With news of Steve Jobs moving to the backseat as chairman of Apple and Tim Cook taking over as CEO, it appears Apple's making a strong move that could slow down future jailbreaking: hire the jailbreaking developers themselves.
Those who've jailbroken their iOS devices will almost certainly know two names: GeoHot and Comex. George "GeoHot" Hotz shot up to fame when he became the first person to unlock and create subsequent jailbreaks for the iPhone. After a court battle with Sony for hacking the PS3, he's since been snatched up by Facebook.
Nick "Comex" Allegra, the other jailbreaking genius is the guy behind Jailbreakme.com, a website that quickly and easily frees your iPhone from Apple's security and lets you install apps from unauthorized app repositories like Cydia or tweak your iOS device's settings to your heart's content.
Both have been very useful, and I admit, I've used Comex's website (free) to jailbreak my iPhone (for legal tweaks — I don't support piracy on any level) before.
It's been confirmed that Apple is hiring Comex as an intern. And you know how internships usually go — they usually lead to full-time jobs.
Here's the word from Comex's Twitter:
So, the week after next I will be starting an internship with Apple.
It's been really, really fun, but it's also been a while and I've been getting bored.
Comex joins Peter Hajas, the developer of MobileNotifier, a notification system hack available for jailbroken iPhones, who was hired by Apple two months ago. Hajas' notification hack is a main feature that will revamp the iPhone's pop-up notifications in the upcoming iOS 5 software update.
The tone is most definitely different. Whereas the Apple led by the dictator and perfectionist Steve Jobs had ignored the intelligent jailbreak hackers, a new Apple, one led by Tim Cook seems to be arming itself with new and young talent to keep itself one step ahead of the competition.
As a person that once had a jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch, I'll admit that losing a core "security hole hunter" like Comex brings a tear to my eye, but I'm hopeful — with guns like Comex and Hajas, Apple's innovative creations can only stand to become better and more secure. And that's a win for everybody.
This is the right way to approach these garage developers. If they're as brilliant as they appear, then giving them a job, mentoring them, and helping them reach their full potential through official channels is worth it in the long run — even if they seem like annoying mosquitos that don't know when to back down on breaking open your new iToy.
But is this the end of jailbreaking? I doubt it. At any given time there are dozens and dozens of hackers out there looking through Apple's code for a hole to exploit. Even without Comex, who self-proclaims he's just really good at finding exploits, the jailbreaking scene will continue on. There's still the iPhone Dev Team or GreenPois0n.