Pod2g: Apple could open up iOS by releasing alternate firmware for developers

By , May 31, 2013

jailbroken iphone 4s

Earlier this week, Tim Cook turned some heads when he told folks at the D11 conference that they could expect Apple to “open up more” in the future, in regards to 3rd party developers. The company, as you well know, currently rules iOS with an iron fist.

Unsurprisingly, Cook’s comment has sparked some speculation in the jailbreak community, on what Apple’s plans might be for opening up iOS more. And earlier today, Pod2g weighed in, and he thinks it could do it by releasing alternate firmware…

More specifically, the well-known hacker believes that Apple could release two versions of each firmware: one that is secure and doesn’t really let you do anything, like it is now, and one for developers and tinkerers that allows you to run unsigned code.

Those who download the alternate firmware, he says, would have to do so at their own risk. But this would be a way to give users the best of both worlds: a closed, secure platform, and an open, customizable one. You’d think this would be a no-brainer for Apple, right?

Not quite. Sure, OS X lets you run unsigned code. But the environment and circumstances are very different with iOS. I think Apple’s mobile products rely heavily, from a sales standpoint, on the ‘it just works’ mentality. I feel like if they lost their reputation for quality, and easy-to-use software, they’d have a hard time standing out in an increasingly crowded market. And I think [they think] they’d risk that happening with an ‘alternate’ firmware. Even if it was only meant for developers.

What I’d like to see is Apple give third-party devs access to things like Siri and the Notification Center, and give them further access to the Lock screen. I think they could get away with little freedoms like this, and not have to worry about the integrity of iOS.

What do you think?

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  • jocastro

    i super doubt they will. Lol its just a comment and people are making it bigger then it seems like always. Apple know this will be a total risk if they decided to go the android way or “alternate firmware” way. Watch i bet cooks comment pretty much meant that they will be adding new things to the iPhone firmware like they normally do. AKA STEAL JAILBREAK TWEAKS

    • Yash Gorana

      i laughed my ass off when Apple introduced wi-fi sync on stock iOS (copying the jb tweak)

      I guess this time, it’s going to be SBSettings/NCSettings type

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        And this is a bad thing? It’s good when something jailbreak developers have made has sparked interest from Apple and although they will probably never be credited it is something the original developers should be proud of…

      • Yash Gorana

        umm…i laughed at apple. And being a developer (studying), i am proud of what other developers do.

      • mehrab

        They just cant invent some new type of wifi/airplane/bluetooth toggle cos a toggle is a toggle and there are hundreds of toogles in cydia so yeah and they did it first cos they are devs and wanted to make some cash so if apple does it you”d generally think they stole there ideas or something

      • Chris

        You really think Apple just discovered the jb community had done wifi sync and decided to “rip off” the idea? Apple is the epitome of premeditation. They didn’t just say “oh that’s a good idea. Lets throw it in.”

  • sivkai

    Not a good idea in my opinion. It will lead to fragmentation, something similar to the Android scene. Apple should just release a single firmware with the option to “unlock the boot loader” so to speak. In doing so, we get jailbreak but lose warranty. It’s a win-win situation.

    • mrloko

      And also a option to restore and boom..you are back in warrenty

      • sivkai

        In theory, yes :)

    • pauleebe

      It wouldn’t lead to fragmentation. “Open” iOS 6.1.4 and “Regular” iOS 6.1.4 would have exactly the same everything.

      • sivkai

        But consider the fact that are several iOS devices, with corresponding iOS FWs. If you throw a ‘Open’ FW into the mix, you’re looking at x2 the firmwares. It will just be massively confusing and Apple likes to keep things as simple as possible.

        The best scenario would be to keep one FW, but have the option to ‘unlock’ it’s jailbreak feature.

  • Adham

    Personally I don’t need iOS to be as open as if it was jailbroken. There are really a few key features I want on iOS out of the box (Quick Text Reply, Better Timestamps, Selective Read, TypeStatus) and I will be extremely content.

    In regards to a second OS that allows unsigned code, probably not the best thing to do.

    • Gorgonphone

      i will always jailbreak no matter what I want my mobile device to be as flexible as my mac book pro is..

  • J Private Dev

    IFFFF apple were to do something like this, it would be for the OFFICAL iOS Developers. Ex those who paid apple $100 for an apple developer account.

  • JaeM1llz

    Even if they allowed running unsigned code, there’s still no guarantee they would allow root access. You can run unsigned code on stock Android, but you still need to root it in order for certain tweaks to work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000061961790 Ian Jackson

    I was just thinking this the other day…

  • Gorgonphone

    um if its just for devs how with that benefit end users??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      You fork out $100 to become a developer but do not develop anything just to get an open iOS…

  • Cody Cutrer

    How about changing default applications – like e-mail, browser, voice control, maps, etc

  • Krishna Singh

    this is a great idea but what would be cooler is users can download Cydia from the app store or from the web like it did in jailbreak me and it would be an individuals choice whether to download it or not.. And if ever there’s a problem RESTORE the iPhone “I would love this”

    • http://www.facebook.com/mau5haxor Yamir Andres Ortiz

      And adding something to your post, but im only dreaming at this point: if you could keep your jailbreak or what ever it will be called when updating iOS.

  • Thotsa

    Bad idea

  • ic0dex

    I’m sick and tired of the iPhone already I want something new in my life. I’ve owned this same device from day one. The only thing I’m hanging on to is all the App’s I’ve purchased and the whole thing with my iPhone, Macbook and iPad being synced. I’m thinking of getting the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4. I love how smooth Apples UI is and no lag whats so ever, I know I wont get that with these devices but I’m just bored with the same crap over and over and waiting and waiting.

    Apple will never open its iOS to anyone because they always want to be in control “We know what’s best for the consumer” Tim C. said and I think that’s BS. I feel like we are a bunch of dead Zombies stuck on this platform. Let’s say the iPhone 5S comes out it’s still going to look like the iPhone 5 because the next BIG redesign will come in 2 yeas and then they will finally give us a bigger screen (Maybe, if Tim thinks it’s best for us) but the UI is still going to be the same as iOS 6 it’s just going to be flat.

  • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Apple needs jailbreaks in order for security vulnerabilities to be found (if you look on the security page for iOS 6.1.3 the evad3rs are credited a lot). Full root access firmwares = less security research…

  • Antonio Bray

    I’ve saying the same thing for years. Let people release Apple of any liability by ether throwing a switch and digitally signing in iOS to “unlock” all APIs, allow true backgrounding, and other freedoms.

  • Andrew

    Alternate firmware would be great. And that wouldn’t compromise the easy use feature of iOS. Reason being; you can download the firmware of your choice. If you like to tinker then you download the open version of the firmware. And if you don’t like to tinker then download the secure firmware.

  • chris125

    I feel like that would add a lot of fragmentation which apple claims to not want since they always use the against android.

  • chris125

    Id rather them work and add to some things such as the lock screen to be able to do more of the things you are able to once you jb

  • jo

    Everybody should sign the petition!

  • Matt

    sadly i doubt this will happen

  • seyss

    no.. they should make available new APIs that allows you to alter the OS behavior… examples: LS/NC/homescreen widgets, keyboard modifications, etc.
    then create a new section in the appstore for these new tweaks