74 Comments

Summary:

Apple is stepping up its battle against iPhone jailbreakers with an updated version of its mobile operating system and the pursuit of a patent. But in all likelihood, the folks in Cupertino are pouring resources into a battle they shouldn’t be fighting at all.

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The Register reported last week that Apple is looking to fire back at iPhone jailbreakers with an application to patent a system designed to identify the “hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking or removal of a SIM card” from a phone so the device can be located and its data erased. The company has released a new firmware update for the sole purpose of patching a hole that was being used to jailbreak handsets running iOS 4 as well, according to the group of developers that created the first iPhone 4 jailbreak.

As I write in my weekly column over at GigaOM Pro, it makes no sense for Apple to pour efforts to these kinds of things; allowing jailbreaking — even implicitly — could actually help move iPhones off the shelves.

Sure, jailbreaking gives iPhone users access to a growing number of apps not supported by the App Store (tethering apps and porn among them), but even then, there’s no downside for Apple. Any tethering usage would be mitigated by AT&T’s metered data plans, so it’s not like users could truly abuse them. Also, when it comes to porn and anything else users could access, Apple can simply say, “We don’t support that garbage,” maintain its policy that jailbreaking automatically voids warranties and remain unsoiled in the public eye.

Revenues from the App Store are a drop in the bucket compared to Apple’s overall bottom line. The company uses the retail channel as a tool to boost sales from its lucrative hardware business. Apple sells DRM-free tunes and allows users to put their existing music libraries on the company’s devices because those strategies are good for gadget sales, where the money lies. So, like iTunes, why invest in efforts that restrict users to running only Apple-approved apps on their handsets and tablets?

At the end of the day, the iPhone Dev Team may have given up (for now), but other hackers will surely find ways around Apple’s efforts to prevent jailbreaking.

Read the full post here.

Image courtesy Flickr user Rennett Stowe.

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  1. Except… ignorant users may not be aware of stability and insecurity issues they introduce to their devices. Additionally, I hear many jailbreak to steal official apps. I’m sure both Apple and developers have financial incentive to stop that behavior.

    “for the sole purpose of patching a hole”

    Yeah, that was a vulnerability that could have be exploited for more nefarious purposes. So I agree the sole purpose was to patch a hole… but the sole purpose was not to prohibit jailbreaking. (Although this has been by far the easiest way to jailbreak and I haven’t yet plugged my hole.)

  2. yeah and that PDF exploit they found didn’t need to be fixed.

    Just because Apple files a patent doesn’t mean they do anything. They only fix massive exploits that are found that was used. THat PDF bug was an ugly one, and should have been fixed like they did.

  3. Like Big Dave says… It’s not only about approved apps. It’s about an image! If a users installs an unauthorized app, it can slow down the phone or even cause it to crash. The lack of stability and chance of virus/malware can give the iPhone a bad image and in the end it will affect the sale numbers.

    And in the same way the music industry is fighting pirates for illegal music sharing, Apple fights the jailbreakers for their illegal app sharing, The free app sharing makes the app store less interesting for the developers and in the end it damages both the developer and Apples income.
    There is no positive thing in jailbreaking for Apple.

    (Sorry for the bad english)

    1. Slow it down? Give it a bad image? Oh you mean like the iOS4 update did to 3G users? That was 2 months ago and Apple doesn’t seem to care about that too much.

      1. First, try a restore in iTunes and DO NOT use your backup. It may also help to rebuild your iTunes Library file before that process.

        Second, you’re running brand new software on two-year old hardware. It won’t be as fast as it is on new hardware. Deal with it, or buy that Verizon android phone. Not all users are having issues with iOS 4 on iPhone 3G, but Apple has still said they were looking into a fix. (see http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/20/jobs-software-update-to-address-ios-4-performance-issues-on-iphone-3g-coming-soon/) Fixing a vulnerability is easier than system-wide performance optimization which is what iOS 4 needs to fit on the tiny RAM footprint available to the 3G. I think in that hardware, Apple failed to see the extent of the vision. More RAM would have fixed this problem, but now they’re having to undo other features (which you probably won’t notice, unlike home screen backgrounds and multitasking) to make things snappy and smooth again. If you’re complaining about the JB performance of iPhone 3G on 4.0.1 or 2, then you’re an idiot.

    2. I restored 4 times 2 from backup, 2 as new phone. Issues everytime. The point 3G users are trying to make is that if the new software doesn’t run as fast and cripples the phones, then allow users to go back to the OS that allowed for functionality. “Dealing with it” is not about being told (to this day) that updating works without a recourse if it doesn’t. I don’t need folders, I do want to make calls.

      1. Unfortunately, the nasty PDF security vulnerability that existed pre-iOS4.02 means there’s no going back; if there was a way back, the vulnerability wouldn’t be fully plugged, if you think about it.

        It’s a damned mystery as to why this is so, but my 3G works OK – it’s slower, but not annoyingly so, and bluetooth and battery life perform better. I also do appreciate folders, as my 120-odd apps now occupy just over 2 pages. I have never dropped a call on my 3G to my memory from day one (not that I spend my life with my phone glued to my ear). Bizarre!

  4. Om, could you please explain to this cub what people would do with that PDF exploit? I guess he’s never had his PC infected by clicking on an attachment in an email and spent a day cleaning up his PC? I’m pretty sure neither James nor Kevin would post something this silly to sully the good name of JKontherun (which is where I found this article).

    In addition, 100% of software theft on the iOS platform is committed by people that “jailbreak” their devices. Maybe EA can shrug off 50% to 75% piracy rates but most of the devs on the platform are small shops that can ill afford to support that many pirated users of their products. It stunts their growth and thus harms innovation on the platform.

    1. Haven’t been called a cub in years, Scotty; thanks for making me smile. As for malware: of course jailbreaking the iPhone and running “rogue” apps increases risk. Apple is right to warn users of those dangers, and — as I wrote — it should maintain its warranty policy. I’m just questioning why the company invests so much in stopping those who willingly, knowingly jailbreak at their own risk.

      1. So you’re arguing they should leave open known security vulnerabilities? Is that it? The problem is that a jailbreak vulnerability is also a security hole. How do you plug the security hole without also stopping that method of jailbreaking? If you don’t… yes, you’re letting people jailbreak, but you’re also deliberately leaving people who don’t want to jailbreak open to security threats. I can’t see how that’s responsible.

      2. Rick has you there –

        Jailbreakers rely on holes to exploit in the OS to circumvent the digital lock. But that’s not the only thing that hole can be used for. It could be used maliciously.

        By investing time and resources to fixing those holes, they make their OS that much more secure – which makes the consumer feel better about their device. It just so happens that jailbreakers find these holes to exploit – but it’s not to stop them – it’s to secure their OS.

      3. Colin, so what’s your rebuttal to Rick’s argument?

        As for the post, this is something I would expect to see over on Gizmodo but not in the GigaOm Network.

      4. Not long after the PDF-exploit jailbreak was discovered, a security researcher friend of mine gave me a pretty plausible demonstration of how he could use it to take complete control of any iPhone, jailbreaked or not, just by being on the same WiFi network as it.

        Suggesting Apple should have left it unpatched is frighteningly naive, and does a disservice to readers who might not understand the seriousness of the situation. All jailbreaking is done by exploiting root-level OS vulnerabilities, and Apple would be negligent to leave them unpatched.

    2. ughhh can somebody explain to scotty-boy that if the iPhone had an open file system there wouldn’t be any problem with patching exploits?

      Lets say you buy a car. You drive it around, you like it but the fact that it doesn’t have an aux port drives you nuts. But you bought the car, you’re free to do whatever you want with it. You can install one. Yay music!

      Now lets say your car is produced by Apple. You will have to find a radio station you like instead.

      Basically… it’s your phone you’re free to install whatever you want on it.

  5. One thing that you left out is that jailbreaking allows iPhone app piracy. Apple has a responsibility to help protect developers from piracy.

    1. Ya that’s why you can’t install anything on osx if it’s not though the app store either. WTF IS MICROSOFT DOING IN REDMOND?! HURRY UP AND GET RID OF MY PERMISSIONS!

  6. Except this is a BS story. Yes, in case you haven’t noticed, “jailbreaking” means hackers find and exploit a software bug. That security hole has to be patched, or else the iPhone will become infested with cockroaches. Android will do the same thing, unless they’re crazy.

    The patent, meanwhile, was totally misread — willfully, it seems to me — to be a threat against your honest, now legal, jailbreaker. It simply is not. Why would Apple want to find and disable any jailbroken phone? They could be sued if they did that, because it’s illegal. What we had in that patent was merely a number of extensions to the Find my iPhone utility in Mobile Me. Now, the user would be able to find the location, identify the thief, and send the info to the police. And they could wipe the stolen phone.

    A lot of people have a bizarre “1984” paranoia about Apple, because it doesn’t operate according to the way they think it should, according to some bizarre, pie-in-the-sky theory. They should get a friggin’ life.

    1. mmmm Anyone remember the update that bricked the first iphone?

  7. I agree with the author especially when many cool apps like advanced sms/mms copy/paste or backgrounding or even categories (all of which became part of iOS3+/4) were originally developed for patched iOS (read jailbreak). Jailbreak is not only about piracy, it’s also about innovation and when you see that some of these innovations ends up in a Apple official OS release it means that Apple too is making some profit out of this not only in terms of product development. In the end it’s the consumers that wins when it can hold a $700+ product which is supposed to behave like a phone (although until not so long ago it could hardly compete with the cheapest one for many funtions!!!)

    And Apple so called revolution is a lot about marketing, think at Facetime in OS4…mobile video conference is yrs old in Europe but for Apple folks and the general consumer it looks like a 2010 innovation or tech breakthrough!!!

    Design is great, usability too. The rest is far from being a star trek product.

  8. You argument is stupid and misses out key points that i believe are the true reason behind Apple’s new patent. You say that the money generated by the sales of apps is a tiny percentage of their revenue, but that is a huge sum of money for the developers who “waste” their time developing these apps so they can be stolen.

    If jailbreaking was too be allowed then how would Apple ensure the developers received their money? and if Apple couldn’t ensure this, then why would the developers stick around? No developers equals no apps and the iPhone/iPad would lose its bells and whistles and that would definitely hurt Apples revenues.

  9. It is clear that all the commenters that have never jailbroken their iphones keep pointing out the possibilities of phone instability or piracy. I’ve yet to see a pirated app, game or feature in the Cydia app store. All I see are ways to enhance and further personalize your iphone where Apple has failed to satisfy. So please stop talking nonsense about piracy.

    1. You aren’t looking in the right place. This is not FUD. Virtually any app can be pirated wants jailbroken. There is an app for that. Jailbreakers just try to keep it quiet because it is such a huge gaping whole of piracy, they want as little attention on it as possible.

    2. I have jailbroken my iDevices, and I’m intimately familiar with said instabilities.

      As far as piracy, the default list of sources in Cydia and Rock are piracy free. Adding other sources in the Cydia preferences gives you access to apps that aren’t supported by a major source, are illegal, etc etc. Many, many many JB users pirate software. (BTW, if you’re stealing software that’s a dollar or two, maybe you should have saved the $199-$699 you spent on hardware.)

  10. Interesting post. I have not discussed this issue on my site but believe there are two primary reasons for this:

    Cause Steve said so
    Apple has made it clear that they want to sell as many iPhones around the world as possible — but, they want even more to protect their massive profit margins. Would allowing users to jailbreak phones ultimately harm the carriers that are paying Apple so much for each phone, robbing them of long-term contracts/customers, and diminishing their desire to continue giving Apple $600 per device? This is why I think they do this.

  11. Brian Hall just beat me to my comment.

    Apple makes a lot of money per user from the carrier (I believe they get part of the monthly fee – not sure if that is still true). Jail broken phones mean that you aren’t tied to your carrier anymore.

    I really liked Google’s Nexus One strategy – let me buy my phone w/o any subsidy and then use it with any carrier – unfortunately, only 2 US carriers support GSM and they have incompatible frequencies for 3G :-(

    1. Thanks for the comments, Brian and ambarish. I think there’s a semantic disconnect here, though: By “jailbreaking,” I’m referring only to the process of unlocking iOS to support “unofficial” software. As I note in the full piece over at Pro, freeing the handset to work on other networks is usually called SIM unlocking — which is different.

      1. Ah…I thought you were also referring to SIM unlocking. Then it’s probably best answered here with other commenters. Things like, the ‘backup’ of your apps and iTunes and unleashing nasty stuff onto Apple. Maintaining the purity of their (upcoming) cloud service. Ensuring they collect all tolls, fees, ad clicks and useful information related to our purchases via their iTunes system. Yada yada.

        Although I still believe it’s partly because of Jobs’ obsession with never ever playing in a market where they can’t extract the biggest margins. Anything that hampers that, such as jailbreaking an iPhone and using alternative services that can thus become the equivalent of iTunes must not be tolerated.

  12. This is not about protecting developers, not about revenue, its about CONTROL. Apple has become a massive corporate control freak!!1

    1. It’s about controlling the experience for users who are unable to control it themselves. Have you ever sat down at a friend or relative’s computer to check an email or something, and had it perform so terribly that it’s hardly usable? Every app is open, the system tray/menu bar is a mile long, and firefox takes a full minute to bring up a new window? Many many many less-than-tech savy users have brought their own PC’s to their digital knees by unknowingly installing poor or malicious software, and would do so to their mobile devices. A few holiday seasons ago, a Snow dashboard widget for OS X could single-handedly consume as much as 400MB of real memory. Now, on a modern computer that’s not much, unless you’re used to having firefox open while photoshopping and have 1GB of RAM on snow leopard. That 400MB buffer made photoshop usable on your maybe year old macbook. Now lets look at the mobile market. There is no iPhone Pro. There is one model of hardware that’s balanced on the edge of performance and battery life. It has enough RAM and processor and battery to do X,Y… simultaneously. Many of the “features” you’re missing compromise the usability of the phone because people will install everything and leave games open in the background, etc, then have no idea why their iDevice won’t function like it did before. If you’re not a tech-savy consumer, you may not mind if it takes an extra minute to start up your computer and launch a web browser, but the same performance from your phone is unacceptable.

  13. I don’t think the Dev Team has “given up” fo rnow, as you state. On their blog, they simply say there won’t be a jailbreak for 4.0.2 because the only change is the patching of the PDF exploit. They don’t want to let another jailbreak cat out of the bag to break a non-essential (to jailbreakers) software update.

    1. Agreed. The iPhone Dev Team haven’t given up. IDT is simply saving the jailbreak for when it’s better suited.

      IDT is going to be here as long as Apple keeps selling the iPhone locked on AT&T in the US.

      1. They’ll probably be going long after the iPhone goes to other carriers too, for people who want to customize their device and risk stability issues for unapproved features. The correction of the PDF flaw has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with the jailbreak community, other than the fact that this community brought the bug to light. Apple still sells hardware to the JB community, many of them still on AT&T contracts. So what if they’re not contributing to the self-sufficiency of the App Store, JB users are a $0 support burden. They’re kind of a perfect customer for a hardware manufacturer. “Yup, here’s my money, nope, no warranty for me, thanks.” And generally, as long as you, the user, can undo what you’ve done to the device, you can still get that warranty if you need it, you just don’t get any help undoing your own damage. The next hack from iDT or any of the other JB community members won’t be specifically targeted unless it’s also a huge security hole. Spirit required a Mac/PC and physical access to the device. Someone would have had to steal your phone to get unapproved software onto it. With the PDF exploit, a malicious web designer could screw you with a link to a pdf file, at random, with no physical access.

        Which is precisely why Spirit lasted several updates, and jailbreakme.com was patched ASAP.

    2. airmanchairman jimm Monday, August 30, 2010

      It would also show the Dev Team up as irresponsible, because if you think about it (they certainly have) the 4.02 upgrade patches a dangerous vulnerability, and for them to enable a downgrade would actually ensure the perpetuation of the security hole.

      Come to think of it (and they obviously have) this could raise legal issues.

      I don’t think Apple is 100% against jailbreaking of this kind, because come to think of it (and THEY have) there is no smartphone on the planet that is anywhere near the capability of the iPhone when it can run both official and jailbroken apps.

      Fact: several popular official iPhone apps started their life in the jailbreak developer community.

  14. Funny, Apple is doing this for “us” so it can keep it’s image intact by keeping us from running apps that give us features Apple is too lazy to build in to the iphone/ipad to start with.

    Why did I JB my iPad? Categories, Infinidock, and MXTube. Each of these apps improves my iPad incredibly beyond what Apple lets us do. And even more incredible, the software is CAPABLE of doing all this without any difficulty. But Apple whines and complains about the problem of people JB’ing their devices.

    If other companies, say Ford, for example, did the same thing they would have sensors installed that would make you use only the best gas in your engine, they would also show up at your door to make sure you washed your car every day, they would have locks installed that would lock you out if you tried to install “unvetted” 3rd party stereos or other gadgets.

    Apple, instead of giving us a hard time why don’t you add these features yourself? I thought “I” was the customer and you were supposed to sell me something that did what “I” wanted, not be a testbed for your vision of the perfect world.

  15. “The company has released a new firmware update for the sole purpose of patching a hole that was being used to jailbreak handsets running iOS 4″

    You can’t be that ignorant can you?

    The hole was a security nightmare that needed essentially an emergency patch. Any website you entered could have rooted your iPhone in a matter of a few seconds without the fix.

    I can’t believe people don’t understand this stuff. It isn’t that hard to grasp. Jailbreaking is always done via an exploit. Some exploits are worse than others. The Jailbreak me exploit was about as bad as any security hole on the iPhone since it was introduced.

  16. I’m guessing jailbreaking could be considered a “feature” by some, much the same way bluetooth has become a feature on notebooks. Take it away, and it could be a deal-breaker for those same people.

    My reaction to Apple’s decision would be to simply respond with my wallet – if their product doesn’t do what I need, I don’t buy it. It reminds me of Intel’s attempts to curb overclocking back in the day by locking down their processors – today they play a different tune.

  17. What biased garbage. It’s hard to believe that someone would even try to argue this nonsense. The author seems either wilfully deceptive or completely unaware of the facts.

    The presentation in the first few paragraphs presents a slanted view of things. It strongly implies that Apple is actively working against jailbreaking (with that patent), and that the sole reason for releasing the patch was to circumvent jailbreakers when anyone who has looked into it knows that this isn’t true. What a bunch of paranoid made up crap.

    The patch was put out as fast as possible because the jailbreakers released a zero day vulnerability into the wild and heavily publicised it. What the heck would you do if you were Apple?

    You can’t make an argument if you can’t even get the base facts right. This article is obviously just based on a slanted reading of the EFF’s paranoid conspiracy statement of last week (Apple is apparently “a traitor”), which itself was based on a rumour-mongering article on Engadget. Go read the actual freaking patent for cripes sake and see how it has been mischaracterised by these sources.

    Finally, you say it won’t bother Apple’s bottom line to do this and then suggest they do it and then just lie about their intentions when people ask? What highly moral advice we are handing out today.

    40% of jailbreakers steal apps. If jailbreaking numbers were higher, the number of stolen apps will also go up. The percentage would likely go up as well. So Apple might be alright, but the developers would be left holding the bag for all the stolen apps. More great advice from the author.

    1. Really? 40% of jail breaking users pirate software? Where did you find that number? Is it legit it did you make it up to substantiate your opinion?

    2. Not sure how you infer that I’m suggesting anyone “lie about their intentions,” Gazoobee. And like Dilip I’d be interested in hearing more about the 40 percent claim.

    3. Amen, albeit with the caveat that Gazoobee might not necessarily agree with all MY speculation.

      Those who disagree with Gazoobee, riddle me this: why would Motorola, puny, hungry, non-egomaniacal player that it is, offer the Droid X with a security feature activated that prevents users from rooting the OS? Why would AT&T Androids be released with features that prevent sidegrades (i.e., loading apps that are not part of the Android marketplace)?

      One answer for three questions: because the carriers are demanding it. Parsimonious parameterization; Occam’s Razor, whatever you want to call it.

      Remember when iPhone was first introduced? … how AT&T was worried about zombie botnets taking down their service? … how Verizon refused to consider the iPhone, and their other products had every single action, e.g., transferring a photo from your phone to a PC, a billable action?

      Verizon got the wake-up call about what they’d missed; an acquaintance told me (IIRC) that 5 of the 6 people at VZ who showed Apple the door subsequently had THEIR heads handed to them. Late to the “real smartphone” game, Verizon rolled out the red carpet for Android, the only iPhone alternative. Anything you want to do, from the firm MOST aggressive about walling off ITS mobile internet.

      My, how Times Have Changed: Apple is no longer the only desirable smartphone, and the Android machines are being locked down as hard and as fast as the carriers can write the new specs.

      So: back to the question of jailbreaking: Apple MUST have agreed with AT&T to prevent users from bypassing AT&T revenue streams. Google Voice took the first big bullet. Tethering, available as a feature months before AT&T was ready to set a higher price for it, the most blatant form of use-of-data non-neutrality. Skype and other VoIPs. Et cetera.

      These examples are being played out on the other, supposedly more “open” environments, showing that “openness” was just a convenient marketing line by Android. Google is now in the business of ripping apps off users’ phones, out of the marketplace, but NOBODY COMPLAINS because they’re intellectually locked into Google doing no evil.

      Yes, Apple has a second issue with people writing non-iOS-environment apps that won’t survive the next OS upgrade, creating incompatibilities and making iPhone the OS that no longer just works. And they have issues with making it harder for apps that THEY HELP SELL turned into apps that support an archrival.

      But the basic answer about jailbreaking: they do it because they are committed to showing AT&T (as well as Verizon, T-Mo, Sprint and every international carrier) that they are a trustable partner who carries out his side of agreements, and keeps its mouth shut about how awful carrier activations, service levels, etc., is. Because they want to be the “high road” smartphone.

  18. Tobias Bischoff Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Sorry but this is kind of BS. They have to fight againt jailbreak because jailbreak allows app piracy and for many people this is the #1 reason to jailbreak. Huge problem for devs. Apple has to fight against jailbreaks to protect their devs.

    1. Not much of a solution, since anyone pirating apps just has to… not install 4.0.2.

      Wow, not such a solution now, is it?

    2. I downgraded my 3G phone and jailbroke it because Apple’s iOS4 update made it incredibly hard to use. I haven’t pirated any apps. The only things I’ve installed are freebies that allow me to turn off data (in iOS4 but not 3.1.3, and added an app for persistent wifi [not even in the iOS4 update for my phone]). Jailbraking is not always about what Apple wants you to believe. And I wouldn’t have even thought about it if Apple had been responsible and tested their update on my device before they put it out.

  19. Jailbreakers rely on security weaknesses in iOS. Regardless of whether the original intent, these weaknesses could be used for nefarious purposes. Therefore, Apple must fix these holes. The easier it is to encounter a weakness, the faster Apple needs to issue a fix (OTA is much more critical than USB-tethered).

    The history suggests a pattern: Some developers jailbreak because they are using features disallowed, at the moment. As the sanctioned API grows, they (can choose to) shift to the App Store. Of course, some features may never become sanctioned. Other developers don’t want to compromise to fit Apple’s rules. These folks might be seen as principled or lazy.

    1. There are NO security weaknesses in iOS. It is a hardened OS that has full-up armor that no other mobile phone can touch.

      I am sure you are just confused, perhaps you are thinking of the Android phone or did you just forget to take your meds today. LOL

      Regional Battalion Commander
      iPod Nation

  20. I was under the impression jailbreaking took advantage of flaws in iOS. As an iPhone user and information security manager I want those flaws found and fixed. I could care less if some jailbreaker nerd loses the ability to install unsigned apps. The needs of the many (regular users) out weigh the needs of the few (jailbreakers).

    1. Maybe you should care a little bit more! Because it’s those “Jailbreak Nerds” who are finding the exploits and using them for something “good”, helping Apple to find something they should have found for themselfs, and helping your “regular user” ass not to get exploited by some random hacker/phisher.

  21. Louis Wheeler Sunday, August 29, 2010

    It’s unclear how many people want a jail broken iPhone. What if Apple nails down its software so that it can’t be jail broken and then sells a version which is pre-broken and unlocked by Apple? How many people would be willing to pay more than twice the price for unbroken iPhone? I’m guessing that the number would be rather small. The price must be higher, because iPhones are subsidized by AT&T.

    What the hackers are asking for is for Apple to allow flaws to remain un-patched in its OS. What computer manufacturer would allow that to continue long term? Eventually, Apple will correct the errors in its iOS to make it more difficult to jailbreak an iPhone. Using software to determine who is breaking their warranty is just smart of Apple.

  22. All the more incentive to have the iPhone liberated to be a product that is carried by all providers, not exclusively by one.

    1. Agreed. The Four should be offered on all carriers to allow everybody a chance to have the same phone Jesus would have. It is only fair to spread Apple goodness to the masses. I would expect spectacular sales once this happens. All the cool kids want one and who are we to deny this right to our children who will soon become the future leaders of this great nation. Steve is blazing the path that all tech companies now follow, welcome aboard everybody.

  23. T Party Nation Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Hi jacking an iPhone is totally outrageous and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the LAW !!!

    Why would anyone dare to make Steve angry after all there is no need to jailbreak as the iPhone is still rated the best phone on the planet (although a few Android smart phones are getting close).

    Perhaps Cupertino Engineers can trap this miscreant’s finger prints to identify the perps. They should face both criminal and civil penalties also with treble damages.

    Apple cannot stand by while nefarious agents of The Google try to undermine the iPhone 4. They need to bring out the big guns and go Roman on these lowest-of-the-low criminals.

    Tea Party Nation
    Proud member of the Palin Army.

  24. BeyondtheTech Sunday, August 29, 2010

    I’ve been no proponent of jailbreaking except for the purpose of locking down my kids’ iPhones so that they wouldn’t send/receive calls to other than an approved list (iBlacklist) and inadvertently start a data session (disabling EDGE altogether).

    But, recently, because my iPad will never be able to tether data from my iPhone 4, and because AT&T wants an additional $20 a month just to be able to tether (with no added bandwidth advantage), I have decided to jailbreak my iPhone to buy MyWi.

    As an iPhone developer, the piracy issue is a big problem. If they can really fix the whole FairPlay DRM issue, that would really help out.

    Don’t forget the whole “enterprise” and “business” perspective. Apple wants to lock down their iOS platform, because it maintains security and order – something that the enterprise praises the BlackBerry for. If a little hole like this PDF exploit can end up causing a security breach on an enterprise’s network that’s using iOS devices, that will not look good for Apple.

  25. in my humble opinion, I think Apple has an obligation to continue to patch the holes in it’s operating system that allow the current “jailbreaks”. In this particular case, it was a PDF security vulnerability, and in every case i’m aware of if a jailbreak is capable of being installed then so is malicious code. Also, I feel like Apple has an obligation to it’s app store developers to do what it can to mitigate piracy.

    That said, I think the right thing to do is for Apple to simple allow sideloading apps. Give a big fat warning that you must check an acknowledgement box that Apple keeps on file about the dangers, etc. and then let the customer do whatever the hell they want. If it’s learned that they did something that damaged the hardware (CPU overclock, etc.) then void the warranty.

  26. I forgot to add…

    As for the patent to disable and wipe devices, I’m 100% personally certain this is related to preventing stolen hardware from being used and data stolen. This will allow corporations to have further lock-down control over their staff hardware, and it will be an additional layer of security along with “find my iphone” and remote wipe capabilities. I see no reason to believe that Apple cares enough about the jailbreaking scene to remotely disable devices that have been hacked. That’s complete nonsense, and it’s only being pushed for pageviews.

  27. It is impossible to avoid fighting jailbreaking.

    Jailbreaking involves exploiting a security weakness in iOS and iPhone firmware so one can modify the iPhone’s firmware to disable its security or digital rights management.

    Thus, if Apple simply patches holes in iOS and the iPhone’s firmware, jailbreaking would become more difficult if not impossible.

    Since everyone (or nearly so) wants a secure and stable iPhone which does not give out private information without one’s approval, which does not allow identify theft, which is secure against viruses and other malware and other security exploits, it is inevitable for Apple to clash against jailbreakers and for jailbreaking to become much more difficult.

  28. +1 on Howie’s comment.

    App revenue may be a drop in the bucket for Apple but it means much more to me as a successful developer. That is money effectively stolen from my pocket. Worse yet sometimes I get help requests from users of my app asking why it doesn’t work on their jailbroken phone–wasting my time and taking money.

    I am not a big fan of the angle presented in the article. Apple has the right to protect their interests. The patent does kind of freak me out–but if it’s too big brother I’ll jump to Win Phone 7 or Android.

    Just don’t steamroll the developers like this or you’ll end up with less quality apps…

  29. I use Hackulous to install $10-$20 apps for free…

    Evil am I?

    Well, I’m tired of not being able to try before I buy an app, only to waste money and realize I do not like the app at all or it doesn’t accomplish something I want… So I’ve resorted to this… I try an paid app for free for a while… If I decide I like it, I buy it… If not I delete it… Try-before-I-buy… And all developers that disagree with my logic can go piss up a rope!!!

    So until you all clamor for Apple to wrap a “Try-Before-You-Buy” version of FairPlay around your apps, this is the way it’s got to be… The End…

    1. Congratulations, you’re a thief. And an entitlementard.

      You took something for free that the developer didn’t allow you to (otherwise he’d have made a free light version), but you didn’t care due to your narcissistic sense of entitlement: ‘Well, I’m tired of not being able to try before I buy an app. And all developers that disagree with my logic can go piss up a rope!!!’. Yes, and all that matters is you, princess…

      If you disagree with the seller’s policy, don’t use the product. You don’t go stealing a car for the weekend cause you might buy it but don’t agree with the dealerships test-drive policy, do you? People like you make me sick.

      ‘If I decide I like it, I buy it’
      Be honest, no you don’t.

  30. If Apple is in anyway serious about fighting jailbreaking, they would at least start by changing iOS’s root password every so often.

    Or like Google send a C&D letter to the hacking community.

    1. Google didn’t send the letter, Motorola did. Google doesn’t seem to care much at all about rooting their open-source software and customizing it to your heart’s content. (consequently, they’re not going to help you troubleshoot your shoddy software either, and due to carriers and hardware manufacturers, Android isn’t free unless you “jailbreak” it, too.)

  31. Charles Parnot Monday, August 30, 2010

    Apple fixed a security hole, I don’t understand how it could be clearer.

    Anybody can still jailbreak their iPhone and anybody was able to do it before that method existed. If you don’t know how, just Google for it, you can do it using your computer and the USB cable, as simple as that. And Apple is not actively fighting it, since it’s still working.

    As for the patent, it’s about protecting a stolen iPhone. Apple could never use it against a jailbroken phone, even if they wanted, since the jailbreaking would simply remove that functionality in the first place, duh!!

  32. This has more to do with AT&T and not Apple. I’m sure as part of their agreement, they have to do something about Jailbreaked and Unlocked phones.

  33. It’s important to recognise that The Register (British readers will know what I mean when I call it ‘The Sun’ of IT reporting!) isn’t a reliable source, often making ZDnet look cerebral, and that Dan Goodin’s piece is nothing but an op-ed littered with the word ‘could’. He, like many of the ranting ignorant’s that read that particular comic, didn’t actually read the patent. In fact there have been a couple of patent related stories (the best word, as a lot of it is in the mind of the authors!) were a company has been denounced a thieves or patent trolls and upon reading the patents (which anyone with half a brain can do), it turns out that not only have El Reg got the wrong end of the stick, they’ve gone and picked up entirely the wrong stick! They are a blog disguises as a news site–nothing wrong with blogs at all, they are great places to voice opinion–and the longer in the tooth among us will know about the histrionics between The Register and Apple (they can probably remember when El Reg was actually quite funny as well!) and as a result, there is a very definite anti-Apple rhetoric in the ‘editorial’.

    As for the crux of the article, consider this; it’s widely understood that Apple could remotely wipe an app if they needed/wanted too and they have yet to do it. Google were quiet about their ability to do it, but have actually acted used it. Twice. Jail-breaking is a blatantly PITA for Apple, but it has been made absolutely clear to them that this is not illegal; Apple don’t have to make it easy though…

  34. Hamranhansenhansen Monday, August 30, 2010

    it makes no sense for Apple to pour efforts to these kinds of things;

    Patching holes in the system is not an option, and has nothing to do with jail breaking per se. It has to be done.

    allowing jailbreaking — even implicitly — could actually help move
    iPhones off the shelves.

    iPhone 4 is the single best-selling phone ever. It doesn’t need to change to move off shelves, they can’t keep it on shelves.

    If you want to jail break, get an Android phone, that’s the only thing they’re good at. iPhone is not for nerds, it’s for everyone else who really do want their apps audited, who really do want great security and trouble-free operation from their phones. The nerd commentary on iPhone 4 is tired. It has been foretelling doom and second-guessing every innovation in iPhone since day 1. The yawn it inspires at this point is almost coma-inducing.

  35. The only reason I want to jailbreak my 32GB 3GS is to be able to unlock it. The only reason I want to unlock it is so I can sell it on eBay (There is a good international market on eBay for unlocked iPhones). The only reason I want to sell it is so that I can afford the $700 price to buy a new 4G 32GB iPhone.

    The refusal of AT&T to unlock an iPhone coming off contract makes it problematical to upgrade every year as I like to do. By the way, AT&T blames Apple for this policy.

  36. Are you effing nuts? You’ve got your head so far up Apples @$$ it will never come out.

  37. Jailbreakers make a tiny percentage of iDevice users. I’d bet that a smaller percentage know how to get pirated games for iDevices. I doubt a hell of a lot that piracy of iApps will significantly destroy developers. If a developer actually makes a good game thats worth the money, they don’t need to fear pirates, much like how only bad music artists need to be afraid of pirated songs. The good apps will still be bought by >90% iDevice owners. So the piracy argument is a daft one, in my opinion.

    I cannot think of a single reason (other than piracy) why jailbreaking should be fought against. Ok, so maybe Apple needs to distance itself from the “shadier” areas jailbreaks allow users to venture into, but that doesn’t mean they should constantly be worried about the jailbreaks.

    Besides, Jailbreakers were one step ahead of Apple since the beginning; the first game I played on my iTouch was a Pool game, from Installer.app, Summerboard and Winterboard actually made my device MINE with themes, and so many other additions that make the iDevices so much more.

    And the PDF exploit? I bet Apple patched that up quickly due to embarrassment lol Previously discovered exploits took awhile to surface, thanks to Apple’s patches, and then the Dev’s find a hole that jailbreaks via PDF, without a whole firmware re-install. Yeah, bet Apple wasn’t impressed with that XD

  38. I think it’s funny no one mentioned that Saurik actually released a fix to the same PDF exploit without it disabling your currently jailbroken software.

    If it was really about the security issue, Apple would have done the same. That’s not to say Apple doesn’t deserve credit for trying to fix the problem, they just did it in the most controlling way possible.

  39. “The company has released a new firmware update for the sole purpose of patching a hole that was being used to jailbreak handsets running iOS 4 as well”

    The author is either completely ignorant here, or he’s being purposely misleading. I’m a big fan of jailbreaking, but the PDF exploit (which is being used wonderfully by jailbreakme) is a massive security hole, exploitable by anyone for any purpose. To try to claim that this was some specific attack on jailbreaking is simply absurd.

  40. Kwadwo Siaw-Marfo Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    There are a million reasons to keep jailbreaking.
    1. Even though i am still using a 2g when the PDF exploit was discovered APPLE decided not to patch up the 2g guess where i found the patch.
    2.the 2g does not support mms says Apple. but jailbreakers told me i can and i finally go on CYdia and find the mms exploit too.
    3. Jailbreaking is not abt illegal apps and all, yes its one advantage that was discovered but thats what u guys decide to do.
    4.One of the iphone’s downsides is the lack of themeing. And after downloading winterboard from Cydia.u get all that!

    we can go on and on abt the advantages of jailbreaking, like multitasking on the 2g…..

  41. “Apple makes a lot of money per user from the carrier (I believe they get part of the monthly fee – not sure if that is still true). Jail broken phones mean that you aren’t tied to your carrier anymore.”

    I still don’t see why carrier unlocks aren’t allowed. If you get your iPhone through subsidy from a carrier, it means you entered a contract, for which you will still be charged even if you don’t use it. So why would anyone pay for two carriers at once and only use one?

    Personally, the PDF patch is annoying, as it means I won’t be able to jailbreak my iPad when it gets delivered, but Apple arent going to want all of their iDevices in their retail stores being jailbroken, as it means that they wont function as most users expect. Jailbreakers (me included) run their iDevices with a level of technical understanding, enough to know what is going on. Most people that pick up an iPhone in one of Apple’s retail stores don’t understand the extra features, and cry foul of Apple, who should be seen to be providing the best service they can.

    Funny enough, I don’t see why Apple doesn’t offer an unlocking service. They could easily run it through iTunes, and they could run a check to see if your contract has ended. If Apple offered people an unlock, even charging for it, there would be less people going through the effort of jailbreaking just for the unlock.

  42. Apple is a controlling bunch of wankers…

    If you BUY an iPhone… you own the the thing… so if you want to jailbreak it who the fuck is apple to stop you..

    Its like buying a car and being told that you not allowed to change the wheels or the radio… cant wait for 4.1 to come out so that I can totally ignore it and jailbreak my phone again..

    screw apple and steve jobbie

  43. JB cost APL money, plain and simple. They are not bound by restrictions placed on the store — 30% of ads, 30% of paid apps. It’s the same argument about piracy you hear all the time — Hollywood’s “losing” billions and billions of dollars despite most of the downloaders wouldn’t have bought the movie anyway.

    To those who JB for additional software features / banned apps: why are you supporting a company who wants to restrict these types of applications? Companies move to where the money is, and the more money they can make, the better. Now because of people like you, the Motorola DroidX is equipped with an eFuse where a custom OS cannot loaded. That said, it still doesn’t restrict you from loading any application you want, on any market.

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