Non-Apple iPhone applications re-emerge after being crippled by update

While most of the US celebrated the discovery of the new world by Columbus, the the iPhone hacking community was busy discovering how to make non-Apple iPhone applications work in spite of the enhanced safeguards that Apple put in place with the iPhone 1.1.1 firmware update. The update had disabled all native applications installed on an iPhone, as well as any non-iTunes ringtones, and disabled hacks that allowed the iPhone to be unlocked and used on other GSM networks (in the process completely disabling many of the devices). At noon on Monday, the first report of a preliminary jail break (the process of opening the iPhone for installation of files and applications) was posted by Erica Sadun at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. By the end of the day, not only was there news of a way around Apple's update, but there was also word that whole applications were being updated to run under the iPhone 1.1.1. The iPhone Dev Team, an unofficial group of programmers who developed the first jail breaking tools for earlier revisions of the iPhone software, has not yet released a tool for general use, but iPhone application makers are already updating 
their creations in preparation for an updated tool. Also, a hack has been developed to ensure that the home screen can be expanded to support more applications than the few empty spaces for icons. In a related story, TUAW also reported the first signs of success in jail breaking the iPod touch. So far, there has been no news about updates to the tools used to unlock an iPhone for use with other networks. In separate developments, Ambrosia Software, the creators of iToner are reportedly beta-testing a new version of the ringtone creation tool. iToner allows users to create and load custom ringtones onto the iPhone based on songs that were not purchased from Apple's iTunes Store and without paying the creation fee charged when a ringtone is created using iTunes. While these events deal with non-approved ways to add applications to the iPhone, some speculation also emerged over the weekend as to Apple's future plans for legitimate iPhone development. One report indicates that Apple may be expanding web support with to include offline storage of items on the iPhone as well as support for local Javascript access to iPhone features. Meanwhile, another set of rumors indicate that Apple may allow some third-party developers access to the iPhone but retain control of what those developers create (much as the company did when it began offering iPod games through the iTunes Store).

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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