Apple took a lot of heat for bricking modded iPhones. And, rightly so? Yes, that is a question. As Apple continues to partner with other companies in order to do business (The majors for movie rentals, Google, ATT et. al.), it becomes more and more difficult to understand the source of certain decisions.
Did Apple purposely brick iPhones? Was it inadvertent? Did ATT dictate that to Apple? We will never know. One would hope that mature corporations such as Apple and ATT would have the foresight to understand the negative press associated with such a decision. But, stranger things have happened. When it comes to Apple, they are FAR to tight lipped for any of us to ever expect an answer about this.
As of now, Apple has redeemed itself with this update. How big of a PR hit did Apple take with regard to the original updates that bricked the iPhone? Well, I read a TON of negative press about it. Lots of pros and cons. But during that time, Apple stock continued to climb.
It's interesting to see how much a company can screw up while it's in Wall Street's good graces and still thrive. At the end of the day, I have to blame Apple for the bricking. It's their phone product. Good or bad, they are the ones that will get the credit or the derision.