Yet another milestone has been past today in the continuing saga over jailbreaking Apple devices.
Apple has engaged in an aggressive campaign to lock out jailbreakers, or at least limit their market-wide effectiveness. Both the iPhone 3GS and current-generation iPod touch models require that Apple’s servers sign each and every iPhone software update installed, adding the requirement of an internet connection to each iPhone OS update. This process works similar to Windows activation, but is used to prevent downgrading of Apple firmwares, to an earlier version where an exploit may exist.
Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, creator of both Cydia and the Cydia EDID database, today announced that over one million iPhone 3GS and current-gen iPod touch units have been registered, thus ensuring that those users can maintain the ability to downgrade their firmware. The EDIDs stored span iPhone OS 3.1 through 3.1.3.
“Cydia’s “ECID on-file”, what may be the largest scale (public) MITM-attack ever (>1m devices), now stores nearly-live point-in-time backups.” – Via Twitter
Despite over a million users of the service, Apple may still be achieving their goals with the anti-jailbreaking campaign. Third-parties wishing to sell software that Apple doesn’t approve of now face a fractured marketplace, with additional technical barriers to entry. No more can a developer tell an end-user to simply “jailbreak it”, especially considering that new/replacement iPhone and iPod touch units do not benefit from Cydia’s man-in-the-middle potential… at least, not until another new exploit is exposed.
Meanwhile, the media is forced to continue covering these developments, which do not affect other platforms such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, or Palm’s webOS; those three platforms do not require jailbreaking. Arguably, Apple benefits from drawing out the jailbreaking saga by making more nuances that can be covered in the media. Boot Camp would be another example of this process, where Apple’s share price saw a one-day 10% gain simply be enabling a feature that was already built-in to Intel-based Macintosh models for a full four months.