Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 isn’t generally available yet. But members of the iPhone Dev Team (a hacker group) have already gone and released a beta jailbreak tool for the beta operating system. This comes on the heels of a video showing what appeared to be a jailbroken iPhone running OS 4.0 last week.
Jailbreaking an iPhone basically gives you a little more control over your iPhone or iPod touch than Steve Jobs intended. You can install third party software that’s not available in the iPhone App Store, for instance.
The redsn0w 0.9.5 beta jailbreak tool has a few rough edges at the moment. First, there’s no Windows version, it’s for OS X only. Second, you need to be a registered developer with the developer preview version of OS X 4.0. And third… it only works with the iPhone 3G at the moment.
Of course, iPhone OS 4.0 addresses some of the issues that led people to jailbreak their phones in the past. For instance, it will support limited multitasking for third party apps, meaning you can stream Pandora internet radio in the background while surfing the web. But if you want to install apps on your iPhone that haven’t been approved by Apple, jailbreaking is still your best bet.
Redsn0w 0.9.5 beta is just the first step. I suspect we’ll see plenty of improvements by the time Apple releases iPhone OS 4.0 to the public.