Apple App Store's New Rival: Jailbroken Paid Apps
Apple's monopoly has ended.
With more 1.5 million jailbroken iPhones out there by some estimates, a new alternative to Apple's App store launched over the weekend to great interest in the iPhone community. Cydia Store, the de-facto app store for jailbroken iPhones, now offers paid apps, ending Apple's monopoly.
If jailbreaking your iPhone is not a big price to pay (besides losing your Apple warranty) in order to get all those cool applications that Apple deemed as unauthorized or kicked out of its App Store, then maybe you should have a look at the new version of the Cydia Store, which now features paid apps as well.
By now, Cydia allowed jailbroken iPhone users to install countless free (read: unauthorized) third-party apps, welcoming a growing community of developers that got their applications rejected from Apple's official store. The latest update to Cydia, released on Sunday, now includes a full-fledged app store, together with payment processing -- basically competing with Apple's solution, but on the grayer realm of legality.
It's clearly worth mentioning that Apple does not endorse jailbreaking or hacking into the iPhone's OS, allowing installation of third-party apps that were not approved by the Cupertino company. Actually, Apple tries to convene that jailbreaking your iPhone is a violation of copyright laws. However, hacking your iPhone proved to be a popular practice among many users.
Cydia brings for free to jailbroken iPhones highly requested features like copy/paste, camcorder possibility, or tethering options (iPhone as a modem). The new version of the Cydia app store, now supporting paid for applications opens a new world for those iPhone developers whose Apps were rejected by the official Apple App store. The first paid app in Cydia is a contacts application that puts contact photos alongside names and costs $1.
Nevertheless, the Cydia Store has downsides as well. Besides the main inconvenience of having to jailbreak your phone (which can be achieved easily these days), the store accepts payments only via Amazon Payment accounts (but a recent Twitter post from the store's creator, Jay Freeman, says PayPal payment is coming soon). Also, the store accepts only a limited number of app submissions at a time (submissions are halted now), highlighting the limited personnel to handle approvals.
But Cydia Store is certainly an interesting development in the iPhone world to watch over the coming years. The iPhone still lacks some features that many of its users crave for and it looks like plenty will try and get them, regardless of the legal uncertaintly they tackle in the process. And even though Apple tries to block jailbreakings with every iteration of the iPhone's software update, a few days later a new hack makes its way on the Internet.