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Analysis: Why iPhone users jailbreak their phones

Jailbroken apps give users more functionality

We look at the trend for jailbreaking iPhones and why users seek more than the unlocked capabilities Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 offers.

It was only a few years ago that Apple first launched the iPhone, but since then its been established as the mobile platform to beat.

Each successive firmware update opens new, and often unmatched, features for users and developers to explore.

Many of these features, however, find their roots outside Apple's walled-garden approach to the iPhone, as the jailbreak community proves time and again to be an innovative environment for off-limits apps that demonstrate new ways to push the iPhone platform forward.

To be sure, the past year of Apple updates has altered the pre-3.0 iPhone jailbreaking landscape.

The company's iPhone 3.0 OS, together with its speedy, feature-enriched iPhone 3GS handset, has brought new software and hardware capabilities that somewhat mitigate the need for jailbreaking.

But despite these advancements, as well as warnings that jailbreaking leads to security risks and potential copyright infringement, iPhone jailbreaking continues apace, evidenced by the growing variety of rogue apps available for jailbroken iPhones.

Central to that growth is ongoing developer and user frustration with Apple's enigmatic app acceptability rules, as well as its deliberate hobbling of many application capabilities, such as web browsing, background processing and voice services.

Jailbreaking also allows users to unlock their iPhones and allow them to use their phones on networks that don't currently offer the smartphone, namely T-Mobile and 3 in the UK.

These factors, as well as developers' interest in pushing the limits of the iPhone's evolving capabilities, make for a jailbreaking community that is as vibrant as ever.

NEXT PAGE: iPhone OS 3.0: Apple unlocks some features, keeps rein on others

  1. Jailbroken apps give users more functionality
  2. iPhone OS 3.0: Apple unlocks some features, keeps rein on others
  3. Apple's ongoing objections to iPhone jailbreaking
  4. Apple's capriciousness drives developers to jailbreak
  5. Apple iPhone sales - and jailbreaking - to continue

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