iPad security broken in less than 24 hours
Strangely familiar process
Apple's iPad has already been jailbroken, using a variation of the iPhone method and demonstrating just how much the two devices have in common.
The hack was completed in less than 24 hours. In theory it enables the owner to install everything from Wi-Fi scanners to pornography - applications Apple disapproves of - though for the moment it just allows a remote terminal connection.
The hack potentially even allows Palm OS applications to run on the iPad, thanks to jailbreaking.
But amidst all this excitement over the hack, it seems few iPad customers are rushing out to buy newspaper subscriptions. PaidContent reports that the newspaper and magazine subscriptions through which the iPad was supposed to change the world, are curiously absent from the lists of most popular paid applications. That could be bad news for the media, but we suspect it's attributable to the early adopters being used to getting stuff for free, so we'll withhold judgement until Cupertino ships a few more pads.
Apple reckons it's already shipped 300,000 iPads, but that includes stocking shops and it would be interesting to know how many are still knocking around on the shelves. Gizmodo wandered around some local Apple stores and was surprised to find them well stocked for the revolution, so if you've not got your iPad yet (and happen to be in America) then you should be able to pick one up easily enough.
But the kind of buyers interested in newspaper subscriptions won't be buying an iPad in the first week. They'll be waiting to see how it develops, unlike the early adopters rushing to jailbreak the device as a techie's toy. It will be a while before we can say if Apple really has created a new computing paradigm. ®
It's a funny kind of appliance
"It's NOT a computer, any more so than your TV or your remote control. It's an appliance. Do you hack your toaster? Jailbreak your fridge? Do you restore the "functionality" of your lawnmower by adjusting the governor? "
Does my toaster force me to install the latest mandatory update? Does my toaster only toast bread purchased at Tesco? Does my toaster require I return it to the manufacturer to change a fuse and risk getting somebody else's manky refurbished toaster? Does my toaster actively try to stop a user from subverting any of these "features"?
Make all the excuses you like about it being an appliance but it does not excuse what Apple is doing. There is no technical or usability reason to lock down the device in this way. A device can be usable and open, as evidenced by OS X for example. The only reason the device is locked down is because Apple want users to pay Apple for their content, be it music, videos, books or apps. Perhaps from a shareholder's perspective this is a good thing, but it most certainly is not from a user perspective.
It's NOT a computer, any more so than your TV or your remote control. It's an appliance. Do you hack your toaster? Jailbreak your fridge? Do you restore the "functionality" of your lawnmower by adjusting the governor? Admittedly, some of these things are fun, and utterly worthwhile -- to about .001% of the population. The rest of us are generally happy to get along with things that work the way they should (unlike, say, brobdignagian operating systems that are saddled with decades of legacy code -- kludged together to run on any hardware, provided that all the settings are properly established in just that order and....)
Funny thing is, I've heard this kind of furor before -- from those who derided synthesizer presets, from those who bemoaned the death of DIP switches, from those who bought CoTS software (rather than writing their own), from those who scorned the GUI, from those who lost access to source code, from those who could no longer fix their own cars, from those who could no longer wire their own houses, from those who longed for manual film cameras...
These are tides of change. That doesn't mean the tides are right, or the plaintiffs are wrong -- things just are. It's an appliance.
Funny choice of words
Allowing users to choose what runs on their own computer is not "security broken", it's "functionality mended".
My home = I decide who comes in and out.
My computer = I decide what runs on it.
It's trivial to change the user agent string on a PC, just by using a different browser for example, or via a simple extension which does it for you. Some browser even let you change the setting such as in Mozilla via about:config.
Now let's see you try that trick in the iPad golden cage where you get exactly one locked down browser to choose from. It would be simple for a content provider to lock out iPad users, or deliver them a subpar browser experience to push them towards buying the same content. Face it, you're Apple's bitch and you'd better like anything they or their content provider's do because you don't have much choice in the matter.
Re:Yes an appliance, Re:But...
"t's NOT a computer, any more so than your TV or your remote control....Do you hack your toaster? Jailbreak your fridge?"
You are correct in that apple are marketing this device strictly as an appliance.
However, it would be silly to argue that the device isn't capable of much more than what apple allows it to be. And it's clear these limitations are artificially imposed, as opposed to the other devices you mentioned which are already used to their full hardware potential.
Continuing with the remote control analogy: ipad:remote control :: unlocked ipad:programmable remote control.
All things being equal, the locked down / non-programmable devices are clearly inferior since the unlocked / programmable versions are a super-set of them. In apple's case this is almost inexcusable since the unlock capability requires no changes to the product at all (other than removing the restriction).
I think any true techie would be lying in claiming that they didn't yearn to be able to ssh into their ipad against apple's wishes.
If apple provided ipad unlocking instructions and an "at your own risk" statement and warranty disclaimer, I am pretty certain there would be a large user base that would unlock their devices "legally". With the iphone apple's done the exact opposite, releasing patches which deliberately bricked unlocked devices.
With this in mind, it's pretty clear that apple's makes it's decisions around marketing rather than technical aspirations.
"You complaint sounds typical of the folks that do not understand that some products are focused on doing particular tasks, and are not supposed to be all things to all people."
One can say absolutely the same thing to defend any product with shortcomings, but instead of generalizing about "the folks that do not understand", sometimes a negative remark can be a genuine criticism.