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One of the world's foremost iPhone hackers has just released software for jailbreaking the latest firmware released for the Apple smartphone.

Geohot's Blackra1n lets Windows users jailbreak iPhone OS 3.1.2 on all iPhone and iPod Touch models regardless of their hardware generation. The tool, which in 30 seconds allows handset users to run software not authorized by Apple, doesn't work on Macs. Those users will have to continue using an older version of the firmware.

This weekend's release by Geohot, the hacker whose real name is George Hotz, continues the race among iPhone users providing ways to get around the artificial restrictions Apple places on the popular smartphone. The other leading contender has been the Pwnage Tool, designed by the iPhone Dev Team. At time of writing, that group was still warning iPhone users to hold off installing the latest iPhone OS.

But unlike the Pwnage Tool, Blackra1n can't be used to unlock iPhones so they work on unauthorized cellular networks. If you've already unlocked your phone, don't use Blackra1n on it. If you do, your device will be jailbroken but won't work with unauthorized carriers.

Unofficial reports from iPhone users suggest Blackra1n works as advertised. For successful results, users will have to upgrade to the latest version of iTunes. From there, plug the iPhone or iPod Touch using the standard USB cable and follow the directions and the device should be sprung from the Apple-imposed lock-down in about half a minute.

Geohot was the first hacker to jailbreak the iPhone shortly after its official debut in mid 2007. He was also among the first to jailbreak the iPhone GS model. ®

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