With the release of Apple's iPhone, the basic cell phone has become obsolete. Cell phones are no longer reserved for making phone calls; now, they are mp3 players, movie screens, internet browsers, address books and video game systems all built into one. The iPhone is no exception. In fact, it challenges every other cell phone manufacturer to turn up the technology. However, the release of the iPhone was not without complaints. While most consumers love their iPods and want nothing more than to be able to join the power of an iPod with the practicality of a cell phone, the original iPhone package included a little extra baggage.
Aside from additional charges and hidden requirements, the iPhone was locked to a single provider. AT&T owned the exclusive rights to the iPhone, meaning it could only operate on AT&T networks. Purchasing an iPhone was meaningless unless the consumer also signed a contract with AT&T, a contract which included multiple years and multiple clauses. However, with the release of the iPhone came the fight to unlock iPhone services for all. Hackers around the world worked day and night to free the iPhone from AT&T; to unlock iPhone capabilities for other providers meant to give the consumer choice in who he or she contracted with. Thanks to these hackers, the popularity of the iPhone soared where otherwise it would have faltered.
Fun without Boundaries
While the iPhone sold out of most stores the first day of release, many buyers were unaware of AT&T's exclusive rights. They were oblivious to their own inability to use their new media devices with any cell phone company. They were also unaware of exactly how expensive monthly charges would be when AT&T could charge whatever they wanted. In a sense, AT&T held a monopoly on iPhone usage, until hackers decided to take matters into their own hands and unlock iPhone usage. Interestingly enough, when they succeeded, the iPhone's popularity increased; many apprehensive consumers were swayed to purchase the device once they realized their hands were no longer tied. Consumers desire freedom, and the freedom to choose a cell phone company became the deciding factor in a lot of later iPhone purchases.
To unlock iPhone usage meant for some people the ability to actually use the iPhone; individuals already signed up with a multiple year contract with another cell phone provider would be unable to use an iPhone unless they broke their contracts. When the iPhone was unlocked, anyone could use it with their current contracts without having to pay penalties or take out secondary agreements. Interestingly enough, the race to unlock iPhone capabilities could have been finished sooner if hackers did not compete against each other; however, each hacker wanted the fame, and competition ended up delaying the completion of the project.