The Associated Press managed to talk to Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, about Apple's recent announcement that hacked or unlocked iPhones might become expensive paperweights after an upcoming software update is applied to them. (The AP also quoted our very own Erica Sadun on the topic.)
Phil says that this isn't about punishing people for unlocking their iPhones, but rather that the various iPhone unlocking apps have 'caused damage to the iPhone software' and that Apple can't be help responsible for what happens to a hacked iPhone.
I'm willing to believe that Apple isn't maliciously trying to brick iPhones that have been unlocked. It is far more probable that the update might, under certain circumstances, break your hacked iPhone and Apple doesn't want to spend the time fixing the update to play nice, and they don't want to have to pay for all the broken iPhones that may result.
That's my thought, but what say you, dear TUAW readers?