As we near the public launch of iOS 5, many jailbreakers are wondering what the future holds. It was originally thought that Apple was out to kill jailbreaking in iOS 5, and many became even more worried when famed hacker Comex announced that he had been hired by Apple. Was the end drawing near?

We can all rest assured that jailbreaking is alive and well. And after months of there being no untethered jailbreak for iOS 5 or the last two releases of iOS 4, the Chronic-Dev Team has said that it is “actively working” on an untethered jailbreak for iOS 5…

Apple has released seven consecutive betas for iOS 5 so far (with an eighth expected to drop Friday), and each release has had an accompanying tethered jailbreak via tools like RedSn0w and Sn0wbreeze. These jailbreaks have allowed developers to already begin innovating on iOS 5 with third party widgets and other tweaks.

If you don’t know the difference between a tethered and untethered jailbreak, it essentially comes down to this: A tethered jailbreak requires you to re-jailbreak every time you reboot your iDevice, while an untethered jailbreak lasts as long as you don’t upgrade your iOS firmware. Obviously, an untethered jailbreak is the preferred option for the end user.

The art of a good untethered jailbreak is a very complex and masterful one, as hacker i0n1c’s exploit research paper has revealed. i0n1c was a key figure in the development of the iOS 4.3.1 untethered jailbreak.

While the Dev Team and other prominent hackers, like Comex, have been responsible for the untethered jailbreaks since iOS 4.3, the Chronic-Dev Team is now actively working on an untethered jailbreak for iOS 5’s public launch.

As noted by iPhoneItalia, Chronic-Dev member pod2g has echoed the previous statement of Chronic-Dev frontman P0sixninja that jailbreak developers are working on an untethered exploit for iOS 5:

In case you didn’t know, pod2g was a key hacker behind the iOS 4.1/4.2.1 untethered jailbreak that was released with the GreenPois0n tool.

Additionally, Dev Team frontman MuscleNerd has affirmed the same news:

Comex was the last hacker to provide a widely used untethered jailbreak in the form of JailbreakMe for iOS 4.3.3. He also pioneered the first untethered jailbreak for the iPad 2. Now that he is gone from the jailbreak scene, it will be up to the rest of the Chronic-Dev and Dev Team members to keep finding exploits in iOS 5.

While no official timeframe has been given for the iOS 5 untethered jailbreak, recent reports suggest that Apple will release its final GM build of iOS 5 for public launch in two weeks. After Apple’s next announcement, the software will be released to customers. Then, depending on the results of the Chronic-Dev and Dev team’s efforts, an untethered jailbreak will be released shortly after Apple makes iOS 5 available.