Those devoted to cracking Apple's iPhone have outdone themselves, breaking the latest beta release of version 3.0 of the OS within a couple of days and well before anyone outside the testing community is even using the software.
Version 3 of the iPhone OS offers distinct improvements, including the much-discussed cut-and-paste functionality, but is currently only (officially) available to developers who have paid their dues. The fact that such developers are banned by contract from working on jailbreaking software makes the swift crack all the more remarkable.
Apple keeps a strong hand on iPhones, only permitting users to install approved software purchased from Apple - with the (not unreasonable) claim that this improves security and simplicity. But those who rate freedom higher than those priorities have the option to "jailbreak" their handsets, allowing them to install any software they like without being beholden to the boys in Cupertino.
Apple has recently changed tack in dealing with the jailbreaking community - making developers agree not to create applications for jailbroken handsets, with the threat of being denied official channels if they are caught, and if Apple can dry up the available applications then users will have no reason to jailbreak their handsets, even if it becomes technically easy.
There will still be some developers prepared to annoy Apple in the name of freedom, but most need to put bread on the table and won't support a community whose primary motivation is the use of stolen software. So while jailbreaking may become technically easy the reasons to do so could quickly dry up. ®