Hackers give Apple the finger: iPhone, iPod touch v1.1.1 jailbroken, apps ported and running
Engadget is reporting that the iPhone and iPod touch v1.1.1 (the latest firmware update that bricked certain customer's phones) has been jailbroken and that homebrew apps have been ported and confirmed to run on it.
This is a wonderful development for any iPhone owner who wants to run homebrew apps on their device. (Apple, on the other hand, don't want you to run any software that's not made by them on
their your iPhone.)
I completely understand that Apple have to protect their exclusive deal with AT&T and disable _unlocking_ exploits (and that's fair enough, although their decision to go with a single carrier in the first place is anything but commendable) but their stance towards 3rd party applications, nearly all of which are free or open source efforts of the development community, is baffling to me. Think different, indeed! Not even Microsoft would pull such a stunt (you can install whatever applications you want to on your Windows Mobile phones and the same goes for other phones like the ones that run Nokia's Symbian operating system). It is probably fair to say that Apple has created the most closed mobile phone in recent history with the iPhone and is making a colossal mistake by battling its own development community.
All this also brings up the debate over ownership. When you buy something, do you actually own it? If you own it, then shouldn't you be able to do anything you want with it? Although the answer appears to be commonsensical (of course you should), it's not always so.
The music and film industries, for example, have long settled that question by _licensing_ instead of selling you their products. When you buy a CD, music track or DVD, you do _not_ own it. You've merely licensed it for a very limited set of uses. When people talk about "my music", they couldn't be further from the mark. It's not your music, you're just renting it for very specific uses. Based on their current stance, and without wanting to give them any ideas, it sounds like Apple would ideally love to _license_ you the iPhone instead of selling it to you if they could.
All this to say, more power to the hackers! I wouldn't even have an iPhone right now in the UK if I hadn't been able to hack and unlock it to run on T-Mobile UK (which it does beautifully). With this latest hack, I'll be able to update to the latest firmware so that I can, among other things, give Apple more money by purchasing tracks from iTunes directly on my phone. Of course, I do have to spend time battling Apple's latest firmware (and possibly risk bricking my phone) in order to gain the right to give them more money in this manner.
Apple, I understand you're contractually obligated to AT&T to fix unlocking exploits but you should really stop battling your own development community and allow 3rd party applications on the iPhone.
Update: Just read an interesting interview with Apple's Greg Joswiak on Gearlog (emphasis mine):
I asked him about independent, native software development for the iPhone. He said Apple doesn't oppose native application development, which was new to me. Rather, Apple takes a neutral stance - they're not going to stop anyone from writing apps, and they're not going to maliciously design software updates to break the native apps, but they're not going to care if their software updates accidentally break the native apps either. He very carefully left the door open to a further change in this policy, too, saying that Apple is always re-examining its perspective on these sorts of things.
I pointed out that Apple delivers regular software updates to Macs, and that they don't break third-party software. He responded that Apple has a lot more experience with the Mac platform than they do with the iPhone platform. Also, the Mac platform being a PC, he said that consumer expectations absolutely demand third party software be available - though he looked a little wistful at that moment, as if wondering how peaceful the world would be if Apple actually controlled all the software on the Mac platform. Then he came back to reality.