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Cydia: Unofficial app store takes a bite of the Apple pie

iPhone users with a jailbroken phone can now download juicy unofficial apps using the Cydia app store, launched on Friday. For how long Apple will tolerate this remains to be seen

Calling all iPhone kiddies -- it's time to break the bars of the playpen and run free. Cydia, which offers a way to access apps for jailbroken iPhones, has launched its own app store.

It was already possible to install free and paid-for apps using Cydia, but the new app store offers a friendly, Apple-like experience.

Previously, when buying an app, you were redirected to a Web page to pay via PayPal. Now you can simply tap a 'purchase' button, just like you would when using the mothership's app store.

At the moment, there's only one paid-for app available -- Cyntact, by Cydia founder Jay Freeman. It's an app for adding photos to your contact lists, and costs $1.00 (72 pence).

We found locating apps on our jailbroken iPhone much easier with the new Cydia store, and buying Cyntact was straightforward. It remains to be seen if the store can support the thousands of payments and downloads that could result if the store becomes popular.

The question is: for just how long will Apple tolerate having another's fingers in its pie? Brokerage firm Piper Jaffray estimated the Apple app store generated $150m (£110m) in sales last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Piper Jaffray has also projected sales of $800m (£580m) this year.

Apple hasn't gone after a jailbreaker yet, but a thorn like Cydia might wake the sleeping giant. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, last month, Apple filed a statement with the US Copyright Office, making the case that jailbreaking is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.