Apple's forthcoming upgrade to its iPhone operating system has been cracked before it has officially been released.
A crack for the iPhone 3.0 beta operating system has been posted on the QuickPWN blog, and claims to allow the phone to be opened up to unofficial iPhone software. The crack was the work of a Russian hacker known as 'Vortex'.
"This is an unofficial release and it's not created by the iPhone Dev Team. I know there are iPhone developers out there who want to upgrade to iPhone 3.0, iPod Touch 3.0, or iPhone 3G 3.0, but also want to keep their jailbreak," says the site.
"The Russian hacker Vortex has once again released an unofficial jailbreak at iPhoneApps.ru. I tried it on my iPod Touch with firmware 3.0 beta 2 and it works!"
However, it seems that the crack may have bugs, and people are advised to use caution. The iPhone Dev Team, which has done much of the cracking work on previous versions of the iPhone operating system, said that it was not endorsing the crack, partly because it feels there are unresolved software issues but also because the software is still in beta.
"It's silly to play cat and mouse with Apple during a beta period, when relatively few people are willing to actually use the beta software in their everyday lives," the group said in a blog post.
"There are ways Apple can tighten the screws, and we'd rather not burn methods just for a beta release."
The news will be a blow to Apple's attempts to stop users running unauthorised applications on their iPhones. The company has reportedly amended its terms and conditions to specifically ban the use of jail-breaking software.
The relevant sections of the terms and conditions are as follows:
(e) You will not, through use of the Apple Software, services or otherwise, create any Application or other program that would disable, hack or otherwise interfere with the Security Solution, or any security, digital signing, digital rights management, verification or authentication mechanisms implemented in or by the iPhone operating system software, iPod touch operating system software, this Apple Software, any services or other Apple software or technology, or enable others to do so.
(f) Applications developed using the Apple Software may only be distributed if selected by Apple (in its sole discretion) for distribution via the App Store or for limited distribution on Registered Devices (ad hoc distribution) as contemplated in this Agreement.
Clause (f) seems aimed specifically at the growing number of unofficial iPhone application sites which sell software that Apple has declined to carry in its App Store.
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