iOS 4.1 Jailbreak, and the return of Flash

When Apple rolled out the 4.1 iteration of iOS,  the opinions from users, devs and techies the world over were largely positive, but the Jailbreak brigade were less than impressed. The comment from Iphone Dev Team – one of the best known jailbreaking outfits – was “Don’t accept it… it’s a trap!”. They said that the update made changes to the modem software which would potentially hamper any future attempts to jailbreak the phone.

So what is jailbreaking, why do people do it and why don’t apple like it?

In short, Jailbreaking allows users root access to their device which is normally blocked, this lets them install apps and extensions from places other than the appstore.  Very few people bother to jailbreak their iphone, it’s a techies only thing, but Apple don’t like it and do their best to make it difficult.

Why don’t they like it? Well there are many reasons, the big one being that they don’t want hoards of users breaking their phones or ruining their “user experience” by installing unofficial software. I can kind of see their point here, you only have to look at windows PCs to see what they are worried about, a large proportion of all the problems people have with windows PCs are down to installing – deliberately or not – dodgy software, malware, viruses and the like. By locking down the iPhone, Apple prevent suspect software from effecting their products, but it’s a double edged sword, many of Apple’s more tech savvy customers want the freedom to do what they want with their phone, after all, they did pay for it, and they don’t like the restrictions.

It does beg the question though; if you don’t want a locked down phone and you want to tinker, why buy an iPhone in the first place?

Well if you own a device running iOS 4.1 and you want to get under the bonnet, never fear, within hours of it’s launch iPhone Dev Team announced an exploit that they think will be particularly hard for Apple to block with anything short of new hardware.

So, on to Flash, Apple’s spat with Adobe has been running for a while now over Apple’s seemingly arbitrary barring of apps developed in flash from the appstore.  Apple barred all apps not natively developed in objective C, C and C++, then made exceptions for everyone except Adobe.

Apple seem to have had a change of heart-perhaps because of rumblings of antitrust lawsuits -and will now allow devs to work in whatever language they like.  In light of this Adobe have re kindled the Packager Tool that they previously dropped from Flash CS5. The tool allows software built in flash to be re-complied for iOS, which was a no-no under the last lot of Appstore guidelines.

I had a bit of a rant about Apple’s reasoning for barring Flash in a previous post, and a couple of commenters rightly spotted some flaws in my argument. This change of heart seems to imply that whatever the reasons to bar Flash were, there are now more persuasive ones to allow it. It’s unlikely Apple will ever officially tell us what prompted the change of heart and it remains to be seen if they will kiss and make up with Adobe but for now at least flash apps look like they will be allowed.

Comments are closed.