Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

On Jailbreaking the Apple Watch

Michael Rockwell:

The jailbreak community was a treasure trove of ideas for Apple in the early days of the iPhone. Without this vibrant community building unsanctioned apps, the App Store may never have been developed at all. The jailbreak community was the first to develop Wi-Fi syncing, multitasking, custom wallpapers, home screen folders, and even copy and paste.

This leaves me wondering what a jailbreak community could do for the Watch.

I’m not sure Rockwell frames this exactly right; while the jailbreak community was the first to implement these features, they were also on Apple’s “to do” list. Implementations of copy and paste, for instance, were pretty janky during the jailbreak era; the version that launched officially with iPhone OS 3 was an instant hit.

But I think the sentiment is largely on the nose. Jailbreaking the iPhone allowed developers and enterprising users to mess around with their dream list of features. Some of them — systemwide custom font settings, for example — will never be an official part of iOS, but I’m sure that these experiments helped Apple figure out what works within the constraints of the system. As Apple has solidified the narrative around the Watch as a fitness-oriented device, I’m not sure it needs a jailbreak, but the results could be prescient of future WatchOS versions.