The Evasi0n jailbreaking tool has been very popular with owners of iOS devices. It has been downloaded 7 million times in four days says Forbes. So is this a signal that people are not happy with the closed ecosystem of Apple? Would people prefer it is Apple released an OS that was more open? Apple has revealed a new OS each year and this year when they reveal iOS 7, jailbreakers are calling for it to be more open.
So what exactly is an open OS? It would allow owners to be able to customise their handsets to be what they want them to be. Android is classed as an open OS, however the creator of Cydia for iOS disagrees. He said that it isn’t open in the way that people think and this could be misleading. Android is open source and it can be modified, however when building a device you have to decide if that device is going to be open or not.
He said that “Android as a developer platform is also not open: Just like with Apple, you have to confine yourselves to little boxes. Yes, anyone can write an app, and you don’t have to tell Google — well, again, most phones are closed from this freedom, as Android isn’t open — but can you modify the lock screen? Can you change the status bar? No. You can’t do these things, because Android doesn’t offer a way to do them, any more than Apple does. The only things you can do on Android devices that is more flexible than ‘an app’ are one, launchers, two, keyboards, and three, widgets.”
When iOS devices are jailbroken and Android phones are rooted, the OS is then more open and it is customisable. Due to the amount of people downloading Evasi0n, an open OS could be something that many users of iOS do want.
If people did not want to customise their handset then they would not jailbreak or root their handset. The fact remains that 7 million people have chosen to jailbreak their handset in just four days does means that Apple should offer something that users want. However it is not thought that the results of jailbreaking will persuade Apple to offer a more open OS.
Many people have asked Apple to do this, pod2g who is one of the members of Evasi0n jailbreaking went on Twitter and started a rant saying that he wanted Apple to open up OS. This went on to spark a petition with the name of “WeWantAnOpeniOS and got 11,000 signatures.
Even the co-founder of Apple made a request for Apple to open up its OS last year. He said that “”I think that Apple could be just as strong and good and be open, but how can you challenge it when a company is making that much money?”
It comes to money the reason why Apple refuses minor tweaks along with fixes from Cydia, which changes the OS. Apple makes a lot of money from their App Store and they will not want to open up even the smallest amount. They get around 30% profits of sales in the store and this means that for every 99 cent app sold, they get 29.7 cents. If Apple were to change this and have the app store along the lines of Cydia, they would be giving money back to the developers and they would not get as much revenue each year.
Cydia is a lucrative market place for developers as they get money in their own pockets. However the marketplace has 4.5 million users which is weighed up against the 500 million at the App Store.
Apple is also opposed to jailbreaking while Android users can do so freely and do what they want with their software. Apple on the other hand locks their system down and include security measures.
Apple fans have also been calling for changes to the screen size of the Apple iPhone when fans complained about the size of the iPhone 4S as the display wasn’t as large as that of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Apple found out that people wanted a larger display and changed the display of the Apple iPhone 5 to 4 inches from 3.5 inches.
Apple has also broken their rules when it came to the Apple iPad Mini. In 2010 Steve Jobs said that 7 inch tablets were dead on arrival. However as they have been losing dominance in the large tablet market and smaller tablets have become the in-things, they released the Apple iPad Mini in October of last year with a display of 7.9 inches and it has been a success, despite the trashing of it two years earlier by Jobs.
Jailbreaking is getting bigger and today there is as much pressure on jailbreakers to bring out a jailbreak as there is for the product releases of Apple.
While Apple does seem to be listening to what consumers want, it is unlikely that they will give is an open up iOS. The creator of Cydia said that he would be shocked if this were to happen. He said “I’m just trying to imagine the reaction, the legitimate reaction, that would actually occur,” Freeman said. “The actual reaction would be shock. If it happened tomorrow and someone asked me, ‘Could you comment on Apple doing it [opening up their iOS],’ I can’t imagine what I’d possibly say other than stammering into a microphone.”
Apple could do with an overhaul of iOS, and it should become open source, however the rigidity of Apple may mean that we will have to rely on jailbreaking for some time to come.
So, what would you like to see with iOS 7?