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iPhone 3G software unlock to be released shortly

A simple software download that would let you use your iPhone 3G on any mobile carrier's network is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

The iPhone unlockers appear to have won another round, promising a simple iPhone 3G unlock in weeks.

The iPhone Dev Team is promising a software unlock for the iPhone 3G by the end of 2008.

Back in October the iPhone Dev Team signaled they were getting close to their goal, and Tuesday they announced that a software download would be available on New Year's Eve. The iPhone 3G has presented problems for those looking for a simple way to use their phone on the mobile network of their choice after Apple fixed a loophole that left the original iPhone wide open to unlockers.

There are ways to manipulate the SIM card that comes with the iPhone 3G to use it on the network of your choice, but that's not something the average person should try at home. If you want to unlock your iPhone, you'll need to have jailbroken it first, and you'll have to have heeded the iPhone Dev Team's advice to avoid the iPhone 2.2 software update without applying a special patch first.

That's because Apple might be fighting back against the unlockers using the other platform it controls: the Mac. Several reports indicate that Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.6 update prevents popular jailbreaking tools like PwnageTool and QuickPwn from recognizing iPhones connected to Macs running the latest software.

The iPhone Dev Team thinks it's just a bug, but Ars Technica seems to think Apple knew exactly what it was doing. Unlocking and jailbreaking have lost a bit of their luster with the release of the iPhone around the world and the huge response to the App Store, but there will always be some group of users who doesn't want Apple or their local carrier to dictate how they use their phones.