The new unlocking tool, created by the amazingly talented iPhone Dev Team, goes by the rather strange name of ‘Pwnage Tool’. What it does is allow you to install, via iTunes, modified firmware files called .ipsw files.
These modified files bypass any activation/unlock measures in place within iTunes but, more importantly, because these files are installed via iTunes itself onto the iPhone it is said to be a safer way to unlock/jailbreak the device.
It appears, the possibilities are endless for this new unlocking method. It gives the really clever developers and hackers out there the means to create completely modified and personalised firmware files that can be safely installed onto the iPhone.
In theory, I could create a new .ipsw firmware file that I could load onto customers’ iPhones in order to personalise their devices – so, I could upload a company logo as a wallpaper or background, or the sound files could be personalised too.
In the last couple of days I have unlocked my iPhone using this new method, and have loaded the new Apple firmware version 2.0 file with support for Microsoft Exchange.
Version 2.0 gives me full Push email as well as full synchronisation of emails, contacts, calendars and so forth.
Any changes made to contacts on my iPhone are instantly updated on my Microsoft Exchange account and likewise changes made to Microsoft Exchange are reflected instantly on my iPhone too.
Another feature this new firmware version gives me is the ability to ‘remote wipe’ my device in the event it was lost or stolen.
The only other significant change I can see at the moment, over the regular 1.1.4 software version, is the addition of a new style calculator – when the camera application is loaded, you are presented with a typical basic style calculator, but if you turn the phone over to landscape mode you’re presented with a rather daunting scientific one. I never did work out what all those extra buttons actually did on a scientific calculator.
I’ve only had a couple of days to play with this new firmware version, but I’m initially very impressed. Within seconds of switching on my iPhone after the update, and entering the parameters for my Microsoft Exchange account, I had all my contacts, emails calendars and suchlike synchronised faultlessly.
Project Team tool
These are still very early days in being able to see what’s possible with this new way of unlocking the iPhone, but already its been announced that the ‘iPhone Project Team’, another talented group of programmers and hackers, will very shortly release their own IPSW Tool, which will work with the new Pwnage Tool to enable end users to customise their iPhone even further.
It will allow automatic loading and creation of installer applications and BSD subsystem files, and so forth. It even promises to create specific partitions on the iPhone that will allow the user to set their own partition sizes and allow for the addition of third party operating systems.
The new firmware version 2.0 will be generally available from the end of June. By then, we’ll probably have the new 3G iPhone to try and hack if the prevailing rumours are to be believed.
So, with the Apple iPhone currently heading towards its next major software enhancement, as well as the imminent arrival of the 3G version, plus the long awaited arrival of the new open source Android phones from various manufacturers, the coming months will be rather interesting for mobile phone specialists.
HTC is expected to announce the first commercially available mobile phone running Google’s Android software.
News from Nokia
Nokia has finally released its N-Gage gaming platform and will slowly (or hopefully quickly) be extending the range of models that support it.
The manufacturer is trying to create some interest among developers by offering up to €70,000 (£56,300) to those who create games for it.
Apple’s June software update will enable gaming as well as many other third party applications to be available to every iPhone user. But Nokia has finally officially confirmed
it is working on its own ‘iPhone killer’ touchscreen phone, developed under the code name ‘Tube’, although there are no dates or specification details yet available. Let the Nokia vs Apple battle commence.
It is a good time to be a dealer at the moment. The networks might be taking more and more business via direct routes and times may be hard, but you certainly can’t say our industry is stagnant.