If you’re thinking about updating your iPhone to the latest iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware, you might want to note that the update will essentially stop you from unlocking your iPhone for use on GSM networks that aren’t your official iPhone carrier. The iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware comes bundled with a new baseband firmware version (05.12.01) that makes it impossible to unlock the iPhone to use on, say, the T-Mobile USA network. We’re telling you this because we’re a bit surprised by new stats from Medialets that indicates that 14% of iPhone users have updated their iPhones to the new iPhone OS 3.1.3 since last week.
The baseband modem is the piece of technology that allows your iPhone to communicate with wireless networks like AT&T and T-Mobile. It’s this baseband modem’s firmware that controls whether or not you’re allowed to surf multiple GSM networks, or just the one that sold you your iPhone. The thing is, there are hacks out there that will unlock almost all versions of the baseband, but none of them work on this latest version. Even the latest iPhone hacking utility, PwnageTool, won’t be able to hack this new baseband to work with unlocking utilities like blacksn0w or ultrasn0w.
Medialets also mentions that 87% of those that updated to iPhone OS 3.1.3 came from the previous iPhone OS 3.1.2 firmware. The only real benefits of the new iPhone OS are it’s less buggy batter meter and better support for third-party apps that were reportedly crashing with 3.1.2. Considering that most people probably don’t need the iPhone OS 3.1.3, we thought it was only right that we let you know what you’re losing by updating your iPhone.
In the end, if you don’t travel or could care less about using your iPhone on other GSM networks, just ignore this post. This concludes our Public Service Announcement. You’ll now be returned to your regularly scheduled programming.