The simplest and most expansive iDevice jailbreak was released last night. In the past, and prior to Spirit, most jailbreak solutions required a computer intermediary running software locally to get the job done. It wasn’t difficult, but it did require research and could be somewhat intimidating to the uninitiated. Whereas the new jailbreakme.com website offers jailbreaking to anyone who can simply navigate to a URL. But I wonder how big the need or interest in jailbreaking is these days.
When I first jailbroke my original iPhone, it was prior to Apple supporting apps… This was the only way to expand iPhone functionality by loading custom software. At the time, my top “illicit” apps were Fring and Twinkle – an early and fine Twitter client. Later on, I had need to jailbreak once again when restrictive 3G policies prevented Skype and SlingPlayer from running on AT&T’s network. Plus, I needed folders before Steve Jobs decided I needed folders. Fortunately, these issues have since been remedied.
Obviously jailbreaks are community developed hacks – exploiting the iSystem to provide deeper and less restrictive access. Along with that often comes buggy behavior, the potential for data loss, and perhaps the voiding of your warranty. And while there are some useful UI enhancements, most of the amateur skinning can’t compete with Apple’s designers. So, with Apple’s large app marketplace and AT&T’s relaxed 3G policies, who needs to jailbreak?
The only path to an iPhone carrier unlock is via jailbreak. And some days I wake up thinking I’d prefer a 2G-only iPhone running on T-Mobile’s network versus my current AT&T coverage blackout (about 8 hours per weekday) and frequently dropped calls. Also, anyone interested in tethering and/or MiFi-esque hotspot capabilities (without paying AT&T twice for the same data bucket) is a good candidate for jailbreaking. In fact, I took a look at MyWi ($20) and was very impressed (pics below) – despite it crushing my battery. But, aside from those two scenarios, I don’t see a pressing need to go down this path. You?
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