News In Brief

Apple patent targets ‘jailbreakers’ with kill switch, how does that make you feel?

Jeremy Hobson Aug 23, 2010
News In Brief

Apple patent targets ‘jailbreakers’ with kill switch, how does that make you feel?

Jeremy Hobson Aug 23, 2010

How far does Apple have to go to turn you off?

That’s a question that came to mind as I reported a story for tomorrow’s Marketplace Morning Report about technology Apple is developing that would allow it to identify rogue iPhone users by remotely taking their pictures with the on-board camera, recording their voice, and even monitoring their heartbeat. If unauthorized use is suspected, Apple could restrict access or even delete information on the phone.

As you might imagine the story is getting a lot of coverage in the tech press this week after it was revealed that the Cupertino, Calif., tech company filed a patent application for “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device.” You can read the entire patent application on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent primarily targets “hacked, jailbroken, or unlocked” devices, according to the filing. But I couldn’t help but wonder if Apple would pay a price for this with consumers. Could they be turned off by Apple’s insistence on such tight control over its products – even after it’s been purchased by a customer?

Here was tech analyst Rob Enderle’s answer: “I think Apple can get away with more than any other company could possibly get away with in this regard, just because of the nature of the fact that they are Apple.”

So here’s my question to you: Does Apple’s patent application cross the line? Would you buy a competitor’s device because of this? Or do you think Apple is right going to these lengths to battle jail-breakers?

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