A startup is pursuing the idea of taking the open source QEMU emulator and turning it into a platform-independent iOS emulator.
A while back an item on I Programmer mentioned the idea that HP could get WebOS applications onto the Windows desktop simply by making its emulator easier to use. Essentially all that had to be done was to hide any parts of the emulator which weren't relevant and attempt to make the application running in the emulator look native. This is such an obvious idea that you might ask why the same approach isn't used every where. Of course there are big questions of efficiency but with multi-cores sitting idle doing nothing for most of the time there should be some way of getting emulated apps to run at speeds similar to native apps.
Now we have news of an audacious startup, iEmu created by a well known iPhone developer Chris Wade. The idea is to take the open source QEMU emulator which is already used in virtualization solutions such as VirtualBox and Xen, and turn it into a platform independent iOS emulator. The task involves reverse engineering the A4 chipset used in the iPhone and iPad and there is no documentation to help. Notice that Apple' s own iOS emulator only runs on Mac OS and it's a simulator which isn't as accurate as an emulator.
Ok at the end of the day you might end up with an emulator that behaves like the iOS device hardware but you still need to run the operating system to run any apps and Apple might have something to say about this idea. So it is not really a legal way of breaking out of Apple's walled iOS garden.
The project plans to release the emulator as open source.
If you want to support this project then you can pledge some money at: iEmu kickstart.
The main site is at: iEmu.
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