The iPad is truly a revolutionizing universal tablet PC, and Apple has done a great work bringing it to the masses. It is currently one of the most sold and sought-after devices, along with the iPhone 4 and the new IPod Touch with Retina Display and 2 cameras. The secret to its success lies not only in the great marketing that Apple has done, but also in the fact that it is very simple to use, and anyone from a first-grader to a 70 years old (who are usually very computer illiterate) can use it.
But aside from those people, there are a lot of users that don’t think the iPad offers them everything it can. That is because Apple has done the same thing with it that they have with the IPod Touch and iPhone: they introduced virtual software limitations that really shouldn’t be there.
The reasoning behind this is that it will keep the device functional and safe from any accidental or intentional damage by the user. That is a great thing, but the downside is that the more experienced users can’t use it to its full potential. Thankfully, there is a solution for this problem and it’s called “jailbreaking”. It’s been around for a long time, ever since the first iPhone, and because the iPad uses the same OS, it isn’t hard to jailbreak it either. To give you an idea of what else your iPad would be able to do if you jailbreak it, here are a few apps that you cannot install on a stock device, only on a jailbroken one.
OpenSSH. OpenSSH is a great SSH client that lets you connect to any remote server you want using an encrypted protocol. It is a great tool for any system administrator and website owner, because it lets them manage their site and server from wherever they are. And with the iPad’s big keyboard and screen, it’s easier than ever.
Backgrounder. If you haven’t upgraded to the new iOS 4 (which unfortunately cannot be jailbroken yet), then you can still get multitasking functionality using this app. It is actually better than the stock multitasking that comes with iOS 4, as it allows you to run multiple apps at once, not just freeze them in the background.
Intelliscreen. The iPad has a big lock screen. And it’s almost completely empty! This isn’t very good, and with a jailbreak and the Intelliscreen app, you can easily set it to display your latest emails, messages, calendar notifications and other things. This way you can have all the urgent notifications at your disposal as soon as you turn the display on – no need to go to unlock it and go to separate apps.
Activator. Activator is an app that lets you take advantage of the gesture framework that comes with Backgrounder. It lets you set up and configure various gestures for almost any function you want. For example, you can run apps, change settings, perform tasks (like syncing) and do other things using just a quick gesture on the big touch screen. Very convenient, and it sure doesn’t come with iOS 4!
Veency. This is an amazing VNC client for the iPad. Using Veency, you can connect to any remote VNC server, such as your home desktop or remote web server, and do anything like you’re in front of that computer. It’s very powerful and useful for a lot of people.
Winterboard. Winterboard simply lets you customize the home screen with your own backgrounds, icons and special effects. If you ever wanted to do that since you bought your iPad, well, now you know how you can do it.
Of course, there are risks, but they are most definitely outweighed by the potential gains. The only thing you need to remember is to follow the jailbreaking instructions carefully and not mess with the file system a lot if you don’t understand what you’re doing. If you do that, you’ll most definitely be just fine.