To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

Summary: Apple is taking steps, via a patent, to brick jailbroken iphones but that's not something Apple should be doing.

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Apple is taking steps via the patent office to keep iPhone owners from "jailbreaking" their devices, a practice the that U.S Copyright Office declared last month to no longer be a violation of federal copyright law but one that remains a warranty breaker as far as Apple is concerned.

A CNET post over the weekend sifted through the details of the patent, which was originally filed in February 2009 but published last week. In a nutshell, the patent covers security measures that essentially protects devices from thieve and other "unauthorized users." From the CNET post:

Unauthorized users apparently applies to those who engage in jailbreaking, which allows devices to run apps not approved by the company producing the operating system--such as Apple, the main target of such bypasses.The application, which was filed in February 2009 and published Thursday, describes measures to identify "particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior," so that "safety measures" can be taken to restrict the device's functions. Those activities include the "hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking, or removal of a SIM card," according to the application. Apple also intends to send warnings to owners via e-mail or text message when such activity is detected.

Of course, I can appreciate what Apple is doing by trying to protect its customers. No one wants unauthorized charges and certainly customers want to block thieves from seeing their personal data. But why should that include jailbreaking? Who is Apple trying to protect me from? Myself?

If I want to jailbreak an iPhone so I can use it on another carrier and, as an adult, I understand the risks involved with taking that action, is it really Apple's place to stop me? After all, I own the phone. It's mine. I bought it. If I want to scrape my name into the back of it with a razor blade or paint it bright red, I should be able to do anything I want to do with it. And that includes jailbreaking.

Would I really jailbreak an iPhone? Not really. Who needs the headaches that go with that? But that's for me to decide, not Apple. Apple did its part by reminding iPhone owners that jailbreaking would void the warranty. That's where it should end.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility, Smartphones

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68 comments
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  • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

    It's only going to hurt Apple in the long run if they keep running roughshod over their users like this.
    roteague
    • Yeah. Those iPhone sales numbers are really taking

      a pounding. Oh. Wait. They're not. Because most people don't jailbreak their phones.
      frgough
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @frgough And that might be because this patent is not in use as of yet. I own an iPhone 3G, I would like to get an iPhone 4 but with the purchase of a new house the funds aren't quite there yet but when I do purchase a new iPhone I should be able to do with it as I please including jailbreaking it if I so desire. Apple lost the the ruling that made jailbreaking a legal thing to do on the iPhone and so now they turn around and do this. Yes as a matter of fact this does influence my decision to buy a new iPhone if this patent is in use.

        Apple needs to spend less time worrying about jailbreakers and more time adding things to the iOS that people are jailbreaking their iPhones for - like themeing and other GUI tweaks and the ability to get apps from other sources to name 2 items. And with the older devices things like wallpapers, video capabilities, plus the above (things which I can do with a jailbroken iPhone 3G that I can't with an iPhone 3G running the stock iOS).

        So yeah, if this patent is in use, Apple lost one sale for sure...
        athynz
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @athynz
        Considering the patent was filed in Feb 2009 your argument that this was in "response" to their recent loss in the ruling on jailbreaking doesn't stand up to even casual scrutiny.
        oncall
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @frgough Actually it's not that they don't jailbreak their phones. They just don't give a **** whatever Apple is doing or trying to do. They just want Apple product, not to marry it. Why do they need to care about what Apple does? Apple can mass murder people and we are still buying its products.
        Dealing
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @frgough
        Two days ago I ordered my Android phone (for this and a couple other reasons). After 18 months of playing the cat and mouse game of keeping my brain-dead 3G jailbroken it's time to have fun with a different platform.

        Although they are far from hurtin' yet, the churn will eventually hurt Apple. I won't be surprised if Microsoft WP7 is very successful in Europe and Asia, eventually adding to the momentum (away from Apple) in the US.
        Schoolboy Bob
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @oncall Sure it does - This is part two of a war between Apple and the jailbreakers... Apple has been against jailbreaking from the beginning so their filing of the patent in Feb 09 fits right in with the increased popularity due to the 3G and the introduction of the App Store and the rise in jailbroken devices. My statement may not stand up to casual scrutiny such as you gave it but dig deeper and you'll find the logic.
        athynz
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @frgough
        has less to do with jailbreaking and more to do with public perception. Over time apple will tarnish their own image a little at a time. And just because a small percentage does jailbreak and a majority does not, does not mean that the small percentage should be treated like criminals.

        Its always easy to say "we're doing this to protect our customers". Thats the best way of saying "screw you guys, I'm going to do whatever I want and you can't do anything about it". You know steve had a temper tantrum when jailbreaking was ordered legal. He can't just sit still.
        rengek
      • most people don't jailbreak their phones

        @frgough
        Good point! I am a technology geek and when I was young and foolish I was excited to operate the computer from the front panel at bit level (yes, most of you don't even know what that means, because your are so young, but to say the least, command line is for sissies). Today I don't care about that anymore and I don't care to make any non-standard changes on my gear.

        And there are plenty of people like who are capable of jailbreaking but value too much of their time not to do it.

        Does anyone have any dependable numbers what share of iPhone users do jailbreaking? I mean, is disallowing jailbreaking really a major issue?
        kisap
    • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

      @roteague it hurts only jailbreakers lol. Jailbreakers are the freeloaders that Apple can do without.
      m3kw9
      • IMHO

        @m3kw9

        It doesn't even hurt the jailbreakers unless Apple's "intent" is to brick iPhone's that have been legally jailbroken by their owners. That they indeed "intend" to do this and go against a recent court ruling and engender public outcry (witness the Kindle incident) remains to be seen. My "opinion" here is no they won't but obviously there are folks here who have already decided otherwise. But, any claims here about what Apple really intends to do is pure speculation.
        oncall
      • re:IMHO

        @oncall

        Seems to me, if Apple decides to Brick Jailbroken iPhones after the courts deemed it legal, they might be in for a law suit.
        Badgered
      • Exactly!

        @Badgered

        Indeed, if they improperly implemented half the things in this patent without the users permission they would be buried alive in lawsuits. These discussions are amazingly silly because a few people are under some weird assumption that filing a patent for something makes its implementation legal and acceptable in all cases. Like because I may have filed a patent for a gun it makes it legal and acceptable to use it however I damn well please.

        P.S. As I said elsewhere, people have no imagination here. They think of only the bad, but can you imagine good uses for this? How about medicine (my particular field)? A portable medical chart that knows when it has been picked up by an unauthorized user and immediately locks out all confidential patient information. How about military, R&D, etc? Casual jailbreakers?! Yeah right! Like they wish they were that important.
        oncall
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @m3kw9 you are stupid -if HP sold a pc and said it will stop working if you install software that you got from anyone but them -or better yet if Microsoft made a new version of windows that would not allow you to install any software that you did not get from them there would be a anti-trust suit for sure.I like Apple products for the most part but this is just plain wrong.if you want to buy all your software from apple that is fine -but how dare they tell anyone you are only allowed to buy software from us that we have deemed ok(and profit from).I will not buy any apple products until the courts file and win a anti-trust suit against them for trying to control the iphone market.
        dave0420
      • freeloader??

        @m3kw9

        how exactly is someone who [b]purchased[/b] a $600 phone a freeloader?
        erik.soderquist
      • RE: To jailbreak or not to jailbreak: That shouldn't be Apple's decision

        @m3kw9 <b>it hurts only jailbreakers lol. Jailbreakers are the freeloaders that Apple can do without. </b><br><br>Who the **** are you calling a "freeloader" you cum guzzling gutter *****? Freeloaders? Because jailbreakers want more and expect more from the iOS? Because jailbreaking gives us more options like another source for apps that Apple has no control over like say Google Vocie? Because jailbreaking gives the user more control and ability to completely customize the GUI? Because jailbreaking gives older model iPhones such as the 2G and 3G thing like video recording and editing, zoom, folders (for those not running iOS4 or incapable of running iOS 4), and more?<br><br>Tell me you moronic troll, how the hell are jailbreakers freeloaders? But I doubt you have any sort of comeback or lack the stones to back up your trolling claims.
        athynz
  • headaches with jailbreaking?

    If Justin Long can handle it, I'm quite sure any reasonably intelligent person can as well.
    rtk
  • Why not?

    People keep buying their stuff, so why change?
    Economister
  • The average "consumer" has left Apple little choice.

    In my observations, which should not be construed in any way, shape, or fashion as being scientific, the majority of
    consumers hold the manufacturers of virtually ANYTHING liable for EVERYTHING that could possibly go wrong, even if it is due to user incompetence/misuse. It's part of what I've been calling "Walmartitis", owing from the days of yore when I observed people returning items in various stages of disrepair to Walmart for refund/exchange...even when the items were not purchased from Walmart. Those same people expect the absolute lowest price as well...not only from Walmart, but all retailers. If the majority of purchasers of Apple, or any retailer, goods expect a "no-questions asked" return policy, it encourages those retailers to act in ways to limit their potential losses by rather Draconian measures.
    I'm not saying it's the "right thing to do", it probably isn't, but I can understand the thought process. The part I do not understand is the patent...unless Apple has developed a unique method of performing the functions they have proposed, I can see where others may claim a "prior art" conflict.
    wizard57m-cnet
  • For Once, I Can't Defend Apple

    If I purchase the item, I can do whatever I damn well please...<br><br>If I purchase a Dell laptop, will Dell deactivate it if I put Linux on it? How about Windows Server 2008? Heaven forbid I buy an item and then modify it to do something else and I OWN IT.<br><br>If I buy a new car and mod it, will the DMV shut my car down and take the keys away?<br>Same with the iPhone, if I purchase one out of contract and jailbreak it to use on another network, it is MY IPHONE. It's not Steve Jobs phone. It's MY PHONE.<br><br>This is one case where I have to side with the customer, Steve Jobs has taken this way too far.
    cyberslammer