Mac OS X users have been happily "pwning" their iPhones for weeks, Windows users have been shut out until today. The iPhone Dev Team has now worked to produce a Windows-based beta of the Pwnage tool, which is still buggy and doesn't support pre-release builds of iPhone OS 2.0.
To recap, the Pwnage tool exploits a low-level vulnerability in the iPhone?s boot process to allow the installation of custom OS files. The potential ramifications are huge: pwnage could embody a future-proof method for unlocking and activating iPhones, immune from Apple's countermeasures.
The most relevant advancement realized via Pwnage thus far is the ability bypass installation roadblocks instated by Apple. This has allowed users to install pre-release versions of the iPhone OS, such as OS 2.0, which normally requires expressed authorization and a special signature from Apple. With a pre-release copy of iPhone OS 2.0 leaked to various file-sharing repositories, many users have made the premature leap. This isn't yet possible with the beta version of "winpwn," though that capability should be delivered soon.
For now, winpwn is good for jailbreaking/unlocking firmware files before loading them to the iPhone, and performing other custom modifications to firmware -- an exercise with few practical applications so far.