So Nate True has not just been busy knocking up his clever Speed Dial on the Home Screen hack over the last few days.  He’s also been checking under the hood of iPhone firmware 1.1.3 and finding quite a few very interesting things about it. Keep in mind that Nate is the creator of iBrickr, […]
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iPhone’s Latest Firmware Is More Secure, Ready for 3rd Party Apps

So Nate True has not just been busy knocking up hisappsscreen1 clever Speed Dial on the Home Screen hack over the last few days.  He’s also been checking under the hood of iPhone firmware 1.1.3 and finding quite a few very interesting things about it.

Keep in mind that Nate is the creator of iBrickr, one of the first to reveal firmware 1.1.3, and a hugely well-respected iPhone developer and hacker.

Here’s are some of the most interesting things he’s found in the latest firmware:

  • SpringBoard no longer needs to be modified (via SummerBoard) in order to show extra applications in the /Applications folder.
  • All applications now run as the user ‘mobile’ instead of as root.
  • Preferences are now stored in /var/mobile rather than in /var/root.

These changes are a big deal for several reasons.  First and foremost, it looks as if this current firmware version may already be all set (or very close to it) for adding 3rd party applications once the SDK comes out next month.

It also looks as if a great number of 3rd party apps (including even Installer itself) are broken by these changes, although a fix for many of them may not be too difficult.

Maybe most importantly going forward, it means the iPhone’s security model has just been improved a great deal, because all programs no longer run with root (full and complete) privileges, but instead run under the limited ‘mobile’ user account.  This is a good thing.  It will be interesting to see what sort of structure Apple comes up with for allowing certain (specially signed?) applications to have greater access to core system resources etc. on the iPhone.

These should be very interesting times for the next month or so, for iPhone application developers and all of us who follow them closely …

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