Legal Jailbreak for iPhone Users

According to the NYT, The Library of Congress announced today, that it is legal for smartphone users to alter phone software to allow for use of applications that may not have been approved by the software’s manufacturer (as long as the software, itself, is obtained legally).  This process, most commonly know as “jailbreaking” is a method most commonly used by iPhone users.  Apple runs a tight ship when it comes to approving applications for use on it’s devices and often denies approval of applications that many would find to be very useful, citing copyright infrigement (due to the use of altered iPhone software), security issues, the need for more customer support and lowered quality of the device.

The Times quoted Apple spokeswoman, Natalie Kerris, as stating:

Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone, and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience…As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones, as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.

The ruling comes as a huge victory to the independent application development industry.  Many developers spend large amounts of time and money developing applications for the iPhone, only to have the apps rejected.  Tech savvy iPhone users now have the freedom to legally experiment with the iPhone software and use applications that are outside of Apple’s realm of approved apps.  Many users simply see this as a right that they already had being officially supported.  In fact, Apple’s notoriously tight control and secrecy in regards to it’s products has brought scrutiny upon the company as many iPhone users see tinkering with their iPhone to run applications as the same as tinkering with their computer software to customize it.

I predict this ruling will actually help Apple who has had a ton of publicity (both positive and negative)  in the last year beginning with the stolen iPhone 4, the release of the iPad and it’s subsequent issues and then the iPhone 4.  Techies who have in the past rebelled against Apple because of it’ s restrictions, might to choose to ease up on their judgment and who knows, it may even boost sales.  That being said,  PCWorld accurately points out that: the legal support behind jailbreaking your iPhone does not change the fact that your phone may encounter stability issues, upgrading issues and most importantly, in the eyes of Apple, “jailbreaking” will void your warranty (which is, of course, still in Apple’s control).

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One Response to “Legal Jailbreak for iPhone Users”

  1. Janet Says:

    This is great news but doesn’t really help that much. Even though it is not illegal anymore it doesn’t mean it is approved. Apple doesn’t have to support unlocked iPhones if they don’t want to. It would be even better is Apple supported it.
    BTW: Why Jailbreak? and some jailbreak solutions for iPad:
    iFunia iPad column

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