updated 08:10 pm EST, Fri December 10, 2010
May reflect a change in strategy
Six months after introducing an API to help enterprise and security applications tell if the OS has been compromised, Apple has disabled or removed the "jailbreak detection" method from iOS 4.2, Network World reports. The unannounced discontinuation was noticed by device-management vendors but will not affect their ability to detect compromised iOS devices, they say.
The API was part of a set of mobile device management features incorporated into iOS 4. It essentially allowed applications to audit the OS to determine if the system had been compromised, the usual method by which jailbreaking code is injected. Some vendors speculated that because the OS audit itself could theoretically also be compromised, the API would eventually become useless anyway.
Rather than being taken as a surrender in Apple's ongoing battle against unauthorized apps, this new development could signal merely a change in approach towards combatting jailbreaking, which although legal is seen by the company as a threat to security, since jailbreaking generally relies on exploits in the OS that could also be leveraged for other purposes.
Non-App Store apps aren't checked for malware or bad code which could compromise or destabilize the OS, and Apple considers jailbreaking to void the warranty on an affected device. [via Network World]