A developer posting as ‘businesscat2000' in the CrackBerry Forums has craftily come up with a hack, allowing him to run iOS apps on his PlayBook.
He explained his method as follows:
Doubting the validity of the project, CrackBerry sent ‘businesscat2000' a couple of tests which the developer successfully executed, confirming that the feat was legitimate and not simply an illusion.
There is admittedly more work to be done in improving the implementation; for instance, the hack supports APIs under v4 and builds for universal binary or ARMv6, but not programs requiring UIWebView and CoreData. In other words, few non-gaming iOS apps can successfully run on the PlayBook so far.
Though it's still early on, the implications of this project are potentially enormous. If the BlackBerry 10 platform - the forthcoming version of RIM's mobile operating system, based on QNX - includes supports for iOS apps, it could prove to be a game-changer for the floundering company.
RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is performing so abysmally that the company recently announced it would be phasing out the 16GB version of the tablet. Among other drawbacks, RIM's disappointing app market AppWorld was criticised as being one of the reasons to stay away from the device.
Even the PlayBook's ability to run Android apps didn't make things much better - Android has only a fraction of the apps iOS does and, moreover, the fact that they don't run natively signalled performance issues.
After announcing its plans to discontinue the 16GB PlayBook, RIM said it "remain[s] committed to the tablet space."