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By Carl Howe

Rainer Brockerhoff has an excellent description of the obstacles and complexities of doing any sophisticated software update on the iPhone. His conclusion: Apple didn't intend to disable all old software, but they did need a known starting and ending point for the upgrade to work.

Those who imagine Apple conspiring against third party developers should try writing software that does in-place updates on a three-processor embedded system.

My own experience working on parallel processor operating systems says that multiprocessor software is always an order of magnitude tougher to get right; we shouldn't be surprised that Apple was conservative about how it went about it.

Source: iPhone Update: Good Description of Apple's Challenges