I popped into Channel4’s studio on Friday evening to meet with Benjamin Cohen, their technology guru. Benjamin called during the week to ask my perspective on iPhone Jailbreaking and whether it was causing serious issues for developers.
If you’ve jailbroken your iPhone you can — amongst other things — get premium applications on your phone without having to pay for them. Ben was exploring this issue for a piece going out on this evening’s Channel4 News.
I explained that whilst it was a challenge; I didn’t think it was much of an issue — the greater problem being to ensure that the (for example) 3 million o2 customers now with iPhones actually understand the app purchasing process and download more than a handful of free applications. I’m reasonably confident that the vast majority of iPhone users won’t want to go anywhere near anything involving the phrase ‘jailbreaking’.
I went into a little more depth on camera with Benjamin, however I’m not sure if they’ll use much or any. You can read Benjamin’s overview of his feature on the website right now. You’ll see that the broad thrust centres around a game developer who estimates he’s losing quite a lot of revenue from people swapping his apps on jailbroken iPhones without paying for them.
Gaming is an entirely different kettle of fish from the general applications marketplace. I don’t see many folk jailbreaking their iPhones to get stuck into a free ToDo List application, for example. But I could imagine a few chaps creating an archive of premium games and giving them away free via bittorrent. That annoys me. Especially — as Benjamin points out — many iPhone developers are not billion dollar firms but individuals who could really use the money they’re being denied through pirating.
If you get an opportunity, switch on to Channel4 News at 7pm tonight and watch the piece.
Do also look out for a few seconds of me. Look for the guy wearing a pinstripe and talking in a semi Scottish accent. That’ll be me.