A little over a year-and-a-half ago Rock your Phone pioneered the iDevice unofficial store scene. Of course, Cydia had already been running back then, but at the time Saurik hadn’t yet implemented a central purchasing system. As a result, developers had to rely on themselves if they wanted to charge their customers for using their products. And here’s where Rock your Phone came in, creating the first true unofficial store for iDevice applications to be sold through. Later, Saurik followed up with implementing sales support in Cydia Store and ever since there has been a sort of cold war between the two, with developers choosing one or the other to post their products. In the interim Rock your Phone released Rock - a Cydia alternative, boasting some nifty features, including superior performance and the ability to backup your installed apps.
Well, in a recent surprising announcement Cydia is acquiring Rock, making itself the single place to turn to to get your jailbroken apps.
Despite all of the efforts by Apple to put an end to jailbreaking the community lives and prospers. In fact it does so to such extent that many companies have been able to make a living exclusively of apps, sold through the unofficial equivalents of Apple’s own App Store! Here’s a quick look at some stats posted by Rock:
- Number of Developers with apps listed in the Rock Store: 124 (from 19 countries)
- Unique iOS devices that installed Rock: 4.6 million (from 220 countries/territories) – Wow that is a lot of places!
- Registered Rock Users: 2+ million
- Number of App licenses sold: 500,000
- Users who took the plunge and bought something: 280,000 (from 185 countries)
- Total Rock Your Phone Store revenue (March 12th, 2009 – September 2010): $3.3+ million
- Number of Rock Employees (we are using the word employee loosely here but, hey, it is our company): 9
Pair it up with Cydia’s own userbase and you’ve got yourself one hefty piece of cake, ripe for plucking. ModMyI’s own Kyle Matthews asked Saurik to comment on the deal:
It’s been a fun ride. We set out to change the landscape and I think we were very successful. I think we contributed to attracting more business professionals to the iPhone jailbreak community, and added some great functionality to the platform. The current transaction with Cydia is a great opportunity for us. We’re going to miss some of the excitement, but no reason for anyone to worry. I, personally, will be spending even more time in Intelliborn apps development (both existing and exciting new projects). A few months ago, Jay and I sat down together and we realized, I enjoyed making apps more (and was better at it), while Jay enjoys providing platform functionality. It was a win-win for both groups and we’re excited about the transition.
What does it mean for us, dear users? Well, a much better choice of apps and themes for our iDevices without the necessity of choosing between using Rock or Cydia for one thing. Also one of the best features of Rock – backup – is coming to Cydia as well. And while users, used to better Rock performance over Cydia, will have to contend themselves with the latter (after the 10-day migration period), they will be safe from some possible unexpected failures as well. In one of the QAs about the merger Saurik commented on such a question:
Unfortunately, Rock’s speed came from taking a few incorrect/dangerous shortcuts, which precipitated the event that really forced us to where we are now: an “essential upgrade” that was required for the Spirit jailbreak, which, when installed by Rock Your Phone, forced everyone to restore their devices and start over.
That said, we at SaurikIT are always trying to improve the speed of APT, the underlying package manager we use on the jailbroken iOS platform, and are now excited about our ability to concentrate on these platform issues full time, without interruption.
I really wish both Saurik and Rock your Phone luck in this endeavour and hope to see many new features and apps in the new and improved Cydia.