Apple Goes Mission Impossible on Developer's iPhones

After denying countless developer applications for entrace into the iPhone Developers Program last week, Apple has begun accepting applications and allow developers to begin using iPhones to test software developed with the beta iPhone SDK. However, the good news isn't all good news. According to a new article on iPhoneAtlas, Apple has added what is, in short, a self-destruct mode to developer iPhones should a developer fail to comply with terms of the SDK.

self destruct

As part of the agreement developers make when using an iPhone for development purposes, once a phone is used for iPhone development - it must always be used for iPhone development, at least until

the new firmware (1.2) ends its development cycle and becomes an official release.

Using an iPhone for development purposes also renders the device unusable for making telephone calls. Installing the new, currently beta, 1.2 firmware disables the phone's radio. The baseband of the phone is also upgraded, so downgrading once installing 1.2 isn't an option.

Apple may continue to release updates to the beta firmware, and as mentioned above, the penalties for non-compliance are severe. According to the developer's agreement put forth by Apple,

Once you install the pre-release iPhone OS on your device... you will need to install new versions of the software from time to time throughout the beta period. Failure to install the most current version will, after a period of time, put your device in a deactivated state.

Though it may come as little surprise, the iPhone hacking community has indicated that solutions to the aforementioned restrictions exist, but have not been released. However, utilizing such hacks/patches would certainly violate the terms of the developer's agreement and doing so would clearly jeopardize a developer's good standing with Apple.