Apple says unlocking software can damage iPhone


SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. said Monday that programs available on the Internet to unlock its iPhone and enable it to work with service providers other than AT&T's Cingular network could cause irreparable damage to the device.

The maker of the Mac computer, the iPod digital music player and iTunes online store said that, once an Apple- supplied software update is installed on the iPhone, it "will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable."

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also said an iPhone that does not work anymore due to the installation the unlocking software is not covered under the device's warranty.

Apple plans to release the next iPhone software update later this week, the company said in a statement. Currently, in the United States, AT&T is the only authorized service provider for the iPhone, which went on sale at the end of June.