The Norwegian hacker popularly referred to as DVD Jon claims to have unlocked part of the activation process on Apple's iPhone.
Jon Lech Johansen, as he is otherwise known, posted a small software utility on his blog that edits code within the iPhone's system software.
By running the hack, Johansen said that iPhone owners can activate the Wi-Fi and iPod capabilities on the phone without needing to sign up to AT&T's mobile service. The phone services on the device will not be available, however.
Users would normally need to sign up for a two-year contract with AT&T before being able to use any of the iPhone's non-mobile features, such as the iTunes player or the Safari web browser.
AT&T currently has a five-year deal to be the exclusive US service provider for the iPhone.
Several users have posted comments to the blog verifying that the utility works. Johansen warned that the hack is not for novice users because it requires using a hex editor to manually alter code in iTunes.
The iPhone Dev Wiki, a project dedicated to researching and unlocking the device, has posted several alternative methods for activating the iPhone.
The group noted that registering the iPhone and then cancelling the plan, using the phone number or Sim card from an existing iPhone, or deliberately failing the AT&T credit check, will yield the same results as Johansen's hack.
Johansen's efforts to unlock the activation process are part of a much larger effort to break the protections on the iPhone.
Other researchers are attempting to install third-party software and connect the device to other mobile operators.
Apple did not return a request for comment.
'DVD Jon' cracks iPhone activation
By Shaun Nichols on Jul 10, 2007 3:23AM