IOS 6.1
Will Apple move toward an open iOS? IBTimes

The iOS 6 jailbreak, Evasi0n, has been downloaded more than 7 million times in less than a week since its release, according to Forbes. But while the popularity of the Evasi0n jailbreak is unique, there are extenuating circumstances that have led to the tool to reach such unprecedented heights.

Extensive Development

Evasi0n was highly anticipated and took more than five months to develop -- before Evasi0n's 100-day development, the longest jailbreak had taken 80 days to complete. The new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 had a number of security features installed that made this jailbreak take even longer to develop than previous versions. Cydia creator Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, explained some of Apple’s security features in an interview with IBTimes.

“Apple has been getting much better at making a secure system, so they’ve been adding various defenses,” Freeman said. “One of them, in particular, is Address Space Layout Randomization. And, in particular, they’ve added it to the kernel. The kernel is the core part of the operating system that maintains all of the devices, and it has to be secure, fundamentally, or else nothing else can be secure. And they added this particular submission to the kernel so they have KASLR [Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization].”

He continued, adding that jailbreakers need to find and exploit an increasing number of mistakes in iOS in order to get a clean jailbreak experience. Finding the flaws in iOS has become increasingly difficult with Apple’s inclusion of security defenses like KASLR. But despite five months in development, at least the added waiting time created increased anticipation and hype for Evasi0n's release.

Setting A Fixed Release Date

Usually, the release of a jailbreak isn’t as set or advertised online, but, due to the number of users that were waiting for the Evasi0n release, the Evad3rs group that created the jailbreak tool uncharacteristically announced a fixed release date for Evasi0n: Feb. 4.

The increased amount of press the iOS 6 jailbreak received most likely played a role in the inflated number of downloads.

The Growing Number Of iOS Devices

The Verge says there are 500 million devices running iOS 6 right now, which is approximately 60 percent of all iOS devices ever made. With the release of the iPhone 5 in September and the iPad Mini and iPad 4 in October, there are millions of iOS devices that have been added to the market preinstalled with iOS 6, which means they couldn’t have been jailbroken until very recently.

When accounting for the number of users who upgraded to iOS 6 on their iPhone 4 or 4S or their iPad 3s, the number grows even more. While those users may have wanted to jailbreak their device, the absence of the tool made it difficult, which created an even stronger demand.

The high number of downloads may not be as “inflated” as it seems. Seven million downloads is certainly high, but, if the jailbreak came earlier and without so much anticipation, it could have been a couple of weeks before the figure reached 7 million, instead of a couple of days. Freeman spoke about the high number of downloads, saying, “[when the last major jailbreak came out] if you totaled the week, you might get a similarly large amount of people, proportionally at least, depending on how many people owned the devices at the time.”

Regardless, Evasi0n has been immensely popular, which begs the question: Do Apple iOS users want an open operating system?