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iPhone App installs over USB: Another threat to iTunes App Store?

iTunes App Store comes under fire from yet another competitor to its dominance - new desktop version of Rep Dev Installer will allow jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch app installs over USB connections.

Reports of non-Apple-sponsored app stores have hinted at threats to Apple's own iPhone's iTunes App Store. Now, another front in the war against the iTunes App Store may be developing: a new application, currently under development, will allow users to install iPhone and iPod Touch applications onto their jailbroken devices using a USB connection.

The app, called Installer, has been around for awhile and was originally created to install applications directly from your jailbroken iPhone or iPod Touch desktop. Rip Dev recently upgraded that application, long popular, to version 4.1. However, a new version for the desktop might steal the show by allowing the installation of third party applications over USB straight from your desktop--almost a guarantee of new venues for jailbroken application sales.

Rip Dev explained its plans in a post on hackint0sh.org:

"We wanted to reveal something we've been working on for a while - a software for the desktop computers that will install third-party packages on your iPhone.

Rip Dev

"Practically, it is a desktop variant of our own Installer.app. It will allow you to view and install packages that are present in various Installer and Cydia repositories by downloading them to your computer and then synchronizing via the USB cable with your iPhone."

While the post mentions the iPhone specifically, the desktop Installer app will likely work with the iPod Touch, too. This version of Installer will work much like iTunes: applications will be stored locally on the computer, the software will send application update notifications, and will reinstall applications quickly after an iPhone restore. One improvement over iTunes will be a way to install demo versions of applications without all the hassles of giving away coupon codes.

Ultimately, Installer could be a boon for consumers who have demanded application features that Apple App Store won't allow--features such as video recording and turn-by-turn directions, both available in the jailbroken market. Both versions of the Installer application offer these features and others blocked by Apple.