Unlockers ready for Apple iPhone face-off

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Hackers, however, were in ballsy mood, ready to leaflet punters queuing outside O2 and Carphone Warehouse outlets with unlocking deals.

Apple reckons iPhone updates will ultimately confound attempts by the trade to unlock the iPhone for the mass market. The unlocking community will have to find new hacking solutions each time new firmware is issued, it suggests, and customers that get the device unlocked will find their warranties voided and their handsets incompatible with firmware updates.

But the trade is undeterred and suggested last week that Apple’s attempts to protect its distribution exclusivity in the UK are destined to fail.

iPhone Unlock UK managing director Jody Sanders claimed his company has unlocked around 2,000 iPhones in the last two months at £70 a time. Sanders has opened an unlocking shop 600 yards from Apple’s flagship UK store, on London’s Regent Street.

“We’re unlocking 20 handsets a day on average and thus far have had no real problems overcoming the firmware Apple has updated onto the handset,” said Sanders.

“Version 1.1.2 is on the UK handsets, but it isn’t a problem to us – all you have to do is downgrade the firmware to an older version each time and, within a couple of weeks, we’re back in business.”

Faisal Sheikh, proprietor of London-based dealer and handset unlocking business Fone Doctors, said he was working on his own iPhone solution. “Since the launch of the handset, we’ve been practising our solution and it holds up. The settings in this unlocking procedure have to be spot on for the phone to be available on all networks,” he said.

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