Apple's new iTunes surprise: No more jailbreaking

The company seems to be crippling the jailbreaking of iPhones with its new MacBooks, driving would-be jailbreakers to try...Windows.

You just bought a new MacBook Pro. You can't wait to pull it out of the box and sync it with your shiny new iPhone. Perhaps you travel abroad a lot, and you can't afford to pay AT&T's insane international roaming rates (Who can?). Or perhaps you have an application that Apple won't provide you through its App Store but that can be installed on a jailbroken phone.

If you have a new MacBook, you may be out of luck. If you have Windows, however, you should be fine. The irony is stifling.

Gizmodo is reporting that Apple has found a novel way to prevent the jailbreaking of its iPhones, one that no cracking of the iPhone firmware is going to fix. This time, Apple apparently is using a custom build of iTunes in the newest MacBook line to stymie attempts to jailbreak iPhones:

The new aluminum MacBooks...don't seem to be able to recognize an iPhone or iPod Touch when it is booted into DFU mode, a vital requirement for jailbreaking...Though the hardware is where one sees the most conspicuous changes in the new MacBook, this problem most likely stems from a subtle software modification. It's not clear what specifically changed, but a new build of iTunes, unique to the new MacBooks, seems like a likely culprit.

In this iPhone cat-and-mouse game, Apple seems to be turning to ever more ingenious methods to keep cash rolling in the door. Customers? Well, their best bet for circumventing Apple's wily ways is to jailbreak the iPhone using Windows-based iTunes.

How ironic (and sad) is that? The more we buy into Apple, the less freedom. Sounds like Microsoft, doesn't it? This time, however, it's worse, because Apple also controls the hardware.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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