Gadget Spot: iPhone jailbreak

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If you own an iPhone 3G, you're probably aware that last week Apple announced the release of the phone's version 3.0 software, due out this summer.

Apple claims that over 100 new features will come in the upgrade: copy and paste, stereo Bluetooth, multimedia messaging, turn-by-turn GPS directions, peer-to-peer networking and a number of less-exciting tricks.

Being an iPhone owner since day one, I suppose I should be excited.

But instead I say, "Big, uh, hairy deal."

Here we are, two years since the iPhone came out, and Apple is just getting around to providing features thousands of iPhone users have had for quite a while.

We're talking about iPhone owners daring enough to "jailbreak" their phones. Today, these folks have access to software that enables video recording, customization of the iPhone's graphical look, video conferencing and tethering of iPhones to a computer and using AT&T's 3G service as a broadband internet connection.

First, a quick distinction: I would never "unlock" my iPhone (using the phone on a carrier than AT&T). Since I signed a contract with AT&T, to do otherwise would violate that agreement.

However, jailbreaking - using software to allow access to iPhone apps not available through the iTunes App Store - is a different story.

I know Apple says jailbreaking is illegal, but I disagree, since I own the phone and I'm not reverse-engineering Apple's own software. Hundreds of thousands of other iPhone owners agree. The iPhone is a computer and downloading software onto computers is hardly a revolutionary act.

This weekend I got my hands on a jailbreaked iPhone (with version 2.2.1 software). As I tested some of the jailbreak features, I wondered why Apple was being so unreasonable and why anyone would own any smartphone other than an iPhone.

Cycorder allowed me to record videos of Chip the Gadget Dog.

BossPrefs is a settings page that allowed me to toggle seven phone features rather than having to find those controls on seven separate screens.

TuneWiki turned the iPhone into a karaoke machine.

Search gave me a single place to search for all contents on the phone.

hClipboard provided cut-and-paste features.

PdaNet allowed me and Chip to rest under a tree at a nearby park as the iPhone's 3G service provided Internet access to my laptop.

By the way, the jailbreak and all these apps are free of charge.

If you're interested in knowing more about jailbreaking (not that I'm suggesting you do it to your own phone), check out the complete iPhone 3.0 coverage on Their website tells you how simple a jailbreak is to accomplish.

I agree the process isn't rocket science. However, as watching porn online has shown all of us, things are not always as easy as they seem on the web.

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