Mr. Jobs, Tear Down this Wall

The title of this post may be a trifle overstated,* but I’m nonetheless seething over this. So, yes, I just got my regular old EDGE iPhone in December, and yes, I totally love it. But yes, I saw the announcement of all the groovy new features and super-zippiness of the shiny new 3G version and drooled a little.

And then there was the part of the show when Steve told us all about the bajillion countries that the new iPhone will soon be available and usable in. And that’s the part where I blew my stack.

Because, seriously: no matter how much I dislike it, I understand AT&T having a monopoly on iPhone sales and usage within the US, and O2/Orange/whomever having those same monopolies in their countries. But if I’m spending three months a year in, say, France, and I’m paying for a full year’s contract with AT&T — i.e., paying my monthly US cell phone bill even during those times when I’m not in the US, and therefore not really using it — why on earth shouldn’t I be able to get a pay-as-you-go iPhone SIM card from Orange and use it in my very own iPhone during those three months? I’m not trying to get out of my AT&T contract for those three months, not trying to pull a fast one and use another US carrier, or a French carrier that hasn’t contracted to provide service for the iPhone. All I want is to pay a reasonable rate for the full suite of services available to the piece of technology I have paid for.

This I’ll tell you, though: what the people can’t get legally, they’ll get on the black market. Not that I would know anything about that. I’m just saying.

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* Not to mention how appalled I am that I’m quoting Ronald Reagan. But honestly, whatever ’80s style US foreign policy may or may not have brought to the Eastern bloc, libertarian hackers are damn well going to bring to those trapped behind the wall of AT&T. Information wants to be free, man.

4 thoughts on “Mr. Jobs, Tear Down this Wall

  1. The tools to unlock your iPhone are just ‘point & click’ now. That should get you through most worries. You should be able to swap into a EU SIM, then do restore afterwards. Just don’t do any software updates until you undo the lock.

  2. Yeah, a, uh, friend of mine may or may not have done something pretty much exactly like that. All’s I’m saying is that, well, my friend shouldn’t have to go about it in such a hinky, warranty-voiding, potential-brick-making way.

    Which is to say that the fury I feel is not about helplessness, but about injustice. There.

  3. When you buy the 3G iphone, do it in Italy. You’ll be able to buy it unlocked there, I think (a few European countries seem to require an unlocked version). It’ll be significantly more expensive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t work perfectly with AT&T, but it should allow you to plug in a pay as you go SIM.

    And yeah, in the mean time, there are Methods of getting the functionality you’re looking for. As you seem to know, in a hypothetical way.

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