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Friday, July 03, 2009, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

First iPhone 3GS jailbreaking tool available for download

George Hotz, the 19-year old wiz kid who made headlines two years ago for being the first to successfully unlock Apple's original iPhone all by himself, is again drawing the spotlight for creating and releasing the first-ever jailbreaking tool for the new iPhone 3GS.

Dubbed "purplera1n," the software is currently in beta and available for Windows-only, but Hotz said a Mac version is next on his list. Those interested in using the tool should first backup their iPhone 3GS running iPhone Software 3.0 and make sure they have iTunes 8.2 installed.

Hotz boasts that the binary size of purplera1n is smaller than a C++ hello world application — essentially the most basic piece of software that can be written for modern day computer systems, which simply spits out the phrase "hello world" and terminates.

"No 20MB thing that needs to be torrented," he wrote in a blog post. "And no IPSW to download. This is how jailbreak should be!"

After downloading purplera1n, jailbreaking takes just a few simple steps. "Connect your iPhone normally. Click 'make it ra1n'. Wait. On bootup, run Freeze, the purplera1n installer app. Hopefully you'll figure out what to do from there," Hotz wrote.

The Glen Rock, New Jersey native said he doesn't normally make tools for release to the general public, and prefers to wait for the unofficial iPhone dev team to tackle such matters. "But guys, whats up with waiting until [iPhone Software] 3.1?," he joshed. "That isn't how the game is played. We release, Apple fixes, we find new holes."

"It isn't worth waiting because you might have the 'last' hole in the iPhone," he added in a challenge to fellow hackers before turning his attention to the iPhone maker itself. "What last hole...this isn't golf. I'll find a new one next week. Also your purplera1nyday files ensure that you can always get back to a jailbroken state, so if you have it it's just a matter of tools."

For those unaware, jailbreaking is a process that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to run unofficial apps on their devices that aren't available, or do not meet the strict requirements, of Apple's App Store. Once jailbroken, users can download these applications and install them using unofficial installers such as Cydia and Icy.

Jailbreaking, however, is distinct from unlocking, which is the process by which a mobile device is made compatible with wireless networks for which it has not been licensed use.

Hotz gained notoriety back in 2007 when he became the first to unlock the original iPhone all by himself, using both software and hardware modifications. Just 17 years old at the time, he attempted to sell the unlocked phone on eBay but ended the auction after fake bids apparently sent the price north of $100 million.

He later traded the unlocked phone for "a sweet Nissan 350Z" and three locked iPhones.

Disclaimer: Jailbreaking and unlocking tools for iPhones are unsanctioned hacks which Apple frowns upon and combats regularly with new iPhone Software updates. As such, there is always the risk they could damage your handset's software. AppleInsider reports on these tools for the sake of the interested public and readers should use common sense before applying any of them.