I travel a lot. And if you’re a geek like me, you can’t go a full day sans Internet access without experiencing some severe withdrawal symptoms.
Luckily, my iPhone, with all its WiFi and 3G goodness, has been instrumental in feeding my addiction while on the road.
But though Apple’s smartphone provides the best mobile browsing experience out there, the small screen and touch controls still don’t compare to the pixel real estate and tactile qwerty speed of a laptop.
Not to mention such luxuries as Flash compatibility, page caching, and tabbed browsing.
So the next time you’re stranded without an open WiFi network (but your 3G signal is going strong), you’ll be glad you installed Addition’s iPhoneModem2 (free to try, full license is $9.99).
Here’s a quick guide:
1) Jailbreak your iPhone.
See the section: Apple and jailbreaking below
Download and install QuickPwn, an easy-to-use jailbreaking application for Windows and Mac (the latest version works with iPhone OS 2.2.1). Run the software and follow the onscreen instruction very carefully!
2) Install iPhoneModem by Addition.
QuickPwn installs an app on your phone called Cydia, which is essentially the App Store for apps that were rejected from the official App Store (or, for whatever reason, the developer chose not to release through Apple).
Run Cydia, search for iPhoneModem by Addition and install it. Keep in mind you can only delete Cydia installed apps via Cydia’s Manage-Sources function. Now download and install the helper app on your laptop and you’re almost ready to go.
3) Set up the network.
Run the helper app and hit Connect. The helper app sets up an ad hoc wireless network that can be accessed via iPhone. The default network it creates is called “iPhoneModem” and does not have a password (you can change this in the Preferences of the helper app). Now open up your iPhone’s Settings and tap WiFi.
Make sure WiFi is turned on and select the network “iPhoneModem” (or whatever you called it). Type the password if you assigned one. Open up the Modem iPhone app and everything else will configure automatically.
After a few moments the helper app and the iPhone app will confirm that a connection has been established and you can browse away with all the comforts of your laptop!
While 3G seems plenty fast on a phone, it feels a little slow on a laptop.
Also, most major web browsers work but not all are supported. In addition, a lot of other internet applications aren’t supported, but for all intents and purposes, you should be able to browse just fine.
Apple and “jailbreaking”
You should know that Apple believes hacking an iPhone is against the law.
The company has said so in comments filed with the U.S. Copyright Office .
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a freedom-of-speech advocacy organization, this is the first public statement from Apple about its legal position on “jailbreaking,” the term used to describe hacking an iPhone to install third-party applications not sold via Apple’s own App Store.
In comments submitted to the Copyright Office, Apple said jailbreaking was a violation of copyright laws. “Current jailbreak techniques now in widespread use [utilizes] unauthorized modification to the copyrighted bootloader and OS, resulting in infringement of the copyright in those programs,” Apple said. The iPhone’s bootloader is a small program stored in the phone’s non-volatile memory that, as its name implies, loads the device’s operating system.
Jailbreaking an iPhone breaks the law, Apple said, because the process relies on pirated copies of the bootloader and operating system.
“Infringing reproductions of those works are created each time they are downloaded through Pwnage Tool and loaded onto the iPhone,” said Apple, referring to one of the most popular jailbreaking tools.
Created by a group calling themselves the “iPhone Dev Team,” Pwnage Tool traces its history to September 2007, when the programmers unlocked the first-generation iPhone .
And iPhone hacking leads to even more piracy, Apple argued. “In addition, the jailbroken OS enabled pirated copies of Apple copyrighted content and other third-party content such as games and applications to play on the iPhone, resulting in further infringing uses of copyrighted works and diminished incentive to create those works in the first place.”
Apple’s written comments (download PDF) to the Copyright Office were in response to the EFF’s request last year for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for cell phone jailbreaking.
The EFF, and other technology companies that support it, including Firefox maker Mozilla Corp. , want the Copyright Office to let users install applications not available through Apple’s App Store on their iPhones without fear of copyright infringement penalties.
Fred von Lohmann, the EFF senior staff attorney who is the organization’s expert in intellectual property law, blasted Apple.
“Apple justifies [its position] by claiming that opening the iPhone to independently created applications will compromise safety, security, reliability, and swing the doors wide for those who want to run pirated software,” said Lohmann in an entry posted to an EFF blog .
“If this sounds like FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt], that’s because it is.”
Elsewhere, Lohmann called Apple’s take on jailbreaking an “absurdity.”
“One need only transpose Apple’s arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity,” Lohmann said.
“General Motors might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. But we’d never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages.”
In the original EFF request (download PDF) for a DCMA exemption, Lohmann argued that “there is no copy-righted rationale for preventing iPhone owners from ‘jailbreaking’ their phones, enabling them to interoperate with applications lawfully obtained from a source of their own choosing.”
For its part, Apple sees the EFF’s moves as an attempt to tell it how to run its business. “EFF apparently desires to use the rulemaking process to alter Apple’s business practices by negating DCMA protection for technologies that interfere with what the EFF seems to assume would be a more socially desirable business model that is more ‘open’,” the company said.
“Its arguments really amount to an attack on Apple’s business choices,” said Apple.
Note: If you haven’t already discovered, jailbreaking your iPhone opens up a world of possibilities, including themes and apps that aren’t allowed in the App Store. While it technically voids the warranty, you can easily return your device to its original state with the “Restore” feature in iTunes, wiping all traces of the jailbreak hack.