This article is more than 1 year old

The iPhone's love/hate relationship with hackers

A year in the making

What you didn't get was the ability to just upload a custom application to your jail-broken iPhone and expect it to work. Apple has cunningly implemented code-signing capabilities into the new SDK. When you build your iPhone app using the latest development tools, a digital signature gets embedded into the executable file.

Without that digital signature, the app runs just fine on the iPhone simulator that's part of the SDK, but it will just thumb its nose at you if you try and run an unsigned app on the actual device.

Of course, to get the SDK to sign the app, you've got to be a fully paid up, kosher iPhone developer on Apple's official program. Personally, I don't have any big problems with this. After all, the $99 you must pay isn't going to break the bank. But it does make life more difficult for those folks who prefer to stick with the "unofficial" open-source Toolchain.

And why stick with the open-source Toolchain, I hear you cry? Check out the screenshots here to see. IntelliScreen is the name of an awesome iPhone app that takes over your "Slide to Unlock" screen.

What you can't do with the official SDK

What you can't do with Apple's official SDK

IntelliScreen won't be available from Apple's forthcoming App Store any time soon. The reason is that in order to do anything this clever on the iPhone, you have to go beyond the very restrictive set of API routines that Apple want you to use. But all the API's are accessible using open-source Toolchain.

After the first year's experiences with Apple, I foresee an increasingly fractured marketplace developing around the iPhone. In one camp you will have tons of games available from App Store and in the other, tons of very clever utilities and productivity enhancements from the rest of us.

Of course, this assumes that the likes of NerveGas and others are going to be able to jailbreak the 2.0 firmware so that you can install unsigned apps that haven't been built from the official SDK. My understanding is that this has already been done. They're just waiting for the firmware to come out.

So, happy birthday iPhone! Here's hoping that next time you get to blow out the candles some clever soul will have given you cut, copy and paste facilities. But chances are you won't be downloading that from App Store, either.®

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