Those of you disheartened because your older iPhone or iPod Touch won't support iOS 5 have an "unofficial" alternative.
Available for free, a piece of software dubbed Whited00r can install a custom edition of iOS 5.1 on the iPhone 2G and 3G as well as the iPod Touch 1G and 2G. The software works by tapping into the Restore feature directly through iTunes. And it automatically includes the latest release of Cydia to jailbreak your device. So unlike other hacks, Whited00r isn't too difficult to set up.
Most of the key features that iOS 5 users know and love are available through the latest version of Whited00r, including folders, multitasking, reminders, Newsstand, and even iCloud. There is one limitation. You can't access the app for Apple's App Store to directly download content, though Whited00r does offer an "alternative AppStore" with iOS 3 compatible apps.
To grab the program, first choose your device from the site's download page and then click on the appropriate link for the 5.1 version.
After throwing an ad page and a Captcha at you, Whited00r displays a link where you download the software as a ZIP file. Unzipping it reveals a text file and the actual program in the form of a standard IPSW file, which contains the firmware for the operating system.
You then open iTunes with your device plugged in. Click on the Restore button while holding the Alt key on a Mac or the Shift key on a Windows PC, select the IPSW file, and Whited00r will carry on with the process from there, suggesting that you set up your device as a new iPhone or iPod.
And as with any hack, you'll want to proceed with caution. Even the folks behind Whited00r advise first backing up your data and then doing a clean install of the software. Though any process like this entails some risk, those of you looking to give a modern touch to an older iPhone or iPod Touch may find Whited00r worth trying.