A team of hackers attempting to unlock Apple Inc.'s iPhone for use with GSM-based wireless carriers other than AT&T appear to have finally succeeded in their efforts, and last night began distributing their solution as a free download via several websites.
Dubbed "iUnlock," the SIM unlocking tool represents the fruits of a multi-month effort on the part of the unofficial "iPhone Dev Team" -- a community of independent contributors who've banded together to discover and develop additional uses for the inaugural Apple handset.
Unlike commercial efforts from groups such as iPhoneSIMfree and UniquePhones, iUnlock was released Tuesday evening as a free download, and has since begun to spread rapidly across the web. Several iPhone owners and members of Apple online communities claim to have tested and verified the solution as genuine.
In its current state, however, the iUnlock solution is not for the technically-challeneged or faint-of-heart. It requires a "jailbroken" iPhone, rudimentary knowledge of using a unix terminal, experience with SFTP and some patience. Some tutorials on how to apply the hack have also begun to crop up, but they're currently rough around the edges.
Several more user-friendly installation guides are believed to be under development at the present time, as is a version of iUnlock that will be based around an installer for the less technical savvy.
Unlocking mobile phones for one's own use, for instance to place calls with a different carrier, appears to be legal under an exemption of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, the same may not be true for the specific steps taken by the iPhone Dev Team's unlocking solution, which has not been scrutinized in that regard.
Because the iPhone is GSM-based, U.S. consumers who unlock the phone will be limited in their alternative wireless carrier choices to just T-Mobile, the only other national GSM-based service provider outside of AT&T. Internationally, however, the unlocking solution would seem more compelling due to the proliferation of GSM-based networks and carriers overseas.
AppleInsider assumes no responsibility for any damage or legal issues caused by readers who install iUnlock, and is providing links to the downloadable files and associated tutorials strictly for information purposes. AppleInsider is also not linking directly to the iPhone Dev Team's wiki site in this article per its request that publications refrain from doing so out of server stability concerns. Readers can find the website easily by searching Google.
-Giz Mirror (Associated Report)