iPhone owners who have used unauthorized programs to unlock the cellular service feature of their handsets may end up with a phone that does not work after the company's next software update for it.
Since the iPhone debuted in June, hackers have posted a number of methods online to make it possible to use the iPhone on cellular networks other than AT&T, which is the exclusive official carrier for the iPhone.
Apple executives say they have discovered that many of those unauthorized unlocking programs cause some software damage to iPhones. A software update that Apple plans to issue later this week that will add features such as accessibility to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store may end up making the touch-screen cell phone inoperable if it has been hacked into.
"This has nothing to do with proactively disabling a phone that is unlocked or hacked," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in an interview. "It's unfortunate that some of these programs have caused damage to the iPhone software, but Apple cannot be responsible for ... those consequences."
As with any Apple product, hacking into the iPhone will void its warranty, Apple said.
Apple has sold more than a million iPhones since it hit the market June 29.