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Saturday, July 19, 2008, 05:50 pm PT (08:50 pm ET)

iPhone 3G jailbreaking tool goes live

The well-known iPhone Dev Team has released one of the first utilities to jailbreak iPhone 3G and let it run unsanctioned apps, albeit one with more than a few catches.

The group's new Pwnage Tool 2.0 now simplifies the process of removing Apple's restrictions on allowable software for all iPhone models as well as the iPod touch.

What it won't do, however, is unlock iPhone 3G for use with wireless carriers other than those Apple has officially chosen. The different cellular hardware prevents the unlock process for the original device from translating directly to the newer phone. Unlocking is still possible for earlier phones.

The software also breaks backwards compatibility with earlier iPhone and iPod firmware and requires version 2.0 firmware on all of these devices.

Apple has historically been relatively passive in its responses to unlocking tools. While the company warned that its 1.1.1 firmware update risked rendering unlocked iPhones unusable, most other updates haven't created a similar effect and the company has largely kept to thwarting unlocking efforts by patching against security exploits that would also compromise locked devices.

With iPhone 3G, the iPhone maker has primarily relied on controlling the retail experience by requiring that iPhones be activated for a contract in-store, discouraging casual unlocking. The availability of approved third-party apps is also widely believed to curb the demand for jailbreaking and unlocking tools.