Risk

7/20/2008
05:21 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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iPhone Is Owned Again; Yawn

A little more than a week after Apple's shiny new iPhone 3G went on sale, a team of programmers say they've, once again, gained control over the highly coveted gadget.

A little more than a week after Apple's shiny new iPhone 3G went on sale, a team of programmers say they've, once again, gained control over the highly coveted gadget.A group known as the "iphone-dev team" announced yesterday that the iPhone 3G has been "jailbroken," as in "hacked," or, if you're really into the slang, "pwned."

In a post headlined "Thanks for waiting," the iphone-dev team made available Pwnage 2.0 for both the iPhone and iPod touch. This makes it possible to run applications not sanctioned by the application gatekeepers at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino.

Now, few would doubt that the iphone-dev team helped fuel the success of iPhone 1.0. Without their tool there was no way to run third-party software, which to a software junkie like me made the iPhone much less useful than my old Dell Axim pocket PC. I wanted any phone I carried to be able to run applications and manage my data. Plus, last year there were many areas of the globe where there were no carriers available for the phone.

Just to be clear, Pwnage 2.0 currently only jailbreaks the iPhone to make it possible circumvent Apple's software gates, it doesn't yet unlock the phone for use on unsanctioned cellular networks.

Today, it seems Apple is well on its way to having a very active, almost fanatical, development community with hundreds of applications already available. (I still haven't found a list management application as powerful as ListPro, but that's another topic.) And more applications are rolling down the pipeline.

Now, one could make a good argument against the walled-garden approach to application availability Apple is putting forth, but after years of suffering through many crappy Windows Mobile applications, a little quality control might not be a bad idea. Time will tell.

Additionally, the costs of unlocked iPhone 3Gs look to be just shy of $900. That almost makes the AT&T contract look cheap.

So this time around, I don't see much value in hacking open the iPhone, especially not with the risk of waking up one day to find it bricked.

So, have any InformationWeek.com readers given Pwnage 2.0 a whirl? If so, we'd like to hear about it.

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