iOS Core has been ported to the Nokia N900, opening up the possibility for iOS running on non-apple hardware.
There seems to be some stipulation out there that only Apple software runs on Apple hardware and that just isn’t the case. Now, Apple may not want people to believe that their operating systems can be installed on non-apple hardware, but the truth is that hardware is hardware. I’m sorry to dissapoint any Apple users out there that had this line of thinking, but a chipset is a chipset and a CPU is a CPU, there isn’t any special “Apple Only” hardware out there. Now, people have installed Mac OS X on a non-Apple desktops or laptops before, even dual boot Windows and OS X on the same hard drive, but no one has ever publicly been able to install iOS on non-Apple mobile hardware. Until now that is.
A developer that goes by the name Winocm has been very busy on a special project of his, and he recently announced that he had achieved one of the core milestones in his mission to port iOS to a Nokia N900, among other devices, and he has images to prove it. It may not look like much, but looks can be deceiving, Winocm has successfully installed the iOS kernel on non-Apple mobile hardware.
The real challenge in installing an Apple operating system on non-Apple hardware, is due to the system kernel, you can think of the kernel as the core root of software on your device. Once you have the iOS kernel installed on a device, you’re able to lay on that special Apple code. The kernel Winocm used is called Darwin, and Darwin is the core operating system that lies under both Mac OS X and iOS.
Winocm hasn’t announced yet what further plans he has with this project, but I would be willing to bet he has a few more surprises up his sleeve. Although he has not shown any interest in porting over the user interface, UI for short, that’s really not a huge issue. There are plenty of developers and hackers who could easily add a UI to the core iOS platform, as I said before, the real trick is to get the Darwin kernel running on other hardware, as shown in the images here.
Currently the rooted file system is based on the iPhone OS 4.3.5 and is said to run flawlessly, outside of some kernel bugs. The Nokia N900 isn’t the only piece of hardware that Winocm has successfully ported to either, these devices have also all been tested with the Darwin kernel as well.
- ARM RealView Emulation Baseboard (ARMPBA8_ALT)
- ARM RealView Platform Baseboard for Cortex-A8 (ARMPBA8)
- Texas Instruments OMAP3530 (BeagleBoard/BeagleBoard xM) (OMAP3530)
- Texas Instruments OMAP3430 (Nokia N900) (OMAP3430_RX51)
- Texas Instruments AM335x (BeagleBone/BeagleBone Black) (OMAP335X)
If you have one of these devices or are just interested in checking the source out, it’s available for free at GitHub.
It will be interesting to see how fast developers jump at the opportunity, to be the first to create a fully working iOS system with UI. Even getting just the core kernel to work on more devices would be great. I wouldn’t mind putting iOS on my old Google G1, even if it didn’t have the UI yet.
What do you think about porting iOS over to non-Apple hardware? Would you be willing to commit to such blasphemy, as to put iOS on say – a Samsung Galaxy S4? I can’t lie, even though I like Android 4.3 on my S4, I wouldn’t be opposed to putting iOS on there just because I could. Be sure to leave your comments and questions below and make sure to check back on PocketMeta for more mobile news, guides, and reviews.