The company said in a statement on Monday that it has found "irreparable damage" caused to the phone's software by many of the unlocking tools currently available.
When new updates are installed, the iPhone could be rendered "permanently inoperable".
The iPhone will also be unfixable, as the company pointed out that unlocking the iPhone is a violation of the licensing agreement and voids the warranty.
Previous updates have told users with modified iPhones that the device was damaged and needed to be reformatted. An Apple spokesperson told vnunet.com that this update will render even that option unusable.
Apple executives have said that the company does not purposely design updates to disable or damage hacked iPhones, but warned that it would not accept any responsibility if its updates damaged phones with third-party software.
Currently, the Safari browser engine is the only supported method for developers to code for the iPhone.
The company expects to issue its next iPhone software update sometime this week which will include software to support the iTunes Wi-Fi store.
Software updates for the iPhone are checked for each time the device is docked. Users are then notified of the update and given the choice of whether to install it or not.
The unlocking tools remove the access restrictions on the iPhone in a process known as 'jailbreaking'.
This allows users to add their own software and modify the device. Uses range from installing third party applications to allowing the device to accept SIM cards from other phone carriers.
Apple issues dire warning on iPhone hacks
By Shaun Nichols on Sep 26, 2007 10:17AM