updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri August 5, 2011
Apple may be locking down non-dev iOS 5 hardware
(Update: one possible explanation) Apple may be actively trying to curb the use of iOS 5 betas by non-developers. Allegations Friday maintain that Apple has been identifying those with developer accounts who sold off their beta device slots and closing down their accounts. Apple has flagged the UDID hardware identifiers for these devices, KarthikK says, and forces them into an initial setup mode they can't escape, bricking the hardware.
A slew of sites have emerged that sell off the slots for a fee noticeably lower than the usual $99 for the developer program. Many of these are fully aware they're breaking developer terms with the sales.
Apple explicitly bans selling or otherwise granting iOS 5 beta access to those who aren't registered developers, but it may only be focusing on people selling off accounts. It's not yet evident that Apple is targeting those who might have received a slot for free as a 'gift' from a friend.
Officially, regular users are only supposed to have access to iOS 5 in the fall.
Update: One possibility raised so far is that the 'bricked' devices may be those using the first two betas of iOS 5. Every iOS beta release has an expiry date to keep developers on the most recent code. No breakdown yet exists showing whether this has happened to anyone using beta 3 or 4, however, and it could be that the original claim is still valid. [via AppleInsider]