Future Reprogrammable iPhones Might Have Been Canceled Due To Carrier Revolt

Future Reprogrammable iPhones Might Have Been Canceled Due To Carrier Revolt

Apple’s intentions to bake reprogrammable SIM modules into future devices may have been killed off, thanks to the carrier revolt we reported on Friday.

First revealed back in late October, Apple’s new reprogrammable modules would allow iPhones to be easily reprogrammed to run on many different networks by downloading a file either wirelessly or through iTunes that would pass on new network instructions to the handset.

It was a bold plan, in that — if actualized — it threatened to end carrier subsidies (and thus exclusives) on future iPhones. Any iPhone would be useable on any network that supported it without a jailbreak. It was a largely pro-consumer move that would have largely cut out the operators: anyone who wanted to buy an unlocked iPhone could do so directly from Apple without having to sign up for a new two year contract.

According to the Telegraph, carriers have fought back hard over the plan, and with good reason: the iPhone is the most popular phone on Earth, and no longer being able to use the yearly release of a new iPhone model as an excuse to lock-in customers for an additional two years’ contract (not to mention upgrade fees) must have been a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

If this is true, it’s a sad battle for Apple have lost: at the end of the day, using your iPhone on any network you choose is the best thing for you as a consumer, even if it comes at the expense of higher initial handset costs. The carriers must have put up a united front against Cupertino’s plans, fearing that other handset manufacturers would also follow Apple’s lead. They were probably right to be petrified.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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