The iPhone unlocks are always an interesting subject, and one that Steve Jobs touched on during the UK iPhone launch press conference this week.

Describing the process as like a game of cat and mouse, Jobs stated "We try to stay ahead. People will try to break in, and it's our job to stop them breaking in".

Currently there are a few options consumers can go for to get their iPhone unlocked from AT&T, currently the only live mobile phone partner for the device.

iPhoneSIMfree's solution is available for around $50 in the States and £39.99 in the UK, while the iPhone Dev Team's step-by-step free guide is widely available online.

However, neither process guarantees the unlock to stay "open" after an iTunes initiated software update of the device meaning that Apple could undo these unlocks with a future update.

Ars Technica seems to have inside information on this possibility and is suggesting that rather than just make the phones re-locked, Apple are planning to "brick" unlocked iPhones as a lesson to hackers with their next update.

"We have reason to believe that Apple may go much further than just 'breaking' the SIM unlocks that have been released so far. One move that the cat (or is Apple the mouse?) could make in this game would be to permanently and irreparably brick unlocked iPhones when they run this month's pending software update."


"It would serve as a warning shot to potential unlockers in the future — even if crafty hackers manage to rewrite their unlock apps to get around the changes made in the update, they could always be at risk of suddenly owning a shiny $400 chunk of metal and plastic."

This planned "bricking" apparently still render iPhones useless, even in the face of software restores. Ars' advice for any unlocked iPhone users? Let someone else go first for the next available update and see what happens...