This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins

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Aug
9

Back in 2007, however, the walled garden of Apple’s ecosystem was firmly in place; there wasn’t even an App Store to go find third-party apps in. On July 19, 2007 — just a few weeks after the iPhone launch — a hacker called “Nightwatch” compiled and launched the iPhone’s first third-party app, a “Hello World” program. A typical first program on any computing platform, the app didn’t do much but display those words. It did, however, usher in a whole new era of “jailbreaking” iPhones, along with app repositories like Cydia and the like.

So, whenever you bemoan Apple’s fierce gatekeeping around the apps it allows on the iOS App Store, remember it wasn’t that long ago when there weren’t any at all. And pour one out for Nightwatch, the one who started it all.

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