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Now, from the headline there, you are probably expecting me to go into some rant about how it should be okay to tamper with Apple’s software because you are paying for the phone anyway. Nope, not gonna go there. So what’s the point in starting with such a controversial topic? Well, hopefully over the next few paragraphs, I can explain further.
Apple is claiming that jailbreaking an iPhone will allow the user unlimited uncontrolled access to the cell towers, essentially giving them the ability to make free phone calls. Yes, this is somewhat true, but HIGHLY misconstrued. With a jailbroken phone, you COULD make free phone calls, and this has some cell providers very nervous. Google is working hard to bring their new service, Google Voice, to cell phones everywhere. And why shouldn’t they? It’s a great service that allows you to be reachable on a single phone number, no matter where in the World you might be. It’s like Skype times 2. Cell phone services like AT&T are worried about this, thinking that it will pull their customers away. What AT&T are not realizing is that yes, while a user can have Google Voice for making phone calls, they are still going to require some sort of data service to make it usable in non-WiFi locations. So yeah, WiFi seems to be everywhere these days. Have you tried to actually connect to any available City-wide WiFi services and use a streaming service like Skype Voice? You may as well be using 2 cans and some string… work out the math when you have a thousand or so people on wireless… you might rank just slightly better than dial-up… if you’re lucky. Don’t worry yourselves AT&T, people are still going to need your service… though I’m starting to wonder why.
Apple claims that jailbreaking their phones will give users unrestricted access to the insides of the phone’s Operating System. Yep, that is actually true, and likely results in a lot of hard resets. But only the dumbest of the dumb would actually go in there and screw around with something they don’t understand. Okay, yeah, that sums up a good 80% of the population it seems (with a +/- of 15%, but those are the same people who take the cover off their electrical outlets so they can find out where the electricity comes from, and wake up an hour later in an ambulance commenting on how they didn’t think it would hurt to use a screwdriver on the screw with a wire attached. Only the more educated and understanding of users would actually even know how to get into the operating system (here’s a hint for the lower-evolved… it doesn’t require opening the phone case), and what to do once they were in there.
Yes, Apple has every right to say to the user that jailbreaking is not allowed. Heck, they’re right now trying to get the DMCA ammended to include jailbreaking as a form of copyright infringement (huh?). But what harm is coming from the end user getting all the use out of their phone as they can? The iPhone and iPod Touch have the opportunity to be the elite in PDA’s… what they don’t have is the functionality to be as big as they could be. For everything you want the phone to do, you need to track down an App for it. Can’t find one in iTunes because Apple already has a program that does something a little simular (I’m looking in your direction, Firefox)? Tough luck then. Maybe you have the coding skills to make an App that does exactly what you want… you’ll need to pay Apple for the right to make it, then the right to install it on your own phone… all this being based on whether Apple even approves the App in the first place. Windows Mobile and RIM allow any user to install any program they want… yet Apple is locked right down.
When a user wants to jailbreak their phone, it’s not so they can screw over Apple, or pull one over on their cell service provider… it’s so that they can receive the functionality that the iPhone is capable of providing but that Apple has decided you don’t deserve. It’s so users can install the Apps that THEY need, and not the Apps that Apple has told them they want. If a user wants to install a program on the phone so that they can receive greater functionality from it, why not let them? They know the BS about taking chances on it not working… let them make their own decisions.
While I would not go so far as some by comparing Apple to Hitler and the SS Army, I will go far enough to compare them to Microsoft (*shock* *gasp* *oh, the horror!*). While Apple as long claimed to be the representation of all that is cool and hip with the computing world, they have begun to slip and fall from grace. I guess things get lonely at the top. While Microsoft is working to escape their Monopoly claims and work with the users to bring them what they want and need, Apple is moving in the opposite direction. Prime example, the OS that the iPhone and iPod Touch run on is a trimmed down version of Unix, which in itself began as open source programming. Now, you can’t even look at your own folders on it without jailbreaking the phone/iPod and using a third party program to browse the system.
So now I come back to the beginning… why you should jailbreak the iPhone. Up to this point, I imagine that you were thinking I was talking to the average reader through the article. Only partially… it’s primarily a direct address to Apple. Why should you break the iPhone? Well, because you should have already had it jailbroken when you gave it to us. Bring back the rights for the user to install what they need, and reclaim your position at the top. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to dust off all the footprints from being trampled by all the others who have passed you by.
So Apple, Google Android has what it takes… do you?