Tim Cook Just Rocked My World

JonBurg
Jon Burg Senior Emerging Channels Specialist, Digitas

Posted on April 3rd 2012

Tim Cook Just Rocked My World

I had a problem.  I emailed Tim Cook.  He looks to be making it all better.  And I'm astounded.

Here's some background.

I am a big fan of Apple.  When I moved to Israel last summer I was faced with having to part with my iPhone 4 as it was restricted to AT&T.  I had paid off my early cancellation fee with AT&T and asked for an unlock but they told me I could only do this through Apple.  Apple in turn sent me back to AT&T.  I spent a collective few hours on hold with AT&T, only to learn that neither party had a viable option.  

After hours of research online I discovered the Gevey Sim solution.  It was kludgy, requiring me to physically trim my SIM card, use an alternative SIM tray and interloper chip, and requiring that I unlock my iPhone.  There was also talk of having to dial an emergency access number, but I found an app that worked around that requirement.  I've played with these unlocking tools in the past but never found them as good as the original iOS experience.  So I never stuck with any unlocks.

Left with no other option, I went for the Gevey.  I crossed my fingers, trimmed my local Israeli micro-sim, unlocked my device and a few hours of trouble shooting later everything seemed to be working properly.  At first I was reasonably satisfied.  

However, over time my phone has become increasingly dated as I could not update the firmware without fear of locking my device.  Eventually the springboard started crashing, and over time this became more frequent, resulting in a very poor user experience.  I read online about updates to a newer, more stable hacked firmware, but saving SSH blobs is above my technical skill level.  And I was sick and tired of this entire chapter.  I was so annoyed that I even began speaking with friends about switching to Android.

I also started contacting friends and friends-of-friends at AT&T and their partners to try to find a workable unlock solution.  They all seemed to hit the same dead ends I had hit.  I even spoke with a lawyer who was considering a class action to demand Apple and AT&T develop an unlock solution for off-contract phones.

But to be honest, I had thrown in the towel.  I was tired of constantly restarting my phone, and heading out on the road not knowing if my phone would remain reliable for the remainder of my trip.

Enter Tim Cook

A few weeks ago, inspired by a similar story on Techeme, I emailed Tim Cook.  I explained my predicament (omitting the unlocking) and asked for his help in finding a solution to my locked phone challenges.  

A few minutes ago I received an email from an AT&T Partnerships team asking for my account info and IMEI number.  It looks like they are unlocking my phone!  More updates to come as this story progresses.

I'm very impressed.  I have emailed a number of CEOs and Presidents in my time.  But I've never seen or heard a direct response.  Until now.

If this is the new direction Tim Cook is taking Apple in, I'm all in.

JonBurg

Jon Burg

Senior Emerging Channels Specialist, Digitas

As the Senior Emerging Channels Specialist at Digitas, a world leading digital marketing and media agency and member of the Publicis Groupe S.A, I am tasked with monitoring, tracking, analyzing, strategizing and activating against all things 2.0. Areas of particular interest include media ethnography, emerging technology, user and channel experience evolution, social media, mobile media, distributed media, gaming, the ambient web and multi-platform/multi-channel operations planning.
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