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Why unlocking the iPhone is a waste of time

Gadget blogs are atwitter over a new application that helps unlock the iPhone 3G. But unlocking the device no longer makes much sense, says Don Reisinger.

Is it really necessary to unlock me? James Martin/CNET Networks

Gadget blogs were going crazy Thursday over a new application called Yellowsn0w that helps iPhone 3G owners unlock their device. The app is still in beta and, according to both Crunchgear and Gizmodo, neither one was able to get it to work properly.

I'm not quite sure why anyone cares. Sure, it's nice to say you unlocked a device that's not meant to be unlocked, but it just made so much more sense to me last year when the iPhone didn't have native apps. Today, browsing is faster thanks to 3G, more capable thanks to additional business features, and more useful thanks to the App Store. What possible reason would people have to unlock it now?

AT&T, right? I don't buy the logic. I'm not going to say AT&T is a great carrier--it isn't--but given the option of switching to T-Mobile, a carrier that offers even less service across the country or staying put, I don't see the logic in unlocking the iPhone and changing carriers. After all, if you were really unhappy with AT&T in the first place, why buy the iPhone?

I'm sure others would say that the reason they want to unlock the iPhone is so they can put so-called "banned" apps on their device that Apple has decided to boot from its App Store. Maybe that's enough to justify it for some, but how many "banned" apps are really worth installing on the iPhone? A handful, at best?

Look, I'm all for getting the most out of technology and, just like the next person, hate when a device is locked down, but I simply don't see any reason to waste my time unlocking the iPhone when what I'm really getting out of it is a downgrade. T-Mobile? A couple more apps?

Big deal.

Am I happy with AT&T and does the iPhone satisfy my every desire? No. But when I consider the alternative--unlocking it--I don't see any reason why I would change anything.

You can say that Apple pulled one over on me, but I think the iPhone, for all its faults and problems, is perfectly fine locked-down. If you ask me, unlocking is a waste of time.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed.