Carrier Jailbreaking iPhones In-Store in China

Wireless carrier China Unicom is jailbreaking iPhones for customers inside its stores and even installing software for them. While the iPhone 4 is not yet available in China, the iPhone 3GS is and customers are eagerly lining up to have professionals help them do the sometimes daunting task of jailbreaking. Electric is reporting this story and drawing upon Chinese tech website Wei Phone as its source. Chinese not being my forte, I ran the original story through Google Translate and chuckled when Google spit out a semi-coherent story with the phrase “Prison Break!” sprinkled throughout.

As far as I can tell, this story is true. Then again, remember that news story earlier this year about Al-Queda training monkeys to fight US soldiers? The one that turned out to be completely made up but was reported on domestic 24/7 news networks as genuine? The same one that originated in China and quickly snowballed into an embarrassing incident for everyone who had the misfortune to be involved? Yeah, until I see a legitimate news crew on the ground filming customers getting their iPhone 3GS jailbroken in-store, I will reserve the right to be suspicious.

Apple is notorious for cracking the whip on its China-based suppliers and manufacturers, so why would it let a carrier jailbreak iPhones? That voids the warranty! I am all for jailbreaking and unlocking, but I certainly am uncomfortable with the idea of letting my carrier unlock my phone through a method that while legal, is unsupported by Apple.

If this story pans out and this is not just an isolated store doing this, what do you think? Should AT&T be offering to help us unlock our iPhones and install software on them at the AT&T stores? That certainly would an interesting idea. One that I would support if Apple decided to still honor warranties post-jailbreak. Let me know if you have a take on all of this.

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