Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

Summary: Will the recent EFF ruling break Apple's Monopoly on iOS Application Stores?

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Will the recent EFF ruling break Apple's Monopoly on iOS Application Stores?

As reported by ZDNet Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan this afternoon, the Electronic Frontier Foundation was able to secure special dispensations from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which now effectively legalizes SIM unlocking and Jailbreaking, the procedures which "Free" cell phones and mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad from a carrier lock as well as permit the installation of applications outside of Apple's App Store.

Larry feels that the immediate impact of this ruling will do very little, at least immediately, to alter the application landscape for iOS devices. But I'm not so sure.

If Jailbreaking and unauthorized applications for iOS are now "legalized", that takes a large portion of the the stigma and the psychological barrier of illegality away, even if the procedure itself voids the warranty of the iPhone and the iPad. To date, it is estimated that approximately 10 million iOS devices have been "Jailbroken" and are in current use.

De-stigmafying Jailbreaking may very well jumpstart a cottage industry of 3rd-party "App Stores" which could provide all sorts of applications which would never see the light of day on iOS, such as Adobe's Flash.

Given this new ruling, Adobe could, in effect, provide its own App and Jailbreaker which could install Flash libraries, AIR, and any number of other applications that would normally never pass Apple's highly restrictive review processes.

Cydia, a well known underground "App Store" could now become a legitimate business, offering completely legal business transactions with 3rd party app purchases and downloads as well as provide a real, paid support model, whereas previously it could only support via best-effort through the community as Open Source.

Cydia already supports PayPal-based purchases for iOS applications hosted on external "Repository" downloads, much in the same fashion that Linux supports external package feeds using Debian APT, but now the developer, Jay Freeman, known to the community as Saurik, could very well host its own store without fear of reprisal from Apple.

If not Freeman himself, any enterprising individual or company could combine the Open Source Cydia store application with a brain-dead-easy Jailbreaker and accompanying support model could step in and fill the 3rd-party void.

Immediately, I see firms like MiKandi, which currently offers 3rd-party adult apps for Android, looking towards these sorts of solutions for iOS.

Still, while Jailbreaking remains an unsupported and warranty-invalidating activity only the more adventurous users will probably begin freeing themselves from Apple Cylon Tyranny.

However, hope for forcing Apple into a more capitulating position could very well arise in the form of the current class action lawsuit that is set to proceed against the company in Federal court in the State of California, which is attacking Apple as well as AT&T for alleged monopolistic practices of carrier and application store lock-in.

Additionally, the Justice Department itself is currently investigating Apple in an expanded probe related to the changes to its SDK which effectively locked out Adobe and other ISVs from using 3rd-party APIs and other unapproved developer libraries on Apps submitted to the App Store. This could potentially cause the existing class action to be promoted to a broader and more significant venue if the US government itself files suit against Apple for monopolistic practices.

While we might not see action brought against Apple for quite some time, the foundation for an unrestricted iOS and fully sanctioned and supported 3rd-party App Stores for iOS is in the process of being laid down. Today's EFF victory will likely be remembered as the cornerstore in that effort, years from now.

Are legal, supported 3rd-party App Stores on the horizon for iOS devices? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPhone, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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Talkback

34 comments
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  • It'll still be only for the techies...

    If Cydia isn't installed out of the box on an iPhone, and if you have to invest an hour or so of your time to jailbreak the phone, with the risk that if something goes wrong, you're SOL, I don't see the masses flocking to this. I've had jailbroken iPhones before, and the crashes, problems, etc. that were introduced far outweighed the advantages. What it did (in my case) was drive me away from Apple's draconian tactics and towards Android and openess. Now I have a better phone (Nexus One), freedom and all the standard features I had to hack my iPhone to get, as standard (ie. Wifi Tethering, etc.). I see those that end up with jailbroken iPhones regretting the decision, and eventually being driven away from iPhones to Android devices.
    myles@...
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      @myles@...

      Two comments....

      1. Jailbreaking has been for most (unless you want to switch carriers) a relatively painless process, very similiar to updating the iOS.

      2. What is to stop Adobe and the ability of it's latest software from creating an running a flash app store. Marry that to saurik's endeavor and you have significant potential.
      Especially as word progresses about the abilities of a jb device.

      I see jbing an iDevice in the near future being very pain free and user simple.
      rhonin
      • Yes, but jailbroken phones = malware

        @zenwalker<br><br>The shmucks who write the code to jailbreak a iPhone don't do it for free, nor out of the goodness of their hearts... That jailbreaking SW installs malware, keylogger, backdoors, etc. <br><br>A 3rd party app store for jailbroken iPhones would be as riddled with cr@p as Pirate Bay and all the rest of the torrent sites. Que the cr@pware thats buggy and full of malware, spinning processes, etc. Yeah, that's a great idea... For the brain dead.<br><br>And seriously all you haters, Roid phones suck... Yearly updates (if your phone just happens to be included and is capable). Less than half the Apps run on any given Roid... Crashes and reboots... You can't spell Android without "roid". And the irony is that they really are a royal pain in the butt.<br><br>People are tired of cr@pware, malware, poorly coded programs that run slower than a geriatric with a pace maker. People want programs that have passed quality control, that run clean, that they don't have to tweak and mess with. They want all the quality and ease a walled garden offers.
        i8thecat
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @i8thecat Stay in your little walled garden because you are too ignorant and misinformed to be allowed out in public. You don't know a damn thing about Android except what the Apple marketing/hype machine is feeding you. It's pretty sad how badly they have brainwashed you.
        StupidTechZealots-23432415690276115908309621553360
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      @myles@...
      Took me 30second to jail brake my Ipad.
      faulk6
  • Now that its legal to Jailbreak an iPad

    will you jailbreak your iPad, Jason? You could then run Flash apps on your iPad and your readers might get a future report detailing how the battery life was affected by those Flash apps and if those apps caused undo "crashes" to the system as well. I, for one, would be interested in that blog report.
    Mike
    kenosha77a
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      @kenosha7777 I'll wait after the warranty expires, probably. If a new iPad comes out in February/March I'll probably use my older generation unit for that sort of thing. I bought it on an AMEX platinum so that gives me six months instead of three.
      jperlow
      • Three months?

        @jperlow

        You mean the Apple warranty only covers the "magical" iPad for three months? If Apple makes such superior, high quality products why don't they back them up with better warranties? To me that indicates a lack of faith in their own products and little concern for their customers.
        jlongino@...
      • Are you retarded jlongino???

        Is it that hard to use a search engine or go to the Apple store and see that the iPad comes with a 1 year warranty... Duh...

        And if you buy Applecare for 99 bucks, you can extend it for another year, and have unlimited tech support for the entire time.

        There is no excuse for stupidity dude... none.
        i8thecat
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @i8thecat

        My question was in response to jperlow's message, which implies--as I read it--to say that his credit card double his warranty (3 to 6) months. Obviously something doesn't add up.

        As for you, it's pretty apparent from your responses (and I have seen them for a long time now) that you are in fact the hater you so vehemently spout off about in your above reply. Your rants make you look like a psychopath. "retarded? duh, stupidity, schmucks, brain dead, And seriously all you haters, roid phones suck". You managed all that in two posts. Who's the real hater here? Take some prozac and eat another cat or two.
        jlongino@...
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      @kenosha7777 What on earth are you blathering about? I run Flash content on my Nexus One and have great battery life.

      Stop spreading FUD
      Droid101
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @Droid101
        My post was not an attempt at an Adobe Flash Flame war. Apple's official stance regarding it's refusal to allow Flash on it's mobile devices included references to unacceptable battery performance and a history of iOS crashes brought about by Flash instability on mobile devices.

        I sought an independent third party report regarding Flash performance on an iPad. And I've come to respect Jason Perlow's reports.

        If you have any detailed Flash based performance data on an iPad device, I would be interested in reading about it.

        As for myself, Flash content played on my late model MacBook will cause my laptop's system fan to operate at a higher speed setting .. an observation other Apple users are well familiar with.
        kenosha77a
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @Droid101

        calm down dude!
        this is strictly to get jp to see if running flash apps - not specifically flash itself, on an idevice and report on battery life and any apparent "crash" issues.

        A comparison between that and the message SJ and Apple are sending would be great!.
        rhonin
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @kenosha7777 I think he sensed the underhanded message that you intended as an Apple Fan to discredit Flash running on iPlatform devices. That your message as a known Apple fan had more to do with how FLASH doesn't run on iMacs, Macbooks, etc... that you just exposed yourself. But people like you refuse to believe that Apple has anything to do with how FLASH runs on it's OS or computing products as a competitor. When Apple has repeatedly refused to grant source access to their OS-X code, that even Microsoft has given Adobe. How can you expect but to get a crippled product for your users if that company refuses to co-operate in it's development on your platform?

        Case in point we are talking about two companies with competing products in Quicktime and Flash. Both are cross platform proprietary runtime environments for multimedia. Apple has been known to cripple it's competitors products on their OS's in the past, on top of not granting access to source code to enable these products to run properly. They have never competed fairly and that's just a matter of fact!

        They are either prohibiting you from running their OS's like iOS or OS-X on any other hardware or giving it's competitors dumbed down versions of browsers, media players with nagware, iTunes that perform poorly on competing OS products if at all like on Linux. It's a fact both iTunes and Quicktime run like crap on Windows machines and they use it to keep trying to pressure us non-brain washed people into buying a Mac instead. Apple is 10 times more diabolically evil than Microsoft has ever been!

        They're fine with running a proprietary format that they made or that they support, like H.264. We're becoming more aware everyday that they aren't the true supporters of real Open Source or Open Standards even though they use them and say they are. WebM is now as Open as you can get with the same license they started out with as FreeBSD in their OS. They have no excuse not to support it with everybody else on the planet including Microsoft allowing it's use on their products. It's Open Source for God Sake like Free, as in Free Beer and Pizza. What normal American is going to refuse that? A devilish ignoramus like Steve iHitler Jobs... that's who!!!

        Right now FLASH is not shrinking in use. But rather increasing use by content providers taking advantage of it under full hardware acceleration in version 10.1! ....but Adobe can only do so much in making their products run on such a locked down closed idiotic imbecilic OS like OS-X. They can't force Apple to use GPU's that support FLASH 10.1 or to give them co-operative support to allow it to run better on OS-X. All the major networks and corporate web sites are using it now including NBC, CBS, etc. Almost everything on My Space and Facebook uses it. YouTube and many social networking sites use it and only dim witted iNazis refuse to acknowledge that it runs on 90% of the web. Apple isn't even the ones paying for it in any way nor are their own users, they're just mad because it's not them making money off of it. But because it's been a competing format for 15yrs Apple still thinks they can win by forcing iTunes shoppers to use it and every iPad & iPhone buyer, when they are still the ones that lost in the last go around. They are bound to lose using the same idiotic tactics they used in the first round. For me? ....I will never use Quicktime (Quicktime Alternative is far better) and I will NEVER BUY or use iTunes on my hardware well into my dying days!

        There are now over a dozen jail breaking tools and some are pay for like this one that includes the Jail Break and dual booting Android on iPhone with Money back guarantee!

        http://www.androidoniphone.com/

        You can now also buy iPads and iPhones that are already jail broken on ebay and this is going to be a boon to that industry with more people than ever taking advantage of using the full power of their iPlaform devices! .....with Android 2.2 installed that will be awesome on any of their devices!!!
        i2fun@...
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      i2fun@...
      I know what you have written will be shrugged off by the apple extremists as pure imagination, but I'd like to back you up and say to them that there is truth in what you say, take the time to actually listen and consider they may have been lied to!

      Yes Apple is not an open system and it has not a very good reputation when it comes to playing fair... Note we are not talking about Apples products, we are talking about the way they do things to make an artificial situation that makes people think they are getting something they are not.

      I too use Quicktime Alternative because it doesn't have the deliberate coding to make it perform worse on non-apple computers, and itunes has been the biggest single repeated cause of problems on PC's that I have had to deal with over the years, and I find the whole locked down iTunes store absolutely abhorrent, it still staggers me that people think its OK in this day and age.

      I'm not anti-apple products at all, I just don't like the baggage that they inflict on you. I brought an iTouch just recently for my son, not to use as a mp3 player, - that would mean having to use iTunes which is baned from this residence, and he has a better MP3 player anyway that also has drag and drop as well as better sound quality etc- (yes apple do not make the best mp3 players by a long shot), but as a portable web browser, reason? its the best value good quality device for that! - hows that for irony.
      like wise the main reasons why I haven't brought an iPad is in order of importance:
      1) Having to use the iTunes store to load any apps
      2) Not having flash
      3) Initial price too high, (will reduce in time)
      4) No USB port

      Anyway I agree with your comments fully.
      toviz@...
  • @kenosha7777 re Flash

    I'm sure you remember that the Flash build for Mac is considerably unoptimized compared to what exists on Windows:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/web-video-showdown-flash-vs-quicktime-vs-windows-media/13176?tag=footer

    I would expect that given that Adobe has access to full Android source I would expect the Linux kernel optimization with the hardware drivers to perform better than a comparative iOS machine.
    jperlow
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      @jperlow
      Adobe Flash will either perform flawlessly under Android or it will cease to be relevant if Google cannot make Flash "bullet proof". And, if Flash performs up to Google's expectations, then I have no doubt that its performance would indeed be better than on a comparative iOS machine.
      As a personal observation, my MacBook is host to three operating systems (two running under Parallels virtualization.) The Linux version of Chrome runs in my virtualized Ubuntu version far faster than my native Mac Chrome under Snow Leopard. If truth be told, "Linux Chrome" under virtualization even runs faster than native Safari under OSX. Because of that, I'd use "Linux Chrome" on my system as my default OSX browser except that it take two minutes to boot into Ubuntu.
      But, unlike you, I will not switch to a native Linux system regardless of its technical merits. The Apple ecosystem, taken as a whole, performs everything I need it to do without "fuss" or "bother" and so I will remain an Apple "happy camper" for the foreseeable future.
      kenosha77a
      • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

        @kenosha7777

        Been running it on a Nexus One on froyo 2.2 and it has been working flawlessly.

        I've given up waiting for a crash...
        rhonin
  • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

    @kenosha7777: Flash apps on my high-end laptop PC will also lag horribly sometimes, and often use the fan as if it was a 3D shooter with plenty of Shaders to compile. For me, it's not only a Mac problem.
    atari_z
    • RE: Will Cydia, Adobe become the Other App Stores for iPhone and iPad?

      And my laptop handle without problems recent FPS at maximum settings. Which explains why I'm always a little cautious about Flash
      atari_z