it went on sale in the US on June 29, but some analysts have estimated sales of up to 7,00,000 units.
Johansen became known as DVD Jon” earlier this decade for helping to reverse engineer the code used to protect DVD movies against piracy, saying he did so in order to play them on his Linux computer.
The computer activist has engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Apple to bypass copyright controls on various Apple products, including QuickTime, iTunes and Apple TV.