Hacking the iPhone

I knew it..  I didn’t know anything about this until last week, but I should have suspected it all along.  There are clever and crafty people in the world that will try and figure out how to hack into anything. 

And they have hacked the iPhone.  I heard a while ago about how people bought iPhones from the US and got it to work on non AT&T carriers, like Australian mobile networks.

However, I didn’t realise what else this meant.  It seems that the term jailbreaking refers to the act of “hacking” into the iPhone, which lets you do 2 main things:
1) Run it on mobile networks it was originally locked to
2) Access the “computer” within the iPhone to install and run software that Apple doesn’t provide normally through its iPhone App Store

Having bought an iPhone with a plan on Optus here in Australia, I’m not really interested in the first point above.  But the second one is interesting.  People have ported all sorts of things to the iPhone.  Things that get me excited:

* MAME (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) is a program that emulates many arcade machine cabinet games.  You can now play these games on your iPhone!  More info here:  http://www.iphone-hacks.com/2008/09/29/iphone-arcade-emulator-mame4iphone-released/

* NES App is the Nintendo emulator which lets you play many old Nintendo games like Mario Brothers, Bomberman, etc.   More info here:  http://www.iphonehacks.com/2008/07/nes-app-update.html

* Even PSX, the Playstation 1 emulator, has been ported to the iPhone – http://www.appleiphoneschool.com/2007/12/28/psx4all-playstation-for-the-iphone/

* Quake.  Have you tried Cube from the iPhone App Store.  Well, someone has ported Quake to the iPhone – http://justanotheriphoneblog.com/wordpress/2008/07/27/quake-for-iphone-20-out-now/.  

One of my first thoughts was – how are you going to play these games without a directional pad and only touch?   It seems that many of these emulators display virtual controls on the screen.  In fact, some “official” games from the iPhone App Store do this too, but I find it sometimes hard to use as you can’t “feel” where your fingers are.   It seems that some people have created a shell that fits around the iPhone with gaming controls called the iControlPad!  See here for more details: http://www.icontrolpad.com/

So what are the disadvantages?  It does void your warranty (see discussion here: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1070240.html)

I’m just beginning to learn more about all of this,  but it seems that you can’t update to the latest Apple iPhone firmware and jailbreak your phone unless the people who write the jailbreakers have “hacked” the latest iPhone firmware too.   And once your phone is jailbroken, if you update your phone the official way (via iTunes), it will wipe out any custom applications you put on there.

In typical YouTube fashion – there are videos on there now that show you step by step how to do it. 

However, I’m still not totally convinced I should take the risk…

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