By Ed Oswald | Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm
You might remember Brian Chen at Wired’s reporting on iPhone App Store piracy. That got us to thinking, is it really an issue, or just an exaggeration of a minor problem? To test our theories, we decided to attempt to install a pirated app on one of our own iPhone 3G’s here at Technologizer.
We’d like to apologize ahead of time to the developer whose apps we have used in this experiment. Your app wasn’t singled out or anything, it was merely selected to show the process. It has since been deleted: Technologizer has no interest in participating in this activity.
Anyways, back to our test. The first step in the process was to use the website Mr. Chen sourced, The Monkey’s Ball. We found that from a perspective of actually searching for sources say via Google and the like, easy-to-use sources for average Joe Pirater are not readily found. Yes, the searches will uncover places to download apps, but you’re pretty much on your own to figure out how to use them.
We surfed around TMB and found that there wasn’t any download links to use when looking through the applications, so we moved on to Appulo.us. Success. Within minutes I had surfed to find MLB At Bat 2009.
The next part absolutely floored me. I clicked on one of the apps and Firefox detected the .ipa extension as executable by the iTunes app. Fair enough, I selected “open.” Within moments, the full version of At Bat 2009 was in my list of Applications. That’s scarily easy.
We hit a road block however — MLB could not be installed because iTunes could not verify them. So we moved on to Capcom’s Mega Man II. Same error. So we did some searching, and found out why. To install cracked apps you need to have a jailbroken phone, and the application IPA Prep installed.
So, for the most part, developers can breathe easy because a majority of us are running non-jailbroken phones. But for those who have jailbroken phones, all you need is an app and a web browser, and just about any application you can imagine is well within your reach.
Apple has just made it too darn easy.