During the first six months of its release, more than two million iPhones have disappeared – or rather, they were sold, but never activated through AT&T. As we all know, these phones have been hacked to work with other networks in many different countries.
With more than two million units cracked, you can follow a lively discussion all over the Internet on the topic of hacking iPhones. For example, Apple’s own discussion board gets flooded with unhappy iPhone, besides hacking the SIM card to work with other operators, are not accepting that they cannot have any other plug-ins installed in Outlook – if they want to synchronize their calendar with their iPhone, that is. Other discussion boards are regular 1-2-3 instruction manuals in modifying your phone (and getting around that Outlook problem too, using a patch).
The interesting part is, that it is not your typical basement-stereotype hacker who actually hacks, cracks and patches the majority of these iPhones. It is people from all areas, mums and dads who crack their child’s iPhones so they can use their local operator and install third party software.
The fact that normal people are no longer accepting the terms for buying a physical product is a rather new trend, considering the scale of things. Hackers have always been modifying everything from stereos to game consoles, but in a very small scale and not in a way that struck the same chord.
This new wave of hacking is a trend that is outlining a new type of end user, the Casual Hacker. From now on, you should expect the everyday users – not only the sophisticated technical elite – to be hacking your electronic products and bending the rules you’ve set up as a manufacturer.
But remember, this isn’t a bad thing. If you are in the mobile phone business and want to stay ahead, you should embrace this outspoken need from the user groups – who will be the first to produce a real open mobile phone that can be modified by the end user? Not the typical feeble attempts at customization, but allowing for changes in the actual core of functionality?
As the casual hackers realize that the boundaries set up by the manufacturers can easily be removed, they want more. Rather than try to make your next phone an iPhone clone with a twist, you should consider the changes happening in the minds of the users, and consider the need for real open source platform that appeals to the casual users.
This will enable you to derive real value from the sociological changes the iPhone has brought about – alas not the ones that Apple had hoped for – and is an example of how to turn this new mindset of your everyday users into innovative product proposals that will get you ahead of the competition instead of lagging behind.
This is a new post from David Report contributor Frederik Andersen. Every single day, the designers and thinkers at Goodmorning Technology are busy working on the products of tomorrow for some of the world’s most interesting companies. This document is a message from the research and development facilities at Goodmorning Technology, based on the knowledge gathered from working with actual future scenarios. The statements are being publicized on select blogs and medias.