updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu July 30, 2009
Cydia Store earnings
The Cydia Store is quickly approaching $250,000 in revenue following its opening just over four months ago, according to ModMyi. The third-party app portal for jailbroken iPhones has drawn more than 50,000 purchases. Jay Freeman, Cydia's creator, claims several developers have made over $10,000 in the first week of sales, without going through Apple's App Store.
In contrast, the official App Store earlier this month surpassed 1.5 billion downloads and currently hosts more than 65,000 unique titles. The popular Flick Fishing game is claimed to be the first app to achieve 1 million downloads. The app carries a price of $1 and allows users to make additional in-game purchases.
Cydia has drawn a number of apps that have had trouble getting onto the App Store. Around the same time Cydia went live, Apple rejected Google's Voice app. The iPhone maker also recently pulled similar Google Voice-based apps from the App Store, despite previously approving them.
Several apps, such as Wolfenstein 3D, are available on both Cydia and the App Store. Apple, however, explicitly prohibits apps created with the official SDK from being sold outside the App Store. The company has not yet appeared to take action against the developers distributing through both stores.
Apple has argued that jailbreaking violates terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prohibit circumvention "a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title." Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation are fighting to make the practice legally protected, although Apple claims such actions could lead to "potentially catastrophic" network attacks.
In a separate dispute, the EFF sued Apple for threatening a Bluwiki site hosting discussions between authors attempting to sync music to iPhones and iPods without going through iTunes. In a rare move for Apple, its aggressive legal team backed down and sent a letter formally granting permission for the discussions to continue.
Apple has been blasted by a large number of developers claiming the company is unclear with its approval process and confusing with its policies. Many believe the recent Google Voice issues involved AT&T's demand rather than Apple's protest, as GV Mobile was claimed to be personally approved by Phil Schiller.
Frustrated developers are increasingly turning to portals such as Cydia or Rock Your Phone, which, although lacking the App Store customer base, provide a location to profit from software without worrying about the content being unexpectedly pulled. Several analysts have suggested the third-party stores may actually serve to help Apple by driving iPhone sales, despite a negligible loss of profits from the apps.