Jailbreaking in the iPhone 3.0 era

Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 firmware unlocked many capabilities, but users seek more from their iPhones through jailbroken apps

But if high-profile defections such as Rogue's threaten to undermine the breadth or quality of apps on offer at the App Store, Jay Freeman's Cydia store for jailbreak-iPhone apps continues to point the way forward. His Cydia Installer remains an organizing tool for frustrated developer creativity, linking to app repositories that have proved to be useful crystal balls for predicting future Apple iPhone OS enhancements.

"I definitely believe [Apple's] decisions increase the demand for Cydia: Developers want to be able to improve on the base platform, and Apple doesn't let them even come close to that," says Freeman.

Of the jailbreak iPhone apps we listed last year, more than half still can't be implemented on all native iPhones. Still thriving in Cydia, these apps and several new offerings show promise as future Apple enhancement prototypes. (See "21 apps Apple doesn't want on your iPhone 3.0").

Recent jailbreak apps of note include those that streamline background task management, such as Multifl0w, which helps users switch between multitasking apps in a way similar to how app switching is performed on Android handsets. Another popular category is personal Wi-Fi hotspot creation, as illustrated by MyWi. Several apps, such as QuickReply, exploit background processing to let users pop out of an app to, for example, reply to a message, then return to where they left off.

Security has become an important issue for iPhone users, both due to demonstrated vulnerabilities inadvertently created during jailbreaking and as a result of privacy liberties taken by traditional app vendors, such as Facebook. Firewall iP is an app that addresses this interest; it helps users stay in control of their data by alerting them to any unusual outbound data transmissions.

Apple iPhone sales -- and jailbreaking -- to continue Despite numerous "end of jailbreaking" scares, the iPhone DevTeam and compatriots have so far always succeeded in sawing through any bars and locks Apple adds with each new OS release. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these users are non-AT&T subscribers, which add to Apple's bottom line, to AT&T's chagrin.

The jailbreaking phenomenon also likely presages a similar movement in the nascent Apple iPad community. The iPad, what many see effectively as a giant iPod Touch, runs iPhone apps natively and may also be crackable by iPhone escape artists.

It's safe to say that as long as Apple maintains its heavy-handed grip on "authorized" iPhone developers, jailbroken phones, and app stores such as Cydia, will continue to thrive, even after the iPad arrives.

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Tags iPhoneiphone 3.0jailbreaking

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Mel Beckman

InfoWorld
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