Are iPhone App Store Restrictions Reviving the Jailbreak Scene?

Are iPhone App Store Restrictions Reviving the Jailbreak Scene?

Ben Wilson
2 min read

Apple's dubious rejection of applications that are deemed of little utility or duplicative of built-in functionality has drawn harsh developer criticism.

In contrast, the jailbroken iPhone software market is completely unrestricted. Google's Android marketplace claims a similar unfettered approach. The unrestricted mobile application market is ground already tread by Palm, where concerns over malicious software and feature encroachment have been virtually non-existent.

The jailbroken market, after a period of infancy, is offering legitimate, useful software products: tethering, allowing use your iPhone as a modem to access the internet on your notebook while mobile; Intellisceen, a robust sleep locked-screen notification scheme and more.

Developers are, however, still seeking a method of jailbreak application distribution with an easy purchase mechanism. Although you can buy jailbreak apps on the Web, iTunes is trumps in this arena. Such a deficiency is not for lack of want -- many developers and users alike are anxious to wrest control from Apple. Consider these comments:

After Apple used the NDA again to club developers into submission many other developers have become angry for what they describe as bad behavior on Apple's part. Brent Simmons, developer of the RSS reader NetNewsWire for Mac OS X and iPhone, said on his blog, "When I read that Apple?s solution to the problem of the negative press around apps being rejected from the App Store was to add an NDA warning, I thought it was satire. It couldn?t be true. But it appears to be true. If so, then someone is making a mistake. This behavior is definitely beneath the company that makes the software and hardware I adore and love developing for."

Developer Wil Shipley, who writes the software for Delicious Monster,said on his blog, "I have to be clear: it simply will not stand for Apple to prevent applications on the iPhone from competing with Apple's own applications. Besides chasing away all decent developers, besides hurting their customers by stifling competition and innovation, besides it simply being evil, it will, shortly, be illegal. This kind of behavior is illegal when you hit a certain point in market saturation for your product; Microsoft was slapped for it constantly in the late '80s. If the iPhone is the success Apple thinks it will be, they will find themselves the target of a huge class-action lawsuit."

What's your take? Is Apple breathing new life into the jailbreak application market?