Jailbreaking iOS 5 could do more than simply annoy Apple, even after it was declared a completely legal practice. The popular mobile operating system, used on Apple's iPod Touch line-up, iPhones, and iPads, has recently reached its fifth incarnation. iOS 5 brings a number of new changes and improvements to the OS and is scheduled for release later in the year. Apple has been providing support in the form of pre-release versions of iOS 5, in order to allow developers to sample and prepare for its imminent release. As ZDNet reports however, jailbreaking iOS 5 in order to unlock additional features will result in the removal of 'over-the-air', or automatic, updating.
Beta 4 of iOS 5 was the first version to be downloadable 'over-the-air'; in other words, without having the Apple device connected directly to a computer. However, with this change comes a change in how Apple intend to counter the jailbreaking community. The new approach they are taking is similar to the approach Google took from the very start with their Android OS, whereby if the operating system is modified, then it ceases to receive wireless updates. With Android, the process is known as 'rooting' one's phone, in order to access features that were never officially supported, or were never intended for public usage. Android also allows for the installation of custom ROMs, which is similar to different community distributions of the Linux OS.
Users of iOS 5 Beta 3 will still be able to update to Beta 4 even after having jailbroken their device, if they accept plugging their Apple product into their computer and updating via iTunes. To many people, this may not pose an issue; as it has been the update method they have used for all previous updates. One positive for those running a jailbroken version of the iOS firmware is that the chances of accidentally losing their modifications are extremely slim now, unless they download and update using iTunes.