iPhone's dark side of the empire

by Leo PangLeo Pang on 1226215886|%e %B %Y
rating: 0, tags: application jailbreak review unlock

I used to be a fan of Pocket PC phone: I spent lots of time finding and installing all kinds of third party software to my AT&T 8525. To me, anything I can imagine, I can find a software doing it - that's the beauty of an open platform. Last year when Apple introduced its first 2G iPhone, I got a chance to compare it side by side with my 8525, and I chose my 8525, simply because iPhone cannot do so many things that I already do everyday on my Window Mobile phone.

Recently after Apple introduced its second generation 3G iphone, things started changing - I really love the touch and feel of the glass touch screen, the thin body, and GPS on the 3G iPhone. The most importantly, the iPhone opens its development platform, which I think, will eventually brings as many third party applications as Windows Mobile. So, I decided to give it a try - switching to 3G iPhone. In the first couple days of switching, I really hate the iPhone - I cannot do what I used to do, the typing is not easy, and the most importantly, iPhone cannot do copy and paste - how can you imagine a computer without copy and paste function?

A month ago, since I were going to travel to Asia for business and vacation, I started paying attention to iPhone's dark side of the empire - Jailbreak and unlock, because I don't want to bring two phones on the trip. For my 8525, I just had to call AT&T, told them I was going to travel out of the States, and planning to use the local SIM card, then they give me the code to unlock my 8525. It was nothing wrong, because I had a 2-year contract with AT&T. Why I cannot do the same thing with my iPhone? I asked the guys at Apply store, they said, well, they cannot do anything, but they mentioned to me there are tons of articles on the web about how to unlock the iPhone.

I looked some articles on the web. It seems that unlocking a phone is not illegal, although both AT&T and Apple don't like it. There are Jailbreak and unlock, which are two different things. Jailbreak allows many third party software that Apple doesn't approve, or the developers are not willing to pay $100 to be listed on iTune store, to be installed on iPhone. People claim that Jailbreak doesn't violate the Apple warranty, I guess that's because it doesn't touch your iPhone hardware, and you can go back to your iPhone firmware any time you want.

You can unlock your 2G iPhone with software, but so far there is no way to unlock your 3G iPhone with just software, but you can jailbreak it. You can find many websites on iPhone jailbreak and unlock. I found one website really useful, AppleiPhoneSchool, you can find pretty much everything about iPhone on this website. Then you notice there are many people working on jailbreak and unlock iPhone, and those guys are working really hard - so usually just a couple days after iPhone releases its new firmware, they will come up a update for the jailbreak version.

Usually it takes about 10 minutes and some simple steps to jailbreak or unlock your iPhone. For example, iPhone Download Blog put together a very good step-by-step instruction on how to jailbreak and/or unlock the latest iPhone firmware 2.1, which was released by Apple only a week ago. One thing they were missing before the first step is the following: to be safe, after you sync with iTune 8, you should do the recovery on iTune, once iTune has recovered the firmware, STOP. Then follow his step to jailbreak your iPhone. Once you are done with jailbreak, open iTune, and continue recover - iTune will then load your contacts, emails, music, videos, and applications back to your iPhone -saving you lots of time to reinstall them.

Once you are done with jailbreak, you open the two applications installed, Cydia and Installer, which is similar to the official "Apple Store", then you will be amazed - now you see iPhone's dark side of the empire. Not only you see many third party applications that you don't see on iTune store, but you also realize that they have figured out a different way to monetize - instead of charging for the software, they display Google and other ads on their software. Think about it, this makes perfect sense: iPhone is always connected to Internet, and iPhone has the most powerful browser on smart phone - Safari. We may see a history repeats itself as 20 years ago when PC and Windows just started - now you have an Internet mobile device that people carry to everywhere, and it has an open platform that people can develop and deploy all kind of applications. The potential business could be huge.

There are many third party applications that you can already download on a jailbroken iPhone. There are two you definitely want to install, and they are free - MxTube and Cycorder.

MxTube : not only it allows you to download YouTube videos, the most importantly, it allows you to choose the high resolution version of YouTube videos, which is mucht better than the normal version of the videos, and also plays very smoothly through the 3G network.

Cycorder: it added one of the most important missing features on iPhone - recording video clips. The quality of the video clips recorded by Cycorder is very good. You will love it, I am sure.

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