Jailbreak Tues — Will Apple spy on jailbreakers?

An interesting development occurred last week: It was reported that Apple’s new patent application would help iPhone owners recover or possibly wipe their lost or stolen devices. The company even went a step further, proposing that a picture could be snapped of the stranger using the handset, and the phone’s GPS coordinates could sent to the rightful owner via Twitter, e-mail, voicemail, Facebook or a cloud service like “MobileMe.”

It’s about time that loyal iPhone users were given more options to secure data on their handsets, and the proposition of doing it natively on the handset is definitely a boon. Using geo-location and camera functionality to aid in the device’s recovery are also other major pluses. But as great as I think this is, there’s also a downside here — especially to jailbreakers.

The proposed patent will also recognize if the device has been “hacked” or modified outside of Apple’s OS.

The method of claim 3, wherein the particular activity comprises one or more of hacking the electronic device, jailbreaking the electronic device, unlocking the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, and moving at least a predetermined distance away from a synced device.

After looking through the patent, most of this looks as if it is being created to protect a device’s owner, but what’s disturbing is how Apple’s references to jailbroken and unlocked devices. After the Library of Congress deemed jailbreaking legal, Apple frowned on this decision. Now I’m thinking that this is Cupertino’s way of still pushing to make jailbreaking illegal. Not only that, but if this patent gets the green light, could the company hunt down jailbreakers remotely? Or even worse, just simply flip a switch and shut down our devices?

In my mind, this brings up an obvious question: Instead of wasting time and money blocking these hacks, why isn’t Apple adapting to their increasing demand? The reason iPhone owners jailbreak is to enjoy all the biggest, baddest, freshest features that their iPhones are capable of. (Yes, that was a take on Adidas.) If you ask me, Steve Jobs’ obsession with jailbreakers ought to be redirected to the recruiting department. Could you imagine what would happen if he gave GeoHot a job at Apple?

I’m going to take this moment to celebrate the jailbreaking community. Despite what Cupertino thinks, we are actually Apple’s biggest fans because we believe in all the power our smartphones can offer. We may push our devices to their limits sometimes, but more often than not, we wind up amazed at what these handsets can do.

I’ll end this post with the “coolest” mods that are on my jailbroken iPhone this week. Feel free to chime in and add to this list in the comments below.

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Infinidock ($0.99)

Here is a modification that allows you to have multiple icons in your dock. I have found this useful when I want to have both my Safari and Opera Mini in the dock and still have the phone, messaging and email icons within reach.

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Infinifolders ($1.99)

This is one of two things that Apple should have considered when creating folders for iOS 4. This does just what the name says, allowing infinite apps to be placed in a single folder. I found it particularly helpful with all the games that I had on my iPhone. I was running out of room on the homescreen, so I had to start choosing which games to leave off.

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FolderCloser (FREE!)

The other feature for folders should have been this! Normally, every time you use an app in a folder and then minimize it, you are brought back to your open folder. This is very annoying if you ask me. FolderCloser does one simple thing — it closes the folder as you launch the app. In my opinion, this is a must for jailbreakers!

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LockInfo ($4.99)

I covered LockInfo back in May, and it’s still one of my favorite apps. It takes important information and put it right onto your lock screen — e-mails, text messages, calender appointments, notifications, missed calls, Twitter feeds etc. To me, having an instant way to keep up on all my latest info is one of the biggest advantages to jailbreaking. If you want to check it out, you can road test it for free for 14 days before deciding to purchase it. (And I thnk you will!)

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Multifl0w ($4.99)

If you haven’t been fully satisfied with Apple’s version of multitasking, check out Multifl0w. It brings up real-time screenshots of all the apps you have running, just like Snow Leopard’s Expose. Simply tap on the image of the program you want or hit the “x” to close it out. The biggest limitation of this app is that you’re limited to a maximum of nine screen shots. (The other multitasking program to keep your eye on is “Proswitcher” — whenever it may be that it gets updated to support iOS 4.)

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QuickReply for SMS ($2.99, but will soon be free)

This program may not be intended for iOS4, which is why it will be free soon, but it is very handy. How many times have you been in the middle of a game and somebody shoots you a text? You need to reply, but don’t want to close the game out. With QuickReply, a transparent SMS screen comes up and you can shoot off a fast reply without switching out of your previous app. After you send the text, it disappears and you can go right back to your game. Now that’s convenient..

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VUnlock (FREE!)

This is cool, though a bit buggy. But if you’re tired of swiping to unlock your iPhone, you may still want to grab this app, which lets you use your volume key to unlock your device. What’s even nicer is that you can tap the volume key while your device is hibernating, and it will bypass the lock screen all together. This has come in quite handy when I needed to make a quick phone call and don’t want to perform that extra motion to access my phone. (Yes, I am a bit lazy sometimes!)

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In my opinion, these modifications enhance the iPhone experience. So what is Apple waiting for? Shouldn’t it take a harder look at adopting these features into iOS? I’d love to see the day they embrace jailbreaking (or at least stop trying to shut it down) and truly show the mobile phone industry how powerful our iDevices actually are. Do you agree? Give us your thoughts below.

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Via: Ars Technica

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Follow me on Twitter: @TodaysiPhoneBob
Do you have a TiP? Email me at bobniffen@todaysiphone.com

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This article is presented for informational purposes only. Jailbreaking can void Apple’s iPhone/iPod Touch warranty. Any efforts or attempts at jailbreaking is done at the sole discretion of the user. Today’s iPhone assumes no liability or responsibility for any resulting user actions, software or hardware glitches or revocation of warranties. Proceed at your own risk.

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  • john

    i have a couple of questions 1. if the phone doesnt get updated can they sill do this 2. can they really track the person what if the person takes the phone to a nother country 3. if they plug it into itune 9.2 or lower will it break the phone.

  • iphone

    Apple can frown all it wants. But basically the reality is that apple is the one benefitting from all the jailbreaking and unlocking hacks. Think about it. Legit ATT users upgrade to newer models and some percentage of users sell their phones to others. Of these sold phones, a good percentage will get unlocked to other carriers, creates demand by the users of the other carriers to aspire for the iphone. They would pay top dollar to get hands on one, and legit owners, are prompted to sell and make some money to upgrade. So in the end, apply wins, sells more and more phones!