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Apple Lawyers Using Jailbroken iPhones?

Someone discovered that an image displayed within the iPhone biometric security patent application shows a jailbroken iPhone menu. Shame shame.

Was it a slip-up, or a full-fledged disregard to Steve Jobs' insistence that jailbreaking the iPhone and iPod Touch is nothing more than illegally cracking the devices? That's the question to ask Apple attorneys--Kramer, Levin Naftalis & Frankel--when loading up the iPhone Biometric Security Patent Application, or rather, question the person who created the diagram within the patent. After all, jailbreaking has been a hot topic as of late, and frankly, shouldn't be an issue at all. Why? Because consumers should have the right to install whatever applications they want on a device they personally own. Then again, the iPhone and iPod touch aren't the only devices that feature consumer lockdowns.

For the uninitiated, jailbreaking the iPhone operating system means that consumers can install whatever they please on the device--anything unauthorized to be more specific--whether it's a ported PC game, a cool theme, or applications not available on Apple App Store. There's some speculation about whether jailbreaking is illegal or not, with Apple saying it violates the DMCA and others saying that jailbreaking is protected under fair-use doctrines. Supposedly, jailbreaking the devices will not cause any physical harm, however doing so voids the warranty, especially if 3rd party apps perform malicious actions.

Still, whether jailbreaking is legal or not, the iPhone Biometric Security Patent Application illustration does indeed show non-Apple icons.  Both the Intaller.app and SMBPrefs (SummerBoard website, example image) icons are clearly illustrated on the menu along with a theme displayed in the background (speculated to be the iWood Realize theme from iSpazio although the background looks nothing like wood). Unfortunately, jailbreaking has nothing to do with the filed patent, so it's safe to assume that someone illustrated the diagram using a not-so-official Apple device, and not intentionally doing so for the sake of the patent.

Ultimately, this may become a problem, and it may be that the patent image will disappear once Apple catches wind of the "mistake." The illustration only goes to show that consumers want flexibility and the freedom to customize both the iPhone and iPod Touch, something that jailbroken devices are capable of providing. It's highly likely that Apple will release the reigns, but from the looks of the patent illustration, even Apple attorneys want a little freedom.