Apple is to introduce new firmware to prevent UK iPhone users from unlocking the device and installing of third-party applications.

The company will make another move against iPhone hackers when it launches the product in the UK this week.

A report claims the device will ship with a new version of the installed firmware, version 1.1.2, installed. This new version disables the so-called "TIFF exploit," used by many to jailbreak iPhone for the installation of additional applications.

The move means new UK users won't be able to add unauthorised applications to the device, and the update will be pumped into existing iPhones in the US also.

Ignoring the update is less of an option for users in the UK with an O2 iPhone, as it also enables the device's free access to The Cloud network of wireless hotspots for Internet access over Wi-Fi.

The update also seems set to prevent hackers unlocking the device for use on other networks.

Apple will release a software development kit that lets application-makers create approved software for the iPhone in February, the company has said.

IDC analyst, Chris Hazelton, expects Apple will take a slice of revenue raised through official iPhone application sales, predicting software will be made available for sale through the iTunes store.

"Apple will continue to own the customers," he said.