Have a hankering to unlock your iPhone 3G so you can run it on any network? You may be in luck before too long.
The iPhone Dev Team–the group of hackers who figured out how to unlock the first-generation iPhone–has cracked the iPhone’s baseband processor and can run applications on it. That’s a critical step–maybe the critical step–in figuring out how to unlock the phone, since the software that does the job will run on the baseband processor.
I’d love to have an unlocked iPhone 3G, partially for practical reasons (I’d like to be able to buy a cheap prepaid SIM when I travel internationally) and partially on the principle of the matter (when a phone is locked, it’s been intentionally crippled). And you gotta admire the technical chops of the iPhone Dev Team. But I’m not all that excited by its progress in unlocking the iPhone 3G. In the past, Apple has showed itself to be completely willing to foil people who do things to its products that it doesn’t want done. And it doesn’t want you to unlock your iPhone. So me, I’m not going to risk it.
If I lived in Hong Kong, I’d be able to buy an unlocked iPhone today. More to the point, AT&T has cheerfully unlocked multiple phones for me in the past, once I’d owned them for a few months. I’ve never heard a rational explanation as to why unlocking a Treo is no biggie, but unlocking an iPhone can only be done if hackers manage to worm their way past all the barriers that Apple puts up to prevent them from unlocking the phone.
I also don’t understand why AT&T doesn’t sell iPhones at a higher, unsubsidized contract-free price (I would have happily paid it). Nor do I understand why why rumors of a tethering plan for the iPhone remain nothing more than rumors. The weird bottom line is that the iPhone is both the most powerful phone in the world and one of the most limiting ones.
Anyhow, the iPhone Dev Team has posted a video showing off their accomplishment. And hey, here it is: