Following the news that famed jailbreak hacker Comex was hired by Apple, many in the community called it the “beginning of the end” for jailbreakers. Apple is proving to be smarter than everyone thought. If you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em, right?
With iOS 5 set for a public release this Fall, the cat and mouse game between Apple and jailbreakers is not over. It’s only just beginning…
Apple has hired two notable jailbreak developers recently. First there was Peter Hajas, creator of an innovative iOS notifications replacement called MobileNotifier. While Hajas was not associated with exploiting actual jailbreaks, he was a prominent member of the jailbreak community.
As of a couple days ago, we broke the news that Nicholas Allegra (Comex) had been hired by Apple. Unlike Hajas, Comex was perhaps one of the most key jailbreak hackers currently active in the community. He is most famous for his web-based jailbreak called JailbreakMe. Comex was recently profiled by Forbes, and his work on JailbreakMe was compared to “that of Stuxnet, a worm thought to have been designed by the Israeli or U.S. government to infect Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Seen as one of the greatest minds in the jailbreak community, Comex’s employment at Apple is definitely a huge blow to jailbreakers everywhere — but it is by no means the beginning of the end for jailbreaking.
The two main groups for iOS hacking are the Dev Team and the Chronic-Dev Team. While the Dev Team is responsible for jailbreak tools like RedSn0w and PwnageTool, the Chronic-Dev Team is known for tools like GreenPois0n. The Chronic-Dev Team has taken a backseat to releasing new jailbreaks since iOS 4.2.1. However, both the Dev Team and Chronic-Dev Team are ready to continue exploiting iOS in the future.
Joshua Hill, better known as P0sixninja, is a prominent hacker and leader of the Chronic-Dev Team. He recently assured everyone on Twitter that the Chronic-Dev Team is not only here to stay, but also adding more talented hackers to its roster.
Yes, losing Comex is an awful loss for the jailbreak community. Is it the straw that broke the camel’s back? Absolutely not.
If you look at the Chronic-Dev Team’s website, 9 astute hackers are officially listed as being apart of the team. The Dev Team currently has 10 official members. There are also independent hackers like iH8Sn0w. (The teenage dev is responsible for a widely used jailbreak tool on Windows called Sn0wbreeze.) There are also plenty of unnamed contributors that help to make jailbreaks possible.
The extensive list of new features in iOS 5 indicate that Apple’s innovation takes a huge cue from the jailbreak community. Many of the new features in iOS 5 have been available to jailbreakers already, and Apple has been known to add features and innovations from jailbreak devs in the past.
Examples of continued jailbreak innovation in iOS 5 include the robust list of third party Notification Center widgets that have already been developed and showcased by jailbreakers on the iOS 5 beta. Apple has yet to open up access for developing third party iOS 5 widgets, and, like usual, jailbreakers have paved the path for others to follow.
iOS 5 is by no means the end of jailbreaking. Jay ‘Saurik’ Freeman has no plans to discontinue the development of Cydia. Hackers and developers are expressing more interest in jailbreaking, and the Dev and Chronic-Dev teams are committed to uncovering exploits in iOS.
When Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple, the Dev Team bid Steve farewell with a nostalgic message:
“The coolest cat. We loved the chase! Good luck, Steve. Signed, Jailbreakers and tinkerers everywhere.”
With Steve gone, the cat and mouse game definitely won’t be the same. But rest assured that it will continue.