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InstallerApp 1.1

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We have just released a free update to our package installer tool, InstallerApp, for both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. Among other things, we have ensured it works on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, removed support for Installer repositories (that are no longer supported anyway), and stripped off the Pusher technology in favor of the existing jailbreak solutions such as PwnageTool and redsn0w. To install stuff onto the iPhone, simply install package named InstallerApp Support from Cydia or Icy on the device (from our repository apt.ripdev.com) and there you go!

As a result, InstallerApp is now 1.2 Mb (or 4.2 for Microsoft Windows) as opposed to 17 Mb before.

Enjoy.

It took much longer than we have anticipated, but the Microsoft Windows version of InstallerApp is finally out. It works on anything from XP to Seven, and requires an installed iTunes. Otherwise, give it a go. License purchased ties to the devices, not the app itself, so it doesn’t matter which platform you use - the activation codes will work regardless.

Download. Try. Buy ($7). Or Trash if you don’t like it ;)

InstallerApp 1.0.3

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Just a quick note to say that a minor update to our Mac OS X application, InstallerApp is now out. Version 1.0.3 fixes a problem that caused some repositories be unaccessible. Download here.

Icy update is also in the pipeline, but is taking a little longer than anticipated, so expect it either this weekend or sometime early next week. :)

Cheers!

InstallerApp 1.0.2

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We're glad to announce the immediate availability of InstallerApp 1.0.2. We have worked hard to work out most of the minor kinks that have prevented us from doing a major feature update work — so enjoy this version and we'll be focusing on new features for the next update.

What's new?

  • Added iPod touch 1G support (iPod touch 2G is not supported at the moment)
  • Added More Information panel to view additional information about packages
  • Improved processing of packages with dependencies
  • Upgraded device integration module and iPhone support
  • Improved interaction with iTunes
  • Enhanced support for numerous packages
  • Added most popular packages (in terms of user feedback) to the “Featured” category
  • Added YouTube support for “unlocked” iPhones
  • Added tooltips for package status icons
  • Added notification for packages with unknown sources
  • Added new command-line utilities for packages that might require them
  • Added ability to “Force Delete” packages that have dependencies (including “circular” dependencies)
  • Improved package synchronization process
  • Fixed “Recent packages” issue where recent packages would not show
  • Fixed application crash after unexpected device disconnect
  • Fixed error with package refresh after adding or removing sources
  • Fixed issue of recognizing package status after synchronization
  • Number of other minor fixes

Download now or view product info.

On Monday we've released InstallerApp immodestly comparing it to iTunes by saying "it is like iTunes for jailbreak apps". While leaving all those arguments about legitimacy of jailbreak aside, we'd like to clarify one misconception about InstallerApp and explain how it's different from standard jailbreak solutions and what we mean by "running non-App Store apps on iPhone without jailbreak".

Typical jailbreak solution
When you jailbreak your iPhone with a typical jailbreak solution (in a form of QuickPwn or PwnageTool), in addition to patching the iPhone's kernel (to be able to run applications that are not signed by Apple), they also patch several system files. Usually these tools also install Cydia that moves on the first launch Applications folder into user's partition (so when you install any additional apps, you won't run out of space in the 300MB system partition). 

But the main thing that these jailbreak tools do is they open iPhone's system partition to install different command-line tools -- basically, to "fill" iPhone's underlying UNIX OS with some tools that Apple didn't include. By doing so they potentially make iPhone less secure and less stable -- when any app can overwrite (by accident or on purpose) any system file on the system partition and make your iPhone unusable. 

To perform these operations with iPhone, jailbreak tools require iPhone to be in the DFU mode (special recovery mode) -- when you press and hold iPhone's buttons during the launch for 10 seconds when connected to computer and do other weird stuff :) This is where the most users have issues nowadays -- because Apple screwed up in 10.5.6 and often you just need a USB hub to connect iPhone with USB cable to your Mac.

InstallerApp -- not your typical jailbreak
The same DFU mode is required for InstallerApp's Pusher that also does some seemingly weird stuff to your iPhone, however there are some major differences between Push and jailbreak. 

While InstallerApp puts its mobile sibling installerd (special demon application that handles synchronization between Mac and iPhone) on iPhone's system partition, it leaves system partition CLOSED, so no app can write there and mess up your iPhone's file system. It also does NOT install a bunch of different command-line tools (installed by tools like Cydia) and it does NOT replace system libraries.

There are two kinds of applications for the iPhone -- some are just games or small utilities that do not require any modification to iPhone's file system and won't require open system partition. In this case "pushing" without full-scale jailbreak is not required and these apps will work just fine on your iPhone.

DPKG Support "pushing"
However there is a big group of other applications, system utilities and other programs that will modify iPhone's system behavior (WinterBoard, for example, that enables changing themes in iPhone interface). These apps DO require writable system partition and command-line tools for them to successfully functioning. 

InstallerApp has solution for that as well -- instead of performing jailbreak with aforementioned tools like QuickPWN, InstallerApp will offer to install DPKG support files that will put on your iPhone required command-line tools and will make system partition writable. This is basically the same set that is installed by Cydia, but rebuilt from scratch and highly optimized for better performance -- it's smaller too, just 1,2MB instead of Cydia's 32MB. InstallerApp will show an alert warning users about consequences of DPKG support installation, and if user agrees, the same "pushing" procedure will install these tools on the user's iPhone.

After DPKG support installation by InstallerApp any program that requires jailbreak, will work on the iPhone.

I hope this clears the confusion between jailbreak and unofficial applications working on iPhone, and what's the role of InstallerApp in that.

InstallerApp 1.0

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InstallerApp
Proudly presenting the very first version of InstallerApp for Mac OS X. After quite some time in development, InstallerApp is now ready for your consumption.

InstallerApp is a Mac OS X tool that basically acts as a desktop client for Installer and Cydia repositories you use daily on your iPhone. It will refresh the sources, track package updates, and install packages to your iPhone over an USB cable -- so you don't even need Wi-Fi. InstallerApp will also install everything you need on the phone -- do jailbroken iPhone is no longer a requirement -- it will use the Pusher technology to install required software to your device.

InstallerApp can install software in two flavors -- when you initially connect an iPhone, it will ask you to install some required components (that is mostly the Installer itself and its daemon, an application that will respond to InstallerApp requests on the USB). This can be installed on any iPhone, and if it was not jailbroken before, then it will not even open the system disk for writing -- this to guarantee the security and integrity of your system.

If you wish to install software that uses APT/DPKG (probably most known on the iPhone world after the graphical front-end Cydia), then the system partition will have to be open for writing (most dpkg packages won't work otherwise) -- and yes, InstallerApp can do that too by downloading a special "ramdisk" that contains the open source components (such as dpkg, and some essential tools) and "pushing it" to the iPhone. We have rebuilt the components on our own as the ones packaged with other solutions were not built with all diligence and patience as they should have been.

Yes, once DPKG support is installed, InstallerApp can install Cydia packages -- moreover, if you install something in Cydia on the iPhone (or Installer, of course), InstallerApp will know about it, and vice versa -- so you can use the packager you feel more convienient at the particular time. Nifty, huh?

For the ones who already have jailbroken phones, you can install a packaged named InstallerApp Support from Installer's System category. It will essentially put both InstallerApp daemon and the DPKG utilities right onto your phone, so you don't have to Push twice.

An extra cool factor -- the application icon was made by Max Rudberg of MaxThemes fame. The idea was to extend the original Installer icon to the desktop - which naturally come as a realization that maybe all iPhone icons are actually cubes -- but we only see one edge of it when we use the iPhone. InstallerApp icon is an exact clone of the iPhone icon, except you can see it in whole now. ;)

Everything comes at a price... in this particular case, InstallerApp will freely allow you to browse the repositories and Push the device -- but not install packages on it. To work with your iPhone, InstallerApp requires a license code. Each license code costs $7 and works for up to 3 devices -- so you can use it to synchronize your phone family's phones (or if you're a geek like me, both of your iPhones, heh). If you have more than 3 iPhones, well, you can buy more than one license code.

To answer some questions that likely will arise... we already have a lot of stuff planned for the coming updates of InstallerApp, so there is more waiting for you. Windows version is in the development and will ship later (unfortunately, we don't yet have a definite release date). iPod touch support is being investigated.

Grab it, try it, buy it if you like and let us know what you think.

We wanted to reveal something we've been working on for a while - a software for the desktop computers that will install third-party packages on your iPhone.

InstallerApp (on Mac OS X)

Practically it is a desktop variant of our own Installer.app. It will allow you to view and install packages that are present in various Installer and Cydia repositories by downloading them to your computer and then synchronizing via the USB cable with your iPhone.

With InstallerApp you will be able to install many of the available third-party software packages, both requiring the system partition to be writable, and the ones that do not. Yes, there are less packages that don't require writable system partition, but it does keeps your iPhone more secure.

Once installed on the iPhone, the package will be stored on your computer's hard drive and InstallerApp will (just like iTunes) notify you of updates. You will also be able to quickly reinstall the packages you have after the restore, without having to select each of them individually.

We got plenty of plans on enhancing this solution - for starters lets mention that in the future you will be able to get trial versions of the installable commercial software... and much more.

InstallerApp is in beta testing now and we anticipate the 1.0 release soon. We'll keep you posted on the progress.