In a press release issues yesterday, Apple warns users that using software to unlock the iPhone will result in the device becoming inoperable. Not because the software itself has flaws, but because Apple’s next firmware update is meant to do so:

Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.

Apple strongly discourages users from installing unauthorized unlocking programs on their iPhones. Users who make unauthorized modifications to the software on their iPhone violate their iPhone software license agreement and void their warranty. The permanent inability to use an iPhone due to installing unlocking software is not covered under the iPhone’s warranty.”

The announcement was to be expected and it only serves to mark the beginning of the cat and mouse game: Apple will release a new firmware and hackers will follow with version of their own, which will terminate any attempt of turning the phone into paperweight.

In the end, one question still remains: why did Apple choose to the “exclusive” road and go through all this trouble instead of offering a device that would work on any network?