Want to install unauthorized apps on your iPhone 4S or iPad 2? It's now possible.
After a long wait, iPhone hackers have released the first "untethered jailbreak" of Apple's latest iDevices running the latest iOS software. (Earlier models of the iPhone and iPad, as well as the iPod Touch, running iOS 5.0.1 were jailbroken weeks ago, but the A5 processor in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 presented special problems.)
Entitled "Absinthe A5," the jailbreak enables the user to gain full command of his iDevice, thereby breaking it out of the iTunes "jail." (The "untethered" adjective means that the jailbreak will survive a restart of the handset and won't require reinstallation from a computer.)
With a jailbroken device, the user can visit third-party app stores to download and install apps that Apple doesn't allow, such as alternate homescreens, file managers or apps that allow the user to use Skype over the cellular network or turn the phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot for free.
But jailbreaking isn't for the technically unskilled. It can open the device to hackers, who know that the default root password for all iOS devices is "alpine." (That's the first thing you should change on a jailbroken device.)
You also can't trust third-party apps the way you would apps downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Some might contain hidden malware, and others might accidentally "brick" the phone, rendering it unusable.
And of course jailbreaking will violate your warranty. But it is legal, at least in the United States.
If you're willing to take the risks, you can download the Absinthe A5 jailbreak.