iPod Touch Firmware be Damned

I’m really loving the iPod touch unlike any other piece of hardware or software for a long time. Probably not since well, switching to a mac in the first place. Of course, this raises all kinds of red flags because it makes me all the more dependent on the whims of one company. One thing on the horizon is a firmware update for the iPhone which will later percolate to the iPod touch as these products are essentially in the same line up.

You see, right now Apple is playing cat and mouse with the hacker community, mainly our right to mod and install whatever we want on the iPod touch. These things are not music players. They are very small and well-designed UNIX computers. The absurd thing about this situation is how Apple is trying to dictate what we can or cannot do with these devices for the ostensible reason that they are now more or less bed buddies with the telecommunications industry and music industry more than they care to admit.

Despite the fact that Apple is challenging the status quo and making life generally more pleasant for the average consumer by making inroads into both industries, Apple is not fighting for consumers. They are fighting for themselves and to build a digital conglomerate like nothing before. Once enough of us are locked in, what’s going to stop them from pulling the rug out from under us?

Nothing, except maybe a competing technology that can shake things up with a solution as elegant and innovative as Apple brought to the table. I’m sure it will eventually happen but life is short.

Whatever the case, I’m hanging on to firmware 1.1.2 and whatever the hell version of iTunes I’m on right now because unlocking my current setup was a bastard and a half in itself as Apple cracks down on vulnerabilities and backdoors that allow a thriving hacker community to give people what they want. The only reason I’m so happy to have my iPod touch is because I got MobileMail.app (only offered on iPhone in Apple’s infinite wisdom, though a browser comes by default), ebook reader, proper terminal emulation, and bookmarks on the home dock.

I’m thinking of using the iPod touch as a HD player by connecting it to a TV as well. Now I can’t do it without buying a special cable with an Apple chip embedded. This is supposedly do to DRM but of course there’s nothing stopping me from taking the signal from that not to mention the point is moot if the movie file being played is pirated to start. I think we’ll be seeing these and many other nasty issues in the future. I remember when the PSP came out, the earlier first generation models were selling for a premium on the second hand market simply because they could be cracked to run all kinds of neat stuff unlike newer models with better firmware.

I suppose iPod touches could go the same route. If you have a hacked iPhone/Touch like me I suggest that you tread carefully when a new firmware or iTunes version rears its head in the update as well.