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Jailbreak Your iPad and Boost Productivity

That's right, you read it here first. You can actually justify jailbreaking your new iPad on the grounds that it'll help you do more work. Don't believe me? In just one week since the hack has been out, I've done a few things on my iPad you wouldn't normally be able to do without a little non-Apple sanctioned software.

Dave Courbanou

May 10, 2010

That’s right, you read it here first. You can actually justify jailbreaking your new iPad on the grounds that it’ll help you do more work. Don’t believe me? In just one week since the hack has been out, I’ve done a few things on my iPad you wouldn’t normally be able to do without a little non-Apple sanctioned software. Here’s a why work-savvy iPad owners want to care..

I’m not going to explain to you how to jailbreak your iPad, you have Google for that, but once you’ve got it up and running with the very-non-Apple sanctioned app store “Cydia” (pictured), head on over and download ‘Backgrounder’ first.

I know that multitasking is coming to the iPhone this summer, but us iPad owners have been given a very broad time-frame for iPhone OS 4 — Fall 2010. So instead of waiting for Apple to get their multitasking in gear, someone has been doing it for them for a while now.

Backgrounder is actually an iPhone app, but runs just fine in the iPad. It’s really as simple as loading up the application, and then assigning the system-specific gesture to enable that program to run in the background. I’ve set mine up to be a double-tap on the top-bar that displays the date and time. What’s great about this app is that once enabled, you can have that Skype call while taking notes in Pages or going through your e-mail. You can browse the web while listening to Pandora. The combinations are endless, run as many apps as you’d like.

Now  here’s the cool part — you might be wondering if this App would lose its purpose in the jailbreaking community after iPhone OS 4 coming out. That’s a good question. As of now, we don’t know if the iPhone multitasking is actually true multitasking (the whole app 100% running unseen) or rather Apple-specialized multitasking (only special bits of it), but you can be guaranteed that Backgrounder will run the application, in its entirety, in the background. So it may be useful for apps that don’t plug into the Apple multitasking API.

Secondly, there’s the specialized Bluetooth stack. I won’t get too geeky with it here, but put simply, Apple’s Bluetooth on the iPad is limited to certain devices. One would imagine that a mouse is most certainly not allowed. That was…until now…

Redmondpie.com‘s video, we can see the special Bluetooth stack in action. The mouse acts very much like a ‘finger’ with a ‘click’ being a tap, and a ‘click, hold, and drag’ being a finger scrolling across the screen. It makes it a lot easier to get tiny links, and if you watch enough of the video — a very familiar scene doing some word-processing. Now, I’m not saying this is for everyone, but for someone who’s on the road, who’s feeling like they just need a little bit more of that old-school laptop feeling — this is for you. It’ll also help you sit back and work, instead of tapping at that screen (which does get a little tiresome during long bouts of writing with the keyboard.)

Here’s another part of jailbreaking that may make it worth it for some more techy people: your iPad is now open to access via SSH. In short, you can now copy files to your iPad without needing special applications, or needing iTunes as a conduit. Currently, I find this feature very useful. While I highly recommend Downloader or GoodReader for the iPad to do these things on non-Jailbroken iPads (review coming soon), SSHing into your iPad gives you a whole new world of tweaks, and the ability to essentially use your iPad as a file server without paying for any apps.

That’s about the whole thing in a nutshell. Mouse and multitasking get you ever-closer to a ‘netbook’ feeling without ever being tied down to the mouse and keyboard when you don’t want to! Questions on functionality, deeper issues on the moral implications of jailbreaking, or do you want me to get a little more geeky for you? Go ahead and feel free to ask questions in the comments.

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