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August 5th, 2010

Apple iPhone UnlockedThe Library of Congress (LOC), which oversees the Copyright Office, announced on July 26, that consumers can now “jailbreak” the Apple iPhone. This means a reduction in the company’s stranglehold on supply of software applications that run on the insanely popular device. The LOC reviews and authorizes exemptions every three years to maintain a balance between copyright protection and fair “non-infringing” uses of protected material.

With locked devices, iPhone users were only able to use apps from Apple, while developers had to get their software pre-approved by the Cupertino firm. Apple can still choose to disable jailbroken iPhones – with “hunter-killer” upgrades to the iOS, the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch operating system – but users are exempt from legal liability for unlocking them.

Consumers become empowered

In addition to jailbreaking, other new exemptions will allow iPhone and other smartphone owners to, among other things, defeat the access controls that tie their phones to a single carrier and bypass the defense systems of apps (often games) to plug security holes. The exemptions are considered a big victory by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which had urged the Library of Congress to base all rules on the simple principle that consumers actually own the high-tech devices that they buy, and should be allowed, even empowered, to modify them.

The biggest change will be the arrival of scores of new apps that users can try out, whether a phone’s maker likes it or not. If you are an iPhone aficionado, it is not just about your movie-watching and game-playing. There will be a surge of R&D for apps that turn smartphones into masters of short-range control as well as long-distance calling. Smartphones can be very capable handheld controllers for presentations at conferences and three fairly mature technologies are key.

Wireless technologies for communication

The three most widely used short-range communications and control protocols are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and IR (infrared). Apps built for these communication channels will, one day soon, control entire racks of audiovisual rentals from up close, upstairs or half-a-world away. With unlocked phones, even proprietary apps can be developed for a firm’s own private use, while there will likely be a lot of new goodies at Apple’s App Store (and, in the post-jailbreak era, other companies’ stores, too). You can count on all kinds of developers to come up with all kinds of different ideas to give you control over all kinds of diverse devices.

With the proliferation of unlocked smart phones and further tech advances with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and IR,  it won’t be long before you’ll be reprogramming your interactive kiosk rentals with a smartphone, or using your iPad to control a media player showing your presentation on one of CRE’s plasma rentals.

Technology news is breaking 24/7, worldwide, and we will keep you posted on things that will help you work smarter and get better results. Smartphones are not toys to us, but powerful business tools. And when you need trade show rentals or office equipment rentals, CRE is a tool, too – your personal tool for getting the job done, whatever it is. Complete the Quick Rental Quote form, and let us know what we can help you get done. Today, tomorrow or whenever you need us, we’ll be right here – and ready!

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