Owners of the iPhone who have unlocked their handsets so they could use carriers other than AT&T may end up with a phone that doesn't work after the company's next software update, Apple, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.
The Associated Press report said since the iPhone debuted in June, hackers have posted a number of methods online to make it possible to use the iPhone on cellular networks other than AT&T, which is the exclusive official carrier for the iPhone.
Apple executives say they have discovered that many of those unauthorized unlocking programs cause some software damage to iPhones, the report said.
Now, a software update that Apple plans to issue later this week that will add features such as accessibility to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store may end up making the touch-screen cell phone completely inoperable if it has been hacked into.
The programs, including several that can be downloaded for free, and at least one that costs $25, appear to be particularly popular with consumers in Europe, the report said.
Many Europeans have bought iPhones in the US, but Apple will not be selling them or providing service for them in Europe until November, the Associated Press report said.
As with any Apple product, hacking into the iPhone will void its warranty, Apple said. Apple has sold over a million iPhones since it hit the market June 29.