Monday, March 11, 2013

Team Jailbreak!

Without a doubt the iPhone is one of the most compelling electronic devices to hit the mainstream consumer market in the last 10 years. Year over sales figures have proven that people cannot get enough of these amazing little devices that have jettisoned us into a world of people staring into their devices every 10 minutes. We are basically carrying around a phone, dvd, iPod, gaming console and computer all rolled into one device making the concepts created in Star Trek seem not so far off in our future.

Sometimes I walk into an Apple Store just to see the amazement on people's faces as they hold and use an iDevice for the first time. As a self confessed geek it gives me much pleasure watching the amazement on a persons face as their mind is blown. In saying that nothing is perfect and Apple's iOS operating system is definitely proof that perfection has not been achieved and most likely never will, as you can't please everybody.

Over the years of being an iOS addict I've read the arguments about what would make iOS a better experience. The constant bickering between Apple fanboy's, mobile enthusiasts and the endless faceless trolls in forums and tech articles throw around their opinions like they have all the answers. As it stands Apple may have changed the way we think about mobile computing but since the inception of the iPhone in 2007 they have been quite conservative in regards to growing the operating system.

My first iOS device was the iPhone 3G. My previous phone was a motorola flip phone so the change was astonishing. After the first 2 weeks as an iOS owner I stumbled across the term "Jailbreak" and after a couple of days of reading decided to take the plunge and free my iPhone. As I ran the Redsn0w program my heart was in my throat, worried that my new $900 device was about to die a premature death before I fully explored its capabilities. Thankfully everything went ok and I now was open to modify my device to my hearts content.

I had only just begun to understand how to use iTunes so the introduction of Cydia on my home screen was very overwhelming. Being a longtime tech enthusiast it didn't take long before I was tweaking, respringing and theming my iPhone like most who jailbreak to the point of overkill. Thankfully a few weeks later my obsession with Cydia became more refined and practical, before long I had the perfect iPhone.

So why do people jailbreak? Jailbreaking isn't for everybody, clearly the number of people jailbroken to the number of iOS devices in the wild proves this point. The people who do jailbreak want to extend the already amazing functions that iOS provide, making a better experience than Apples closed concepts. I love the fact that I can add multitasking gestures, make toggles easily accessible and deliver information on my lockscreen that I just can't get from stock iOS.

Over the years jailbreaking has earned it's fair share of negative press for piracy. The fact is most people who jailbreak their devices don't pirate apps and just want to have more freedom on their devices. With everything in life there will always be a minority who spoil it for the majority. We live in a society driven by negative press, people will always remember the negatives over the positives. Just look at the nightly news on television. 30 minutes of doom and gloom which always ends on a story of a fluffy dog riding a skateboard in an attempt to help you forget the horrors you've just been subjected to.

The stories surrounding jailbreaking of voiding your warrantee and bricking your device sent fear into your everyday consumer as Apple scrambled with each iOS update to fix the exploits used. Jailbreak developers continued to create awesome tweaks and find new exploits to keep devices jailbroken and before long we began to see Apple implement jailbreak tweaks into iOS. As time has gone on iOS has integrated many jailbreak tweaks along with awesome new features like iCloud and Siri proving that the jailbreak community is a necessary evil to Apple. Most likely why they never really tried to kill it with the same passion they have attacked Google and Samsung in the courts.

With each new iDevice the timeframe for a new jailbreak to be released has stretched out to over 6 months. Finding the necessary exploits to open up Apple's iOS has become like finding a needle in a haystack. Quite a few jailbreak developers have gone on to work at Apple, Google and Facebook also. Earlier this year it seemed many had given up on a jailbreak even being released. Others felt like they had no need to jailbreak any longer as recent iOS updates had filled the void previously filled by jailbreak tweaks. After a long 6 months on stock iOS I myself questioned if I would jailbreak again, but as soon as the Evasi0n jailbreak was released i jumped on it.

So why do I jailbreak? Flexibility!!
I love the fact that I can tweak things to my liking and enjoy getting into the core system of iOS to better understand exactly how it all works. I'm a tech junky who loves to tinker. Sure, I could buy myself an android and tinker to my hearts content but I'm in love with Apple products. I don't want to have to settle for a phone that I don't like. I want an iPhone and am willing to sit through the resprings and trial and error of finding the right combination of tweaks to make my iOS device stable and perfect for my lifestyle. I also love having something unique to other iOS users. Honestly it's great talking to another iPhone lover and showing them what my iPhone can do compared to theirs.

I'm glad Apple never went thermonuclear on jailbreaking. Over the years jailbreaking has proven to be an asset to Apple in developing new features for iOS updates. Hopefully as Apple continue to innovate and develop their great products further there will continue to be clever people out there creating jailbreak exploits and pushing the envelope for future iOS updates allowing me to keep modding my beloved iOS devices.

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