The iPhone dev team announced a few days ago that the jailbreak technique they discovered for the 2nd gen iPod touch will likely work on the new iPhone 3G S. At first I was excited to hear about this.. If they can jailbreak it then it’s only a matter of time until they publish an unlock and I can go back to T-Mobile prepaid. This would save me over $1000 over the next two years. As an iPhone user this is great news.
But as an iPhone developer, this is very sad news. If you can jailbreak your phone then you can run unsigned code on it, which means you’ll be able to pirate games on the 3G S.
Now I’m not someone to whine about piracy. That would make me a massive hypocrite. But growing up in an age when tty spoofing and blue boxes still worked has given me a bit of a nuanced view on piracy (and security systems in general). I don’t think it should be illegal for people hack systems in order to gain greater access to them, or to utilize the fruits of their work to break intellectual property laws (which need overhauling anyways). But I do think it should be the right of intellectual property holders and security system developers to do everything they can to prevent people from gaining access to their systems and utilizing their work in new and different ways than they intended.
So back when Apple first launched the App Store it was happy days for everyone. You could run homebrew code unsigned using a variety of pwn tools, but you could also pay for software through the App Store–and this paid software could only be ran on devices that it was digitally signed to run on. But then the hackers figured out a way to effectively unsign signed apps and then you could run a paid application on any phone. I’m not saying this is wrong. It’s just sad that Apple’s encryption was defeated.
I was hoping the 3G S would turn the tides back in the IP holder’s favor, making it impossible–at least for a short time–to run apps that weren’t signed specifically for you on your phone. I mean, eventually it needs to happen (duh!) but I was hoping it would be another year, or at least another 6-9 months.
So I have mixed feelings. I wish they would release a baseband exploit that frees us from the tyranny of AT&T and not a jailbreak that allows people to pirate my one dollar game. But I seriously doubt the holders of these exploits will be that generous. 🙂
Update: Shoutout to the guys on the iPhone Games Network who discussed this post on a recent podcast. I wouldn’t quite say I’m “pleading” with the hacker community to not release a jailbreak (afaik you need the jailbreak in order to apply the baseband exploit anyways), I’m just saying it would be incredibly awesome of them to release a baseband crack that doesn’t jailbreak your phone. 🙂 And quite honestly, I think Apple would feel the same way. They probably hate AT&T more than the rest of us combined–it was pretty obvious in their WWDC talks there was some friction there.