On July 4th, the United States' Independence Day, hackers announced they had achieved iPhone independence from AT&T and Apple - at least for the purpose of activating the phone. Owners who had purchased the iPhone but refused to initiate a service contract with AT&T were able to download a tool provided by the iPhone Dev Wiki which would unlock their iPhone, changing it from an "iBrick" into a useable iPod and WiFi device. Still, much remained to be done. There was no direct access to the iPhone's filesystem and thus no ability to use non-AT&T iPhone SIM cards or install third party software.
Though hackers who have tasked themselves with the unlocking of the iPhone still have much to do, recently a big leap was made towards the ultimate goal of a fully unlocked iPhone. Less than a week after unlocking the iPhone's activation process, the iPhone Dev Wiki team has released a new software tool called iPhoneInterface which allows full access to the iPhone's filesystem. As proof, a picture of an iPhone with the Safari icon moved on the home screen was provided.
So, what does this mean for the average iPhone user? Well, for those not attempting to
hack the iPhone themselves or otherwise particularly brave, not too much. However, it does mean that the ultimate goals (such as custom ringtones, use of the iPhone on other networks, and the installation of 3rd party software) are ever closer. In fact, according to a recent statement by the iPhone Wiki Dev Team which described the newly gained access to the iPhone filesystem,"The bootloader is basically a dead end. Everything that goes into it must be signed, and without apples 1024-bit RSA private key, this isn't going to happen. Fortunately we have another in. We have basically full command over the file system and can upload, copy, and run files. I'll say this, ringtones would be a *trivial* thing to do now."
This is very good news for countless iPhone users less concerned with the ability to use the iPhone on other networks and more concerned with the ability to customize their already working phone.
Newest iPhone FAQs
According to the timeline established by the team responsible for the recent advances in unlocking the iPhone, the job is at least 50% done. At the rate things have been proceeding so far, would it be surprising if the iPhone was fully unlocked before August rolled around?