Hacked iPhones get Pandora-like derandomizing

Start-up Instinctiv offers an iPhone application that turns the standard iTunes-shuffling feature into something a bit more coherent. The catch: it works on unlocked iPhones only.

Instinctiv de-randomizes the random shuffle function on iPhones, but only if you "jailbreak" them first. Instinctiv

A couple weeks ago, I pondered if early adopters of the iPod and other MP3 players were starting to lose patience with the random shuffle function. Too much black and white, not enough gray.

Almost on cue, start-up Instinctiv came out on Thursday with its first application, an iPhone and iPod Touch application called Instinctiv Shuffle that will derandomize the random iTunes-shuffling feature.

Instinctiv Shuffle uses an algorithm similar to that developed by Pandora and other taste-tracking sites to select the perfect song to play next--like having a professional DJ sift through your collection.

There's a catch: Instinctiv Shuffle works only on so-called "jail-broken" iPhones, which means that you have to download the right firmware (version 1.1.4), then download and run another piece of software called iLiberty (or take matters into your own hands, if you have the technical sophistication to do so).

Doing this has risks: Apple's been known to release software updates that disable third-party applications and prevent unlocked iPhones from using alternate cellular networks. Instinctiv apparently didn't want to be bound to certain limitations in the iPhone SDK.

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About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.

     

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