Nineteen year old George "Geohot" Hotz has done it again. Only two weeks after launch, the iPhone 3GS is jailbroken. Hotz released the jailbreaking application, which he calls "PurpleRai1n" earlier today.
Geohot was the original iPhone jailbreaker which he did as a 17-year old from his New Jersey home.
The current jailbreak is only for Windows and is quick to install but needs to be re-applied after restarts. Update: A Mac version is now available.
Crunchgear did the installation, which only too a few moments and steps - this isn't something only a hardcore hacker could do.
Earlier this week, the iPhone Dev ream mentioned that a SIM unlock wouldn't be that difficult either. The baseband firmware is very similar to that of the previous generation's iPhone. They are still working on their iPhone hacking software, UltraSn0w, which will allow iPhone users to use other SIM cards with the iPhone 3GS.
Just as a word of clarification, jailbreaking allows you to to install non-Apple sactioned applications. SIM-unlocking, which is another step, allows you to insert another carrier's SIM cards and use it on another network.
So after two years, what have we (and Apple) learned about jailbreaking?
Well, I for one, think that Apple doesn't mind the jailbreaks. The jailbreaking initially allowed the iPhone to go all over the world and into the hands of Tmobile users in the US, when it was only sanctioned to work on AT&T's network. It sold many additional iPhones through gray market resellers. Some said as much as one third of all iPhones were SIM-unlocked. The device is still entering the biggest market in the world, China, through Apple's open sales scheme in Hong Kong, not through a Apple-sanctioned carrier.
Apple entered into an exclusivity contract with AT&T in the US and has other exclusivity deals in the UK with O2 and with Tmobile in Germany and elsewhere. For their exclusivity, Apple gets the carriers to buy the device from Apple at a price advantageous to Apple. But, jailbreaking and SIM unlocking allows Apple to sell their devices to customers on other networks in those countries.
I still can't unlock the SIM of my three year old Sidekick 3 to work on a network outside of Tmobile. Apple has had two years to lock down their new device and it was cracked in two weeks by a 19 year old from New Jersey. To me, that says keeping the iPhone from being hacked isn't a top priority for Apple.
It is advantageous for Apple to leave the iPhone open to be unlocked, that is why it is so easy.