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SNAPPLE: September news review for the iPhone and the iPod

September has been a big month for the humble iPhone. Apple has weathered a storm of hacks and reactions to the unpopular price drop. Innovations, applications, ringtones and plans for European release – September’s been a very busy month for a very busy Steve Jobs and Apple team.

News in September, however, raises issues about Apple’s loyalty its customers. The unexpected price drop left Steve Jobs in hot water when customers questioned just how many of them would receive this $100 store credit.

Hacks were directly inspired by AT&T’s network monopoly on the iPhone. Rather than respond to the hacks in a constructive way, Apple updates threaten to block all hacked iPhones for good.

It’s a balancing act we have to see to believe when one wrong step by Apple could have disastrous effects on its profit margin. Despite the bad news, however, Apple continues to wow critics with its one millionth iPhone selling this month in the United States.


In late August, one tech-savvy teenager managed to hack his iPhone. This meant the iPhone could be used on any network, breaking iPhone users out of their AT&T agreements.

September saw Youtube light up with DIY iPhone hack demonstrations. Companies such as PhoneSimFree began accepting orders for hacking software. Unlocking the iPhone has been a big hit around the world. Although the iPhone has not officially been released in Australia, enthusiasts imported one from the States and hacked it for use on local networks. Hacked iPhones also became available for purchase on Ebay and other websites around the world. One particularly interesting example was found on Indiatimes-shopping.

Innovations and applications

September also saw its fair share of innovations and applications.

AT&T announced a parental lock for mobile devices. The parental lock allows adults to set a limit on how many hours or minutes their child is able to use the internet. Certain numbers can be blocked from sending or receiving messages and calls.

BMW announced the integration of iPhone connections into the 1, 3, 5, and 6 series BMWs in the US.

There were a string of new accessories for the iPhone including an adapter cable for portable speakers, home stereo systems and sound cards, Podworks compatability, headphone adapters, headsets, the Belkin sport armband, car charger, Mophie wraptor case to clean up untidy cables, and so forth.

New games were released for the iPhone include Big Bang Sudoku, Tetris and Ants - a game in which little virtual ants crawl all over your screen and will react to things you do to them, such as scaring them or squishing them.


Ringtones, or the lack of, have been a big issue for iPhone customers. The iPhone has no ability to record voice or sound and, consequently, customers had little chance of creating and using their own ringtones. A low chorus of discontent began to resound.

At Apple’s big do on 5 September, the release iTunes 7.4 was announced. This new revamped iTunes store is available for iPhone Wi-Fi. Customers were encouraged to go online and download ringtones and other iTunes music directly to their iPhone. Ringtones are priced at 99c and new ringtone application in the works will allow customers to create their very own ringtones.

Within hours of the announcement, the net was already buzzing with ideas for hacking it.

Price drop

Weathering criticisms over the iPhone’s expensive price tag, Steve Jobs announced a price drop on September 5 – from $599 to $399. Oh snap! There was an immediate reaction from early adopter iPhone customers.

Apple was not, however, ignorant of the discontent. Steve Jobs wrote an open letter to the early adopters of the iPhone, apologising and offering them a $100 Apple store credit. There seemed some confusion over which iPhone customers would receive the rebate – those who purchased the iPhone within the previous two weeks, or early adopters?

Within the week, Jobs wrote another open letter, apologising again and offering the credit to all customers who had purchased the iPhone before the price drop – including early adopters.

Despite the furore over the price drop debacle, the iPhone continued to hit more milestones. On September 10, the one millionth iPhone was sold.


Rumours ran wild on the internet in anticipation of the iPhone’s European release, everything from concerns about iPhone’s competitiveness on the Euro market to speculating which telecommunications company will run with the products.

Apple put an end to the gossip announcing a November 9 release for the iPhone in the United Kingdom and Germany. In the UK, the iPhone will retail for 269 pounds and coverage will be provided by O2 Networks. In Germany, T-mobile will carry the iPhone and it will retail at a hot 399 Euro.

The empire strikes back

In fact, everything seemed to be going quite well for Apple until the last week of September.

An official press release from Apple targeted the ongoing problem of hacked iPhones. There were simply too many hacking programs and techniques available to customers. In short, the press release explained that if you are to unlock your iPhone in any way, you may cause serious damage to your iPhone. Your phone may not work after you download the next update through iTunes. Further, you will have voided your warranty.

Customer response was immediate. Companies such as Dev Team announced the release of new software to return your iPhone to its default state. Other customers are simply refusing to update their iPhone until some resolution is made.

September ends with the release of firmware update 1.1.1, featuring access to the iTunes Wi-Fi music store, a louder speaker and receiver volume, shortcuts to phone favourites and music controls, user-friendly additions to the keypad, and so forth. 3rd party applications no longer work on the iPhone, regardless of whether or not it has been hacked.

Apple’s September has revealed that iPhone customers are not willing to be dictated to about unlocking or price drops. To maintain Apple’s squeaky clean image, some serious moves had to be made. While Apple emerges from September relatively unscathed, there are still major hurdles to overcome. With Apple’s iPhone sights firmly set abroad, more customers can only mean one thing: more problems.