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Thursday, July 05, 2007, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

iPhone: activation hack, more iPhone patents, typing tricks

Another day of iPhone: experts and pundits alike discover how to master the iPhone's features and work around some of its AT&T restrictions.

"DVD Jon" bypasses AT&T activation process

Jon Lech Johansen, also known as "DVD Jon" for cracking the DeCSS routine that guards DVDs, has successfully fooled iTunes into giving access to the iPhone's iPod and Wi-Fi features without first registering an AT&T service plan.

The technique involves modifying hexadecimal values in the software and redirecting its requests away from an Apple server to a custom program, which convinces iTunes that the phone is ready to use.

O2 denies iPhone deal, iTunes shows T-Mobile and Vodafone

O2 has quickly denied the report by Britain's Times that it had secured a deal with Apple to be the exclusive UK carrier for the device.

"We have not signed a deal with Apple," a representative from O2 said.

In related news, coders examining the file listings of the iPhone have found two images — Default_CARRIER_TMOBILE.png and Default_CARRIER_VODAFONE.png — nestled inside the device, hinting at potential service providers for the iPhone in European countries.

No iPhone roaming for some first-time users

While Apple touts the quad-band GSM coverage of the iPhone as useful for travelers, standard policies from AT&T will prevent many who have just purchased the phone from taking it abroad. The carrier maintains a three-month "quarantine" period for all new customers that bars them from using the device outside of the AT&T network.

"[I] brought mine to Europe and now it's only a pretty expensive iPod," said one report.

Apple posts iPhone developer guide

Apple has set out the guidelines for creating web-based apps for the iPhone.

The documentation helps those new to the iPhone understand the touch interface, which standards to use, and how to link web software to calling, e-mail, and Google Maps.

NYT's Pogue reveals typing speed trick

New York Times columnist David Pogue says he has solved one of the common complaints about slow typing on the iPhone, the three-step process for adding punctuation.

By holding down the ".?123" button and dragging a finger over to the right character, an owner can type a character with only one press that snaps back instantly to the regular QWERTY layout.

Patents may lead to click wheel iPhones

Accompanying its multi-touch mouse filing, a second Apple patent filing revealed Thursday includes a claim for a "Telephone Interface for a Portable Communication Device" that would bring phone features to an iPod-style click wheel. Hearkening back to rotary phones, the invention would let a user pick numbers to dial by rotating the click wheel to select numbers from an on-screen circular list.

A second patent, "Touch pad with symbols based on mode," would change the controls of the click wheel itself so that users could tap parts of the wheel itself to compose individual numbers.