Jailbreak brings with it freedom, but also a careful, cautious approach to firmware upgrades, lest your device end up back in official firmware “jail” again. I love being jailbroken because it allows me to turn the iPhone into the device I think it’s meant to be — instead of the device that Apple and associated […]
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Will you still want to jailbreak on iPhone OS 4.0?

Jailbreak brings with it freedom, but also a careful, cautious approach to firmware upgrades, lest your device end up back in official firmware “jail” again. I love being jailbroken because it allows me to turn the iPhone into the device I think it’s meant to be — instead of the device that Apple and associated carriers deem it should be.

No one has yet announced that a jailbreak is possible on 4.0 (d’oh! Musclenerd has — that was fast), but given hackers’ track records, I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time. However, in light of yesterday’s peek at a few of the 100 new iPhone features and 1500 new developer API’s in iPhone 4.0, I may no longer need to jailbreak my device once this summer rolls around.

[Note: I haven’t really included jailbreaking as a means of unlocking the device as part of this piece, since that’s something Apple will never implement in any OS update.]


This is by no means a comprehensive look at 4.0, since yesterday’s event was really only a sneak peek of the firmware that’s to come this summer — not the complete overview of 4.0 that I had been expecting. However, I know I can probably replace some of my favourite jailbreak apps and tweaks with some of the features Apple revealed:

Snappy – Quick camera access
This could likely be replaced by a saved state or perhaps even a faster processor on the next-gen iPhone. I think the iPhone camera is pretty much as good as it gets for cellphones, but the four second load time still feels three seconds too long.

Quick Reply – replying to texts within an app
This is a shortcoming that will hopefully be addressed by the API bullet point (via TiPB) “in app SMS reply”. I have no idea how this API will work, but if it can show threaded messages in a manner similar to the jailbreak app Quick Reply, then I’ll be very happy. However, since it was shown as a Developer API and not part of the 100 new user features, we might have to wait for developers to build this functionality into their apps.

Pro Switcher – smart multitasking
I’m sure we’ll see a million posts about multi tasking on the iPhone, so I’ll keep this brief. As long as Apple’s this is nearly as fast as Pro Switcher is now, then I’m all for it. Their smart multi-tasking should also help to save major battery life when running multiple apps, since only the necessary components of background apps stay loaded when off-screen.
It remains to be seen how apps are selected for background processing, though. It has been reported that everything you’ve ever loaded will end up on that special multi-tasking dock (so it’s essentially a “recently used” list), and that sounds like it lacks the selective “backgrounding” control that Pro Switcher currently provides. It actually also sounds a lot like Windows Mobile, where you have to trust the system to manage things correctly for you.  I can run out of memory after a couple of days on my 3GS, even without loading games up, so I’m not sure I like the idea of a blanket multi-tasking approach. I’ll just have to wait and see.

OverBoard – Folders
I love Overboard, but I won’t jailbreak just to use it if Apple’s folders are flexible enough (all we know is they currently support up to 12 apps, and badges show up as exclamation marks).

SBSettings – saved state for settings?
We have yet to see how Apple will address the accessibility (or inaccessibility, if we’re making up words) of the various wireless radios on the iPhone. I’m hoping saved states should make this a bit more pallatable, letting me simply stay on the 3G radio page in Settings, so that I can quickly turn that radio on and off as needed. It isn’t ideal, but it might replace SBSettings for me.

There are still a few apps I’ll miss should I run a vanilla version of 4.0, though. Chief among them are MyWi, Notifier, and WeatherIcon. However, Apple was able to address a lot of my major usability issues with the current iPhone firmware in just one quick sneak peek. We also still haven’t seen all of the new iPhone features, and Apple might be saving some next-gen only features for the announcement of this year’s iPhone (remember how Voice Control was announced with the 3GS?).

The reason I bring this all up is not because Apple has addressed every single one of my iPhone wishes, but rather, that they may have addressed enough of them to convince me that running a stock firmware might finally feel like it’s good enough for me. How about you?

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