Apple iBooks update thwarts jailbreakers

Undeterred by a recent US court ruling which said that jailbreaking its devices is perfectly legal, Apple has apparently decided to put new barriers in the way of those who choose not to live within the confines of the iOS 'walled garden'.

The latest roadblock comes in the form of an update to iBooks which, according to a report on Social Apples, prevents iDevices jailbroken with the latest Greenp0ison for iOS 4.2.1 from opening some books that have been legitimately purchased.

"Since using the greenpois0n jailbreak, I have been unable to open some of my iBooks that I rightfully purchased from the iBook Store," writes jailbreaker Josh. "I thought it was a problem with the downloaded books, so I re-downloaded them. That didn’t work so I removed the iBooks from my iPhone and re-sync’d them from my computer… still no luck."

Digging a bit deeper, Josh came across a Tweet from iPhone Dev Team stalwart Comex who wrote, "It seems that before opening a DRMed book, iBooks drops an improperly signed binary, tries to execute it, and if it works concludes that the device is jailbroken and refuses to open the book."

What is does is produce a pop-up saying "There is a problem with the configuration of your iPhone. Please restore with iTunes and reinstall iBooks."

Josh confirmed that the jailbreak was the culprit by opening the same titles on an an un-jailbroken iPad without a problem.

As it turns out, the jailbreak checks have been in place since iOS 4.0 but the best currently available jailbreak seems to have missed them.

We're pretty sure that the next update will address the issue in the game of cat and mouse between Apple and the hackers, but that's cold comfort for users who can't get at books they have paid good money for on a device which has been legally modified.

Don't forget, it's only DRM-protected books legitimately purchased from the Apple iBooks store which are affected. Titles which have had their copy protection stripped seem to open without complaint.

The big question is, has Apple opened itself up for another round of class action suits from disgruntled users? Josh seems to think so:

Apple has locked me out of the iBooks that I legitimately paid for. What if the iPhone was my only device?" he asks. "The Library of Congress declared that it is completely legal to jailbreak your devices. It appears that Apple is throwing caution to the wind and opening themselves up for a slew of lawsuits over… iBooks.

"Even if a corporation doesn’t like us messing with their perfect OS, they can’t stop us from doing what’s legal. By crippling our access to paid material, they’re writing, 'Please. Sue us' on every jailbreakers forehead."