According to ARS TECHNICA Apple Computer has"applied for a patent on a method to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized users of a particular iOS device. Once an unauthorized user is detected, the device can then automatically disable certain features or send notifications to Twitter or other services.
I can see where it would be helpful to disable a stolen phone.
Some of those who comment on ARS suggest it could be a way for Apple to disable unlocked or "jailbroken" iPhones, although a US Court has ruled that jailbreaking phones is not illegal activity. Apple could bypass the ruling by defining jailbreaking and/or unlocking as "suspicious behavior." This is actually stated in the patent application. It could be made part of the Software User Agreement. If you don't agree, then your iPhone won't even start up.
Steve Jobs is now a multi-billionaire, and his peers own things like AT&T, Telcel, and major recording and film companies. These are the people he cuts his deals with... if Carlos Slim (Telcel owner and world's richest man) wants Mexico's iPhones only to sell through Telcel, then the unlocked and jailbroken phones have to stop working. Of course, that's a big IF and purely speculative. But the lust for power and unbridled greed have no boundaries.
Jobs is now part of the network of filthy rich guys.
On the lighter side of the argument, one commenter writes: "Apple should buy into cattle prod technology. If somebody steals my phone, i want the battery drained into the the person using it. I want them to flop on the ground like a seizing trout. Maybe it can detect a lack of heartbeat and stop the discharge to conserve enough battery to upload its current location."
Maybe we'll get to see that on YOUTUBE in the next few years, if Big Brother lets us.