iPhone or die hard

Apple sold between 300,000 and 700,000 units in its first week

The dust has settled, the news crews filming the crowds camped on the sidewalks outside Apple Stores have gone home, the iOrgy is over. And now it's time for the body count.

Apple sold between 300,000 and 700,000 units over the weekend, depending on whose guesstimates you believe. And though the predicted shortages did not come to pass, iPhones are still being hawked by eBayers -- including one optimistic auctioneer from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, who's hoping to unload his for US$230,967.41. (You get the feeling they don't get out much in Buffalo Grove?)

Once the Appleheads had the dingus in hand, however, things weren't quite so peachy. Activating the handsets proved to be a pain in the AT&T. Maybe partnering with one of the nation's most poorly rated cell providers wasn't such a brilliant move.

One crowd that's clearly happy with their iPhones are hackers, who in a handful of days have managed to gain entry to the handset's file system, uncovered system level passwords, and found a security flaw in the phone's Safari browser (natch) that would allow remote code to execute on the gizmo. (But even with all that, the geeks at Errata Security say the iPhone is still more secure than phones based on Windows Mobile or Symbian.)

Since I've been in a sloganeering frame of mind lately, how about a new tagline for Apple?

Hard to get, harder to activate, easy to hack: the iPhone.

Or better yet: Think Dangerous

In a quasi-related note, I just saw "Live Free or Die Hard," also known as "Bruce Willis saves the world while breaking every bone he hasn't already broken in the three previous Die Hards." When Willis isn't busting something vital, hacker sidekick Justin Long (the Mac guy from those snarky Apple commercials) works his way through a variety of handheld gizmos -- a Treo, a Palm, and a Sidekick, among others. (That's how it looked from the cheap seats, anyway.)

This raises the obvious question: How long before we see a computer caper film featuring the iPhone as a weapon of mass destruction?

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Robert X. Cringely

InfoWorld

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