A predominant feature that makes the iOS community so great is the incorporation of the App Store and Cydia Store for the jailbreak community. These avenues have opened the doors for developers to create some of the most intuitive applications and tweaks on any mobile platform. Along with the environment that is available, Apple's enterprise application Xcode is great because it gives the tools needed for developers to create and design applications (and of course Theos for the jailbreak community). The iPhone Simulator, part of Xcode, allows developers to test their applications out in an emulated environment to ensure everything is working correctly. Although this is all well and good, the one downfall to Xcode and the features it houses is the fact that it is only available on computers running OS X. This limitation is huge when it comes to hacking and developer opportunities, especially for those who hail with the jailbreak community. Developers and hackers have thought of ways to get around this hurdle however nothing has been made or was previously in the works to alleviate this issue. Chris Wade (@cmwdotme), a veteran and highly recognized hacker in the iOS jailbreak and Linux community, has embarked on a project called iEmu to add iOS emulation capabilities with more options and more supported platforms.
The iEmu project aims to create an open-source iOS device emulator that will be available on Linux, Window, Mac, and mobile platforms such as Android (even iOS itself). Based off of the popular QEMU emulator, the project's primary focus is to create and implement support for the S5L8930 chipset; this hardware can be found in the iPhone 4 and first-generation iPad. Since Apple has not released specifications for this chipset and other key hardware components, the only means of obtaining the information required is through heavy reverse-engineering. Because of the difficulty it includes, Chris has dedicated his entire time to continuing to make progress with this process; this move has proved successful. At this stage of the journey towards completion however, the iEmu project needs your help.
The iEmu project has a Kickstarter page and is looking to earn funds to further push progress forward. The goal is to reach $20,000 as this will be sufficient to ensure that the project is finished with excellence. The project will only be funded if $20,000 is pledged by September 16, 2011. As mentioned above, this project is entirely open-source and will be available upon release. Not only would your contribution be a huge help but depending on the amount of money you pledge, you will earn certain rewards. The full details of the rewards are detailed on the Kickstarter page, however here are some of the neat stuff you can earn with your contribution(s):
- iEmu custom sticker(s)
- iEmu T-Shirt
- Beta access to iEmu when the time comes
- Recognition on iEmu.org
- Dell Streak 7
- Sponsor banner
(Full details can be seen on the iEmu Kickstarter page)
At this point you may be wondering; what does the iEmu project have anything to do with me and why is this project so important to the future of iOS? I had similar questions myself - this is why I (on behalf of ModMyi) talked with Chris Wade on the phone to clarify a few questions I had. Through his clarifications, you will find that the project has much more meaning and is quite comprehensive:
JOSH: In more basic terms, describe what iEmu is all about. What is the ultimate goal with creating iEmu?
CHRIS: iEmu will be an emulator that allows you to emulate iDevice software. The ultimate goal is to get iOS running outside of just the iDevice itself, as this capability can't be done at this time.
JOSH: Why did you decide to start this project? What is its significance?
CHRIS: One of the things that many people know already is that the only way of running an iOS application outside of the iDevice itself is through the iPhone Simulator, provided by Apple's SDK. The iPhone Simulator software is extremely limiting and doesn't give the user a lot of capabilities outside of just using the device. iEmu is meant to run on any platform and will offer open capabilities. Initially, iEmu brings freedom to the iDevice and allows you to handle the process(s) at a deeper level.
JOSH: What could iEmu be potentially used for?
CHRIS: Due to the open capabilities, iEmu will be used for a variety of things. In terms of analysis, iEmu will help in the process of discovering exploits, testing malware protection, and debugging. For those who may need to make presentations using an emulated iOS environment will be able to use iEmu as well because you can run it on virtually any platform. And of course, using iEmu for testing is another huge plus.
For those of us who are in the jailbreak community, iEmu will be a huge step towards faster and more efficient jailbreak tools and exploit discoveries. Since iEmu will give you the step-by-step process to find and debug exploits, months of tedious work could be saved.
JOSH: How will iEmu work exactly?
CHRIS: iEmu will be a simple binary download and will allow you to flash the IPSW file from iTunes to run the emulated environment. It will be able to run both custom and stock IPSW files. The App Store will be off-limits for the time being but may be added later in the future due to the legality of the matter. Components such as 3G or WiFi could be emulated as well but it won't be real. This can prove to be a huge plus for those who need that environment for testing but are not at a location to use those services.
JOSH: What progress have you made thus far in implementing iEmu?
CHRIS: So far, I have been able to boot the Apple boot loader and kernel on the iPad 2. Progress is made every day however this is something that has happened recently.
JOSH: Are you undergoing this process alone or are you collaborating with anyone else or another group of people?
CHRIS: The iDroid Project has been a huge help in this process. Whenever I'm in need of assistance, they are always so willing to give me a hand. I originally started iPhone Linux (although planetbeing took over as I got busy) so the relationships I've built through that has proved beneficial also.
The success and completion of this project is now in your hands; "the ball is in your court." Will you choose to support the iEmu project? Although money is tough these days, I strongly encourage you to consider the possibility of contributing to the project. The completion of iEmu will be a huge step towards a greater iOS experience and environment and can be obtained through simple contributions from you.
Check out the iEmu Kickstarter page to get full information on how you can donate/pledge to the project. More information about the iEmu project can also be found on the iEmu website. As the iDroid Project is a huge part and a major supporter of the iEmu project, check out iDroid Project website as well.
Follow the leader behind the iEmu project, Chris Wade (@cmwdotme), on Twitter to keep up to speed on the progress of the iEmu project.
Source(s): Chris Wade, iEmu - Kickstarter, iEmu, iDroid Project