The demand for unofficial third-party applications on iPhones is, by at least one account, staggering. AppSnapp, a Web-based script that jailbreaks (allows read-write access to the filesystem) iPhones running firmware/software 1.1.1 and places Installer.app -- a native iPhone application for cataloging and installing other native applications directly on the device -- has been used about 144,000 times since it was released late Sunday night. Nicholas "Drudge" Penree, one of the programmers crucial to AppSnapp's development, told iPhone Atlas that he thinks the figure represents about 100,000 actual devices.
AppSnapp is by far the easiest method yet for enabling the addition third-party applications to the iPhone. Users with "virgin" iPhones running firmware/software 1.1.1 simply navigate to a special URL (http://www.jailbreakme.com) -- preferably while using a WiFi connection -- and wait several seconds. When the "Slide to Unlock" screen appears, users have a new application on their iPhone's home screen, called "Installer," which houses a bevy of native third-party applications and can accept new repositories to list even more applications. It can download and install native apps directly to the iPhone over a WiFi or EDGE connection. (see our Applications page for more details on using Installer.app).
AppSnapp uses a security exploit related to the way the iPhone's built-in software handles TIFF images, but also patches that same flaw after the jailbreak is performed.
Interest in the tool may be driven by more than just a desire to experiment with or use general-purpose third-party iPhone applications. When used in conjunction with AnySIM.app, AppSnapp is part of a remarkably easy two-step process for unlocking the iPhone to work on wireless companies other than AT&T and other official carriers.
Despite the massive usage of AppSnapp, donations, upon which the development team relies, have so far been meager: about $1500 according to Penree.