Despite a DMCA exemption for jailbreaking iPhones, the practice is still looked on as shady, if not downright criminal, in certain tech circles. Sure, some jailbreakers are going to get into app piracy, but the act in and of itself is nothing more than wanting to exert control over hardware you own. Sony Ericsson seems to understand the allure, but Apple remains stubborn.
We’ve just witnessed the first real legitimization of jailbreaking with Toyota releasing a custom iPhone skin through Cydia, requiring a jailbroken phone to use. Our excitement has been short-lived, as following the publicity, Toyota pulled the skin rather than get on Apple’s bad side.
The Toyota Scion theme offered some cute touches, like a sliding car to unlock the phone, but more than anything it felt like a statement that big business was recognizing that users with jailbroken devices were still upstanding consumers. Well, Apple got wind of what was going on, and apparently reached out to Toyota, who then contacted the advertising agency behind the promotion. According to the agency, “Toyota’s making us take it down” so that they could “maintain their good relationship with Apple”. That’s not to say that Apple expressly asked Toyota to do so, but it probably didn’t have to use many words to make its position known.
This is a setback for device freedom, certainly, but at least we know that jailbreakers are on someone’s radar as group worth reaching out to.