For as long as jailbreaking has been around, users have always been one step ahead of Apple in implementing key features into the OS. Multitasking, copy-paste, and even the App Store itself were created by enterprising hackers long before Apple even attempted to bring them to its mobile operating system.
So what was missing on the iPhone 2G 1.x firmware? The App Store of course. Apple didn’t introduce that until 2008, when they announced iPhone OS 2.0. However, where exactly did Apple get the idea to create the App Store that would allow users to instantly download and install user created content, apps and games directly onto your phone? The jailbreak community.
So how exactly is Apple using the jailbreak community for innovation? Well, Apple has taken ideas from the jailbreaking community for years now; the most recent example would be the customizable backgrounds for the home screen and lock screen. WinterBoard allowed support to change the background for either just the home screen, lock screen or both.
Of course, Apple probably would have implemented many, if not all, of these features even without the push from jailbreaking developers. But – it may have taken them much longer to ‘catch on’ to what users want in a mobile OS. The jailbreaking community has acted as a catalyst, forcing Apple to act sooner, rather than later, advancing iOS faster than Apple would have on its own.
Check out the source for a brief history on the good that the jailbreaking community has done for iOS, and be grateful for the awesome minds on the Dev-Team, and any of the other visionary iPhone developers.