Well that didn’t take long. Here’s Mac OS running (well, it’s emulated) on a Microsoft Surface. Blasphemy? Awesome? Hard to say. Now that a jailbreak tool for Microsoft’s Windows Surface RT is out in the wild, allowing users to install unsigned ARM desktop applications on these otherwise oddball devices, hackers are having a field day figuring out what apps they can get to work. The latest and greatest of these efforts? Developer Steve Troughton-Smith shows off his Microsoft Surface RT running an old build of Mac OS.
Don’t get too excited, though. The Surface is running Rhapsody, an experimental OS build that Apple demonstrated back in 1997, Geek.com reports. Troughton-Smith is using Bochs, a free, open source virtualization app to make this (magic/horror, depending on your perspective) happen.
In order for apps to run on a jailbroken Microsoft Surface RT computer, users must first run the Windows RT jailbreak tool, which takes advantage of an exploit discovered by C.L. Rokr (@clrokr). The automated tool for jailbreaking the Surface was posted on the XDA Developers forums, which also provide the installation instructions and a FAQ. The tool essentially automates the jailbreak for you, so it’s not as complex as perhaps hacking into an Android phone can be.
Like “tethered” jailbreaks on iOS devices, however, this jailbreak also has to be run each time the Surface boots – it’s not permanent. Microsoft may or may not choose to release a security patch that closes the hole in the future, the company told reporters earlier this week.
Already, a number of apps have been recompiled to run on the Surface, including TightVNC, Notepad++, IP Messenger, a Nintendo game emulator called CrystalBoy, and others. Bochs, an x86 emulator, was also one of the first on this early list.
Reports are surfacing that iPhone 5s purchased from Verizon are arriving unlocked usable on any GSM cell network. Jeff Benjamin at iDownloadBlog notes that he was able to insert a cut-to-size AT&T SIM into his new Verizon iPhone 5 and connect to AT&T’s HSPA+ cellular network, without having to pester Verizon for permission. When contacted about the matter, Verizon confirmed to him that the device was indeed fully unlocked.
This is a tremendous boon to US customers, who have in the past had to argue long and hard for the privilege of detaching their iPhones from their primary carrier’s network. Just earlier this month, we reported on AT&T’s grudging agreement to unlock some devices to allow their use with other GSM networks. Verizon’s unlocked-out-of-the-box stance frees their customers from having to essentially ask permission from their carrier (or resort to complex jailbreaking plus unlocking shenanigans) to use their devices abroad, or to take their devices to another carrier when their contract time is up.
Coupled with the AT&T iPhone 5′s limited LTE frequency range, this is yet another reason to recommend new prospective buyers look at picking up an iPhone from Verizon instead of AT&T—if you don’t like the Verizon service, you can always pop in an AT&T SIM and switch back to the other carrier. So far, the only downside we can see to using a Verizon-sourced iPhone 5 is the lack of simultaneous voice and data (though Verizon does helpfully point out that you can use voice and data at the same time, provided that data comes in over WiFi).
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The developers behind the iPhone Dev Team and Chronic Dev, among others, released a new version of their iOS jailbreak tool, Absinthe, last Friday. But is jailbreaking iOS devices still en vogue? It certainly seems like it: the latest version, which performs an untethered jailbreak of nearly all iOS devices running iOS 5.1.1—including the iPad 3—was reportedly used to jailbreak at least 973,086 devices over the Memorial Day weekend.
Jailbreaking skirts around the built-in security features of iOS, allowing users to install third-party software not approved by Apple, customize the user interface, and even access an iOS device’s command line and file system. It can also enable unlocking a (GSM) device from a particular carrier for use on an alternate carrier, or using SIMs from local carriers when traveling abroad.
Jailbreaking can sometimes be a difficult process because developers must often find security holes that allow the jailbreaks in the first place. Apple constantly works to plug those security holes, and many times, new versions of iOS or devices with newer processors are difficult to crack. They may also require “tethering” to a computer with jailbreak software running in order to reboot.
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While the once long list of legitimate reasons to jailbreak your iPhone has taken a hit with each new iOS release, that burning desire to “Free your device” and/or “Fight the power” and/or “Just do crazy stuff that other people can’t do” never really goes away.
3 months after the release of the iPhone 4S and 10 months after the release of the iPad 2, the ridiculously talented iOS hacking community has finally cracked the ultimate challenge for both devices: the untethered jailbreak.
I know these things can get a bit jargony, so a quick recap: to “jailbreak” means to modify a device to run code and applications not signed or approved by Apple, thereby allowing you to do things with your device far outside of what would normally be possible. “Untethered” means that once it’s jailbroken, it stays jailbroken (whereas a “tethered” jailbreak means the device resets to its normal, un-jailbroken state whenever it is reset)
The team behind this hack, Chronic Dev, is the same group that makes the greenpois0n tool that’s been jailbreaking iOS devices for years. Remember comex, the iOS hacker who went legit with an internship at Apple? He was a key member of this group.
While their server seems to be taking a bit of a pounding right now, you can find the new iPhone 4s/iPad 2 jailbreaking tool (dubbed “Greenpos0n Absinthe”) right over here.