Owners of iPads, iPhones and iPods running the latest version of iOS have not yet had the option to jailbreak their devices in a way that's at all worth the trouble. For those who are dying to break free of Apple's restrictions, an untethered jailbreak appears to be on the way.
On Friday, France-based iOS hacker @pod2g uploaded a video showing that he was successful in jailbreaking iOS 5.0.1 running on his iPhone 3G. This came about a month after he announced on Twitter that he had discovered a bug in iOS 5 that would make a jailbreak possible.
Jailbreaking is not something a majority of iPhone owners do, but it's ideal for a certain subset of users who like to customize their device and download apps that might be perfectly useful, but wouldn't survive Apple's rigid app submission requirements.
Currently, a tethered jailbreak does exist, but such a method requires the user to plug their iPhone, iPad or iPod into their computer every time the device gets rebooted. For those who can't tolerate living within Apple's boundaries it may suffice, but for the average user, it's a bit too inconvenient to be worth it.
Why Jailbreak Your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch?
For something that is technically forbidden by Apple, the jailbreaking community sure does seem to heavily influence the company's official software releases. Jailbreaking iOS 3 brought the ability to shoot video, add custom backgrounds and upload to YouTube. All of those things ended up in iOS 4, among much else. Similarly, jailbreaking iOS 4 meant even more customization and an all-in-one notification center that looks curiously similar to the one that ended up being included in iOS 5.
There are certain things that Apple is unlikely to ever embrace. The ability to tether one's iPhone to their laptop and piggyback on its Internet connection for free is one of them.
Other reasons to jailbreak iOS devices include the option to make FaceTime calls over 3G, unlock the phone from its original carrier, block phone calls and texts and download any number of unauthorized apps. Want to play old school video games on an NES emulator? Open your phone using facial recognition instead of a password? Fit more apps into folders? Customize colors and other design details? All of this is possible on a jailbroken device, and developers are banging out new apps all the time.
It doesn't come without its downsides, however. By casting aside Apple's restrictions, you also forgo the tight security of the App Store and the likelihood of inadvertently installing malware on your device is increased. When Apple releases new versions of the OS, you'll have to forgo updating to it or give up the jailbroken lifestyle until a new solution is released.
UPDATE:: On Sunday night, @pod2g wrote on his blog that he had successfully jailbroken iOS 5.0.1 running on an iPhone 4. No further details or instructions were posted but he assured readers that he's working jailbreaking the iPad and iPod Touch next.