For such a strong community, we’re beginning to enter unprecedented territory. If you take an in-depth look at the current situation, a few obvious reasons stand out as to why jailbreaking is on a downturn.
Take a look inside, as I’ve compiled 3 reasons as to why jailbreaking is declining in popularity…
Reason #1: The public has moved on to better hardware
This is likely the number one reason why jailbreaking is waning in popularity. The public has moved on to bigger and better things. Two years ago the iPhone 4 was the device to have, but now the 2-year upgrade cycle has passed, and people have traded up for an iPhone 5, or at minimum the iPhone 4S. The interesting thing about those two pieces of hardware is that neither can be jailbroken with the latest iOS 6 firmware. True, the iPhone 4S could be jailbroken on lesser firmware, but if you recently upgraded, then the opportunity to do so has long passed you by.
The iPhone 4 had, and still has one huge advantage over new hardware — the limera1n exploit. This exploit has makes it possible to jailbreak all firmware, even the latest iOS 6.1 beta 3 release. Even if an exploit is discovered for the iPhone 5, chances are it will be quickly patched by Apple as was the case with the iPhone 4S.
The bottom line is this: Cydia developers have less incentive to develop new and useful apps and tweaks than they did two years ago.
Reason #2: Apple has “listened” to its user base
You can label it listening, or you can label it stealing. The fact of the matter is this: Apple has taken some of the most wanted features, features that were at one time only available via a jailbreak, and made them standard on iOS.
A while back we ran an article called Jailbreak Killer, which highlighted Apple’s efforts to kill the jailbreak community by simply making it less necessary and less desirable to jailbreak. They did this by “borrowing” many features like Wi-Fi Sync and Notification Center, just to name a few.
Although there are still a few things on the list that make jailbreaking desirable — SMS Quick reply being one of the main draws — the perception has certainly changed over the last few major iOS releases.
Reason #3: Duplicate features, uninspired developers, and costly tweaks
It’s most likely a side-effect of the first two reasons outlined above, but Cydia has become inundated with overpriced tweaks, half baked apps, and development efforts that steal ideas and duplicate functionality. You just don’t see tweaks and apps like WinterBoard, IntelliScreenX, biteSMS, or Zephyr on a regular basis. Instead, we’re constantly bombarded with tweaks that allow you to respring, or change the screenshot flash color. These tweaks have their place, but they’ve been repeated and regurgitated one too many times.
There used to be a time when I honestly had trouble keeping up worth all of the great releases hitting Cydia each day. It was like a never-ending surplus of awesome apps and tweaks. Things have changed since then, but it can be fixed. Reasons #1 and #3 are within the control of the community. If brilliant minds similar to Geohot, Comex, or pod2g rise to the occasion, and Cydia developers follow their lead with awesome and innovative tweaks, then jailbreaking can rebound. Innovative events like JailbreakCon go a long way towards doing just that.
The big question is this: Is reason #2 enough to keep all parties involved satisfied so as to not even bother? What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.