I've stayed away from the "iPhone bricking" story, and it looks like it was a good idea not to draw too many conclusions. The entire pundit class (see Nick Carr's post on it for an example of the genre) was up in arms about how "evil Apple" was bricking phones in some kind of revenge act.
The iPhone bricking problem has been a PR disaster for Apple, making the company look punitive and obsessed with control. But Erica Sadun, a technical writer and blogger at TUAW.com who contributed to an iPhone unlocking application, said Apple's update wasn't designed to disable hacked devices. Just the opposite: Sadun thinks Apple worked hard not to brick iPhones -- even hacked ones.
The new iPhone software appears to be a ground-up rewrite, unrecognizable under the hood to the older version, which Sadun said was "very unfinished" and, in some places, "a complete hack."
Hmm - where have we heard this story before? Version one is rushed out the door, followed by a quick patch that looks a lot like a rewrite. Only for every second software product. Look at Twitter and its famous outage issues in the early days of their initial traffic spike - they were madly trying to replace the parts of their application that didn't work out. Looks like Apple did the same thing, only more quietly. The reality is, Apple has always desired stability over hackability - they are targeting consumers, not geeks.
Some people look at the easy hacks available for Windows and see nirvana. Apple looks at the same thing and sees hell.