Subversives working for the larger good make me happy. Therefore, I’m happy to learn that a mere week after the launch of Apple’s iPhone, hackers are busy “fixing” its flaws.
According to The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.), the most popular hack so far is targeted at the requirement that all iPhone users sign a wireless-service contract with AT&T.
Several hackers have posted on the Web step-by-step instructions on how to activate the iPhone’s Web browser and iPod without signing up for an AT&T contract. One of the hackers is Jon Lech Johansen, a Norwegian software expert who infuriated Hollywood by creating a program that allowed customers to copy DVDs onto their computers. He has also worked on ways to alter the iTunes software so songs could be downloaded to devices other than iPods.
Hackers are also busy trying to figure out how to allow for the download of unapproved applications from the Web and to use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi phone.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the company is “monitoring the situation and, if necessary, will take appropriate action to stop it.” An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Here’s an idea. Instead of “monitoring the situation” with a team of lawyers, why not see these hackers for who they really are—grassroots product developers—and move quickly to fold their improvements into the product and service offering?