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August 24, 2010 / Alistair

Apple files patent to kill jailbroken iPhones

Are they laying the final mouse trap?

iPhone 4; wouldn't jailbreak it. Would you...

Steve Jobs called it a game of cat and mouse, and now it seems that Apple are preparing to lay their final trap to catch those critters known as the iPhone jailbreaking community.

The patent states:

“Jailbreaking” of an electronic device can generally refer to tampering with the device to allow a user to gain access to digital resources that are normally hidden and protected from users. “Unlocking” of a cellular phone can generally refer to removing a restriction that “locks” a cellular phone so it may only be used in specific countries or with specific network providers.

Thus, in some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected if it is determined that the electronic device is being jailbroken or unlocked. As yet another example of activities that can indicate tampering with the electronic device, an unauthorized user can be detected when a Subscriber Identity Module (“SIM”) card is removed from or replaced in the electronic device.”

In simpler terms, this means that Apple is still pissed at us jailbreaking and unlocking their baby, and it will know is a phone has been tampered with. If you’ve recently sold an unlocked iPhone to a friend, I suggest you run for the hills sooner rather than later, before their shiny new phone dies before their every eyes.

Of course, this might never happen – a lot of Apple’s patents never come to anything – but other features mentioned are interesting.

The Cupertino company plans to use the GPS and accelerometer to work out what environment the phone is in, and who’s using it. The patent even claims to record the user’s voice to ensure that the phone is being used by its owner.

On paper this all seems fair enough, but what if you lend your phone to a friend? Will it shut down? Will the Apple SWAT team kick your door down? Who knows.

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