Hey … psssst. Interested in using your iPhone as a 3G laptop modem? That’s just one of the black-market iPhone apps available from various non-Apple-sanctioned outlets. Be careful though: If you go for it, Apple Inc. might soon come hunt you down like the dog you are.
There are plenty of banned-from-the-App-Store applications for the iPhone, and it turns out that they don’t just slink away and lose their zest for life after rejection. Often they crop up in unofficial marketplaces like Cydia, where users can download them anyway.
It requires the “jailbreak” of the iPhone, which is accomplished via software that cleverly bypasses Apple’s restrictions on installing non-App-Store widgets. There’s a jailbreak application that lets users run Skype over 3G, one for turning the iPhone into a video camera, and even one for letting the just-released SlingPlayer TV-to-mobile app run over 3G.
The problem, of course, is that Apple doesn’t like this, not one bit, and says it has a legal right under copyright law to dictate what the iPhone can and cannot run. It says the practice encourages piracy and leads to support issues when users call in after a jailbroken app has crashed the phone.
Apple has filed legal briefs in a court case examining these issues. The ruling is expected by October, according to the New York Times.
The whole controversy is especially piquant considering that Apple has found itself with a whole heap ‘o complaints about unfairly blocking applications.
What we wants to know is, can we get a jailbroken version of the Jesus-face app?