Pirating on the iPhone

by postbreak

Ever since the introduction of the App Store on the iPhone people have been trying to circumvent the DRM wrapped around these applications. Around a week after the App Store’s launch the DRM was successfully cracked and “crack packs” containing hundreds of cracked applications started to flood the popular torrent sites. Currently you can still steal from developers with this methodology but now there is a newer method that rivals the App Store in it’s convenience.

Now before I start talking about this questionable practice I’d like to say first hand that I do not support piracy. Stealing from developers on any platform is still stealing and what boggles my mind is that these applications cost under ten dollars in most cases.

So the old method of pirating iPhone applications required you to replace a MobileInstallation file on the handset and then simply drag and drop the applications into iTunes. Now at first this sounds incredibly simple and well in my opinion it is. Imagine being able to launch an App Store like application allowing you to pirate apps on the handset itself.

This is where Installous comes into play. I installed this application on a whim because I thought it was a cydia competitor, boy was I wrong. Installous basically sets up an iPhone webapp that lets you search through legitimate iPhone applications, download them directly from SendSpace or RapidShare and then unpack the IPA file and install the application skirting the fee you’d pay on the App Store. You can even sync these illegal installs back through iTunes with a quick setting change.

A few of my friends are iPhone developers and for their sake I truly hope this practice gets shut down because if this catches on in the homebrew scene what motivation will developers have to write applications if they just get cracked and pirated? I’m sure the amount of pirated applications on the iPhone is tiny in comparison to the overall market but pirating in small numbers is still pirating.

Apple’s stance on this is to act blind and dumb ignoring what happens behind the scenes and it’s futile attempts to stop jail-breaking only seems to be justified by keeping the phones on the original carriers, not to stop piracy.