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iOS 4.1 jailbreak imminent, but do you want it?

Barely 24 hours after Apple released OS 4.1, a hacker found an exploit that will allow for jailbreaking. The question is, do we really need this anymore?

In a matter of days (maybe weeks), you'll be able to throw off the shackles of iOS 4.1 and stage a jailbreak.
In a matter of days (maybe weeks), you'll be able to throw off the shackles of iOS 4.1 and stage a jailbreak. Dino Osmic via PhotoXpress

News of the inevitable: less than a day after Apple released iOS 4.1 into the wild, hackers have found a way to jailbreak it.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, "Chronic Dev Team member pod2g has discovered yet another bootrom-based exploit that would supposedly work across all iOS devices running the latest firmware."

Although the jailbreak isn't available to the general public just yet, there's little doubt it will be soon. Whether or not it's as simple as the browser-based iPhone 4 jailbreak from earlier this summer remains to be seen.

My question: do we really need to jailbreak our iPhones anymore? Is it worth the hassle?

Before iOS 4 came along, bringing with it such long-awaited features as multitasking and folders, there was a lot more incentive to jailbreak.

Now, I can think of only one reason to bother with it: tethering. Apple AT&T charges $20 per month (on top of a $25/month DataPro plan) for the convenience of connecting your iPhone to your laptop so the former can serve as a 3G modem for the latter.

Contrast that with an app like MyWi 4.0, which for a one-time fee of $19.99 turns your iPhone into a Wi-Fi hot spot for your laptop, iPad, Sony PSP, and anything else that needs to get online.

That's hard to give up, and it's one reason I haven't yet installed the iOS 4.1 update on my iPhone 3GS. On the other hand, much as I like having MyWi at my fingertips, I must admit I don't use it much. For me, it's mostly a case of wanting a cheap deal, even on something I barely need.

And that brings me back to the question: is jailbreaking really necessary anymore? Or did iOS 4 (and, indeed, 4.1) bring enough previously jailbreak-only features to the table that you're happy to sit in Apple's, er, jail?

Update: Forgot to mention my earlier list of 5 killer apps for jailbroken iPhones!