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Saturday, September 13, 2008, 01:40 pm PT (04:40 pm ET)

iPhone 2.1 jailbroken with end run around iTunes 8 defenses

The well-known iPhone Dev Team has already managed to jailbreak the 2.1 firmware for iPhones and iPod touch, all the while without requiring tricks to circumvent new anti-hacking provisions in iTunes 8.

New versions of PwnageTool and its accompanying QuickPwn app have arrived just days after the launch of Apple's 2.1 upgrade.

The combination will allow unsigned third-party code to run on iPhone and iPhone 3G as well as the first-generation iPod touch; the second-generation iPod touch isn't yet known to work, in part because none of the Dev Team has an example to verify the status of the jailbreak.

The solution comes in spite of new, significant measures reportedly discovered in iTunes 8 to thwart more direct attempts at loading modified firmware on to untouched devices. Just before the new jailbreak, the Dev Team said it had discovered apparent security measures in Apple's software that pops up an error as long as the rogue firmware is loaded into iTunes, refusing to sync with iPhones or iPods if the device is still running official code.

Members of the modding group initially thought they might need to patch iTunes 8 to allow the altered firmware and had even developed an early version of the patch before it became clear that one wasn't necessary.

While no one has yet claimed to successfully unlock an iPhone 3G purely through software, the current hack suggests Apple has yet to find a definitive trick to winning the "cat and mouse" game between itself and those groups bent on loosening the phone's limitations, many of which now have a long-established history of overturning any new controls Apple might put in place.

"We’re waiting to see what Apple tries next," the iPhone Dev Team says. "But we think they might want to rethink their priorities.  They probably won’t though."