In the recent months, we've seen reports here and there of iPhones getting stuck in a restart loop. The black screen with the Apple logo shows up, holds for a while, and then disappears again; repeat ad infinitum. While it's not clear yet exactly what's triggering the issue (the complainants suspect that it may be a recent application update to blame), there is a tried and true way to get your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or older iPod back to square one: either use recovery mode or do a DFU restore.
DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode is a means to getting your iPhone to interface with iTunes without iTunes automatically loading the latest version of iOS onto it (it skips the iBoot bootloader, for jailbreak aficionados). Differing from recovery mode -- where iTunes restores your iPhone to its original factory settings but with the latest iOS and firmware -- DFU mode allows you to change and choose the firmware you want to install onto your iPhone. For instance, you would use DFU mode if you want to install a previous version of iOS, jailbreak your iPhone or unlock your SIM. If (for whatever reason) standard recovery isn't working for you to get your device back to working condition, DFU may help you out.