Does Jailbreaking Still Make Sense with iOS 4.0?

iOS 4 is bringing a slew of great features to iPhone and iPod Touch. So, is there any reason to keep hacking your iPhone?

The new iOS 4 is now available to the general public, bringing a slew of great features to iPhone and iPod Touch. Multi-Tasking, along with home screen wallpapers and app folders are all features jailbreak users have been loving for a long time. Now that they're here officially, is there any reason to keep hacking your iPhone?

"Obsolete" Hardware

If you have an iPhone 3G you may have been sad to see iOS 4 would not be bringing any of the new Multi-Tasking goodness to your device. Apple claims the 3G's old ARM6 processor is not capable of running Multi-Tasking- but as jailbreakers have known for a while, the 3G has always been perfectly capable of running multiple apps simultaneously, albeit with a hack. Now that iOS 4 is out and the Dev Team has already created jailbreak tools for the new firmware, 3G users willing to tinker are now comfortably running the 3GS version of iOS- bringing Apple's own slick Multi-Tasking interface to their "obsolete" hardware. I'm fairly certain it won't run as well as on the 3GS or iPhone 4 (and I wonder the effect on battery life), which could partially explain why Apple wants users to experience Multi-Tasking on faster devices, but it sure smells like it has more to do with selling new hardware.

More Apps, Please!

Don't think the App Store has quite enough apps? Well you might need to get your head examined. But if everything checks out, then Cydia, the unofficial app store only available to jailbreakers, might be just the thing for you. Cydia contains thousands of apps that won't be approved by Apple anytime soon- sometimes this translates to unstable apps with weird UIs, but in many cases, Cydia apps deliver functionality that Apple chooses to block. With iOS 4 (especially if you have a 3GS), there are definitely fewer apps to jailbreak for, but as long as Apple hand-picks apps to be sold in their store, there will always be a niche. Dying for Flash (and don't care about stability or battery life)? Jailbreaking is still the only way.

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Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
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