To appease people waiting for the iPhone 3G unlock, iphone-dev team member [MuscleNerd] did a live video demo this afternoon. The video shows him removing the AT&T SIM and putting in a T-Mobile SIM. After the switch, the phone shows no connectivity. He then runs “yellosn0w” in an SSH session with the phone. The phone then unlocks without needing to be rebooted and the signal bars appear. The final test shows the phone receiving a call.
The target for this release is New Year’s Eve and it doesn’t support the most recent baseband. Well be attending the 25C3 talk hosted by [MuscleNerd] and other team members. The VNC screen you see in the video is thanks to [saurik]’s Veency.
Considering an iPhone but not sure if you can live without SSH in your pocket? Have no fear! Hot off the press is this review of four SSH clients for the iPhone: iSSH, pTerm, TouchTerm, and SSH. All four clients have their strengths and weaknesses, and iSSH seems to be the best option so far. Although each of these is an early release, and therefore has its own idiosyncrasies, they’ve got improved features being planned for the next major release. Furthermore, they’re surprisingly inexpensive (none of them are more than five dollars), and so you should give them a shot if you see the need to SSH without being bound to your terminal.
iSSH is the best of the reviewed clients, giving you a good balance of usability and features. It has is share of problems, though, primarily related to the way it handles scrolling, pTerm comes in second, and is almost perfect. Its two rather glaring weaknesses are a too-large font that requires plenty of scrolling, and a lack of Ctrl, ESC, and Tab keys. TouchTerm, which comes in third, is the most configurable of the reviewed SSH clients,but is otherwise irrationally quirky. SSH is even quirkier than TouchTerm, and is a waste of your time and money.
Between the idiosyncrasies of iSSH, pTerm, and TouchTerm, you’re bound to find one that you like. Furthermore, these are initial releases; all three have exciting features on the roadmap (like implementing the ESC key) which should improve their usability.
Should you give one of them a try? For five bucks, it wouldn’t hurt.
If you feel that your iPhone alone no longer carries the cachet it once did, what with the price dropping and all, this may be just the modification that you need to stand out among the crowd. iPhones.ru has a teaser glimpse of an iPhone hack that causes the Apple logo on the back of the device to light up when the screen is turned on. Details are sketchy, but it appears that the hack involves replacing the metal insert on the back of the phone with an LED-equipped plastic one; custom software allows the user to select the brightness of the glowing effect independently of screen brightness… or maybe they’re just using the backlight.
The iphone-dev team hasn’t been resting on their laurels since releasing the iPhone Pwnage Tool 2.0 nearly two weeks ago and decided to update everyone on their progress. Despite the iPhone 2.0 jailbreak, there still isn’t a way to unlock a 3G phone. They’ve managed to do other things like downgrade a 3G to an older baseband firmware, which demonstrates their ability to bypass security checks and run unsigned code on the baseband. A nice side effect of all the downgrade work is that they’ve perfected the percautions they take to prevent bricking. The team has been following threads about using SIM proxy devices for unlocks as well, but concluded that the devices are a kludge at best and reliability can vary wildly depending on the phone’s location. They also pointed out the fine work that RiP Dev has been doing on Installer 4 which will help you install software that isn’t from the AppStore.
According to TUAW, Pwnage Tool 2.0 will activate, jailbreak, and unlock first generation iPhones running any firmware up to and including version 2.0. Unfortunately, it will not unlock an iPhone 3G (at least, not yet). iPhone 3G owners can still use the tool for activation and jailbreaking (so you can run 3rd party apps not supported by Apple and the new iPhone App Store).
So far, skimming through the 1322 comments on their announcement post, I’ve not seen any complaints or death threats about the tool bricking iPhones, but one should still proceed with caution. According to one update to the post, some people either get an error 1600 from iTunes or they notice a “failure to prepare x12220000_4_Recovery.ipsw” in the log. They’ve provided a workaround, however. If this happens to you, simply mkdir ~/Library/iTunes/Device Support or alternately nuke all the files in that already extant folder and re-run Pwnage Tool.
[Dave Fayram] has put out two videos covering the interface of the FreeRunner from OpenMoko. For those unfamiliar, we’ve covered it a fewtimes before. It is an opensource mobile platform that includes a full X server. They encourage people to make their own software and even release the CAD files for chassis modification.
He points out some glaring faults and compares it to his iPhone. Some of the major faults he has listed and shown are:
Bezel around screen makes input difficult.
Extremely slow interface
Can’t play mp3s.
On screen keyboard is tiny.
It is marketed at around $400 so the comparison to an iPhone seems legitimate. We do need to keep in mind, however, that the FreeRunner is opensource. The more support we show to them, the better it will get. The thought of an opensource handheld platform, comparable to an iPhone is quite enticing. At this point though, the comparison is pretty one sided. Hopefully more software development and support from the community will make this device something to get very excited about.