jailbreaking the iPhone

Once I got my iPhone, I really wanted to add some specific apps to it. On my BlackBerry, I had a Twitter client (TwitterBerry) and a mobile version of Newsgator, so that I could read my RSS newsfeeds and have them sync with NetNewsWire. Both applications were suboptimal, but they worked well enough that I got used to the idea of having quick access to Twitter and RSS feeds on my mobile device. 

So why not with an iPhone?

For most of the past two weeks, I was using Safari to enter and read Twitter microblog posts and my Newsgator RSS feeds. Not optimal, since Newsgator in particular is slow on an EDGE connection. 

My ex-PC friend, who is now a Mac zealot (go figure), started texting my iPhone nonstop to urge me to jailbreak my phone to be able to download and install a variety of applications. With pressure like that, I gave in and downloaded ziphone, which is really simple to use. And it works. In less than a minute, my phone was jailbreaked so that I could now install applications on my iPhone. I should mention that jailbreaking is not the same as unlocking the iPhone. The former is reversible with a software restore in iTunes and does not open the iPhone to multiple wireless carriers. “Unlocking” means that one will then be able to use the iPhone with T-Mobile rather than AT&T, and as such, the visual voicemail feature would no longer exist (since it is tied into AT&T). It is also apparently illegal (my ex-PC friend is an attorney and noted this to me in passing). 

So I now have the mobile Twitter client on my iPhone as well as a nice camera app that enables the iPhone camera to zoom. I still don’t have a Newsgator client, since the mobile version of Newsgator requires Java, which is not supported on the iPhone. I’m hoping Newsgator gets an iPhone client out soon, perhaps through the SDK. ePocrates is also probably going to come out with an iPhone version of its medication database, which would be pretty cool, although I rarely use ePocrates these days (at one time, it was an essential tool on my Handspring Visor Prism). 

So jailbreaking the iPhone is easy, fast and so far, pretty safe to do. And it opens the iPhone up to a lot of possibilities that are not present in a non-jailbroken iPhone. Glad I listened to the text message spam I was getting.