The Christmas holiday was a busy one within the jailbreak community as we saw many members of the iPhone and Chronic Dev Team make their presence known on Twitter to varying degrees, though none of them was yet able to give us a definitive iOS 6 jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S, iPad 2, iPad Mini release date. Still, some interesting information did emerge,after a monumental event took place within the jailbreak community--the shutdown of "Hackulous"--server for the infamous "Installous" app store best known for its pirated version of IOS apps.
As many within the community are aware, piracy and jailbreaking seem to go nearly hand in hand as with a jailbroken Apple device, doors are open to obtaining material illegally. Though members of both the iPhone and Chronic Dev teams have stated at various times that they stand fervently against piracy, still many realize it is a prevalent issue inside the community that is not easily remedied.
Indeed, just last month we saw a Hunted Cow's Battle Dungeon game pulled down from their servers due to,
"High levels of server load created by large numbers of pirated copies of the game."
as was posted on the site the day the game was removed.
Though the owner of the Hunted Cow company told me they are planning a re-release of the Battle Dungeon game sometime this month, still it poses a grim reminder of the damage that can be done with pirating and just how prevalent the practice is within the jailbreak community.
This then may be the reason so many have become anxious while awaiting an jailbreak for iOS 6 on iPhone 5, 4S, iPad Mini and other non jailbroken devices and have even threatened leaving the community to obtain other devices such as Androids which are more easily compromised.
In his own cynical way, even Stefan Esser made commentary concerning the shutdown of Installous servers.
According to Esser aka @i0n1c,
So hackulous is dead. Best news of the week. So 95% less people that require jailbreaks.
— Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) December 30, 2012
Of course this followed any number of other trolling comments produced by Esser that weekend concerning the development of an iOS 6, 6.0.1 or 6.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5. Taking advantage of the eagerness and naivety of some, Esser was also found tweeting the following:
For everybody that keeps asking: The iOS 6 .0(.1/.2) jailbreak will be released on Saint Glinglin Day. — Stefan Esser (@i0n1c) December 28, 2012
Though some found humor in Esser's fictitious iOS 6 jailbreak release date, others began to feel a bit downtrodden that a iOS 6, 6.0.1, or 6. 1 untethered jailbreak may never emerge.
Soon after another well-known hacker, Charlie Miller, who co-authored the iOS Hacker's Handbook along with Stefan Esser, had his own commentary to make regarding the iOS 6 jailbreak progress. According to Miller,
My 2013 prediction: iPhone 5 and iPad 2 will not be jailbroken this year. — Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) December 31, 2012
Before too many started to panic however, @Musclenerd chimed in saying,
Though of course this is no indication of whether or not a jailbreak is in the near future, it is still comforting to know somewhere some kind of work is being done on the much coveted iOS 6 jailbreak we hoped would have come already.
In addition to @MuscleNerd's little ray of hope, we also saw @planetbeing tease us momentarily with the fact that he had done some security research while away at the convention.
In his standard joking manner, he tweeted:
By the way, the only productive thing I did yesterday jetlagged was to figure out there was no major kernel changes in 6.0.2.
— planetbeing (@planetbeing) December 28, 2012
Let’s hope that while the Dream Team members met up in Hamburg, perhaps a little of that time was spent working on the jailbreak.
In the meantime, however, many people have questioned whether or not the demise of Installous could harm or help the estimated release date for a iOS 6, 6.0.1, or 6.1 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S and other non jailbroken devices. As we know, the devs are strongly against piracy, and the fact that pirating apps does run rampant in the community may be a part of the reason Cydia seems to have slumped somewhat in the recent past.
Truly, piracy does take a toll on developers and for those who frequently see their materials copied or pirated, they may be less likely to create quality tweaks, themes and other materials for the community.
In the words of iOS developer @apocolipse269
"Sad thing is, App piracy (compared to music piracy) actually hurts /real/ people... Small devs cant afford RIAA lawyers :( "
Curious to hear perspective pf those who have used pirated materials, I asked long-time jailbreak user, Taylor Baybutt, to speak to me briefly about why he pirated apps in the past. Here is what he had to say:
“As far as iOS goes, I no long pirate anything, going on 3 years or so….I would say mostly I pirated to “try before I buy” … but also, it was inspired by a lack of funds. I did not believe in paying for apps period. It is kind of like, ‘I pay for the phone, I pay for the contract, and now I have to buy these little things too?”
This candid answer seems to mirror what many who pirate may feel. However, Taylor was good enough to tell me where the turning point in his piracy came.
“That all changed probably about the time I got my first real job and released my first and only app.”
This makes sense as, for the first time, he may have begun to see the work developers invest only to have it disregarded and stolen by those who lack appreciation for, or understanding of the task of developing apps.
When asked how he thought piracy might be curbed, Taylor went on to offer this statement:
“It is a huge oversight to not have a built in trial function in both the AppStore and Cydia. It would be very easy to implement, and some Devs have their own methods. Think of the AppStore ratings prompt, that could just ask you to purchase. It is hard to say if sales would go up or down from this. On the one hand you could see people finding out an app sucks and not purchasing it but on the other, people might be more inclined to try an app that costs 7.99 or more. I'll also throw out there that the iOS pirating community is a very innovative and resourceful one. I have come across a lot interesting tweaks on their sites that had nothing to do with pirating.”
Truly these are all things developers should consider when creating apps, themes, or tweaks if they would like to lower their chances of being pirated. Still, this will not take care of the entire problem, and it may be some of the reason we are seeing developers leave the jailbreak community.
Though piracy may certainly play its role, one thing is certain: If a jailbreak for iOS 6 does not emerge soon, it’s possible we could be seeing the jailbreak community begin to die off. At this time the scene certainly seems a bit bleak, but perhaps with the start of this New Year we’ll see some new blood, new ideas, and a new jailbreak for iPhone 5, 4S and other non jailbroken devices running iOS 6. Myself, I have recently seen some signs that point at hope, but then those will have to wait for another article, as this one is far to long already :)
Until next time, remain patient, remain hopeful. Happy 2013
Breaking News Update 01/03/12 --Jailbreak iOS 6 News: Absinthe Creator To Resume Work On Untethered Jailbreak While Sending A Message To Apple
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