"Apple is keeping abnormal watch on the identity of iPhones making use of online services", are the reports coming in from some hackers.

It seems that buried within the code for the Stocks and Weather widgets on the iPhone is coding that reports back to an Apple URL on what a user has looked at, as well as the device's IMEI number - the unique identifying number for each phone.

All phones have IMEI numbers but they are not usually used as an identifier in order to access individual web services, rather the network as whole.

This, and the fact that it's so far proved impossible to easily modify the info and still get any data from the widgets has led to speculation that Apple is "spying" on user's activities.

Why Apple would want to do this is open to even more speculation but targeted advertising and consumer research would be favourite, while conspiracy theorists may opt to believe it's in order to guard against unauthorised devices.

ZDNet has taken a closer look at the iPhone's terms and conditions, and before anyone protests too loudly as what could


be seen as an invasion of privacy, iPhone users will have actually agreed for this to happen:

"When you interact with Apple, we may collect personal information relevant to the situation, such as your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and contact preferences; your credit card information and information about the Apple products you own, such as their serial numbers and date of purchase; and information relating to a support or service issue."