updated 12:00 pm EST, Mon January 16, 2012
Public release coming soon
A member of the Chronic Dev Team has taken the exploit that allowed for an "untethered" jailbreak of iOS 5.0.1 on A4 devices and made it work on A5 devices, as demonstrated by a video showing an iPhone 4S running the stock operating system rebooting with its jailbroken apps (including Cydia and iFile) intact, reports hacker pod2g. The new technique is planned for a public release in the near future, though pod2g was not specific about when.
The news means it should be possible to jailbreak the iPad 2, which so far has been resistant to jailbreaking following the release of iOS 5.0.1 and the subsequent update in firmware. An "untethered" jailbreak allows the jailbreak to remain semi-permanently on the device without having to re-jailbreak between restarts, a complicated process that generally discourages all but the most interested users.
Jailbreaking allows users to run apps offered outside the official App Store, which generally offer extra abilities such as filesystem browsing or customization options not normally available. Apple has cautioned that jailbroken apps could be a security risk, as is often seen on Android.
At present there is still no solution to the problem of "unlocking" iPhones running iOS 5 and higher. Many iPhones are sold as "simlocked" to a carrier, and while some carriers will unlock the devices themselves under certain conditions, others (most notably AT&T) refuse to remove the carrier lock even when the contract is completed. Apple offers factory-unlocked phones as do several carriers, but at an unsubsidized price. Unlocking allows the sim card in the iPhone to be swapped out with ones from other countries, letting users enjoy local service in different regions without fear of roaming charges.