iOS is a closed source operating system that cannot be installed on devices by manufacturers other than Apple. The company just like its OS X software does not licenses iOS and most probably it never will. But a group of developers had been working on an open source project to port iOS to non-Apple hardware. Now it seems like they have been able to achieve a breakthrough.
iOS Hacker and software developer Winocm who was also a part of this open source project has been able to port the core elements of iOS to non-Apple hardware. What he has been able to achieve is that he has ported the ‘XNU Kernel’ to a Nokia N900 device as seen in the image above. The XNU Kernel has been around for over a decade now and is the foundation of both OS X and iOS softwares. According to a blogpost on his blog he used iPhone OS 4.3.5 for this task and it is currently limited to ARM boards only.
While it is a significant achievement this progress does not mean you will be able to install iOS on a non-Apple device anytime soon. This port only features the core elements of iOS however the user-interface elements cannot run on the alien hardware as of right now.
Along with from Nokia N900 smartphone Winocm has also shared that this port is working on following hardware.
- 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)
With this port the dream of running iOS on devices designed by companies other than Apple has come closer to reality but there is still a long way to go. Now next step for the participants of this open source project would be to add the user-interface of iOS so a fully usable port could be achieved.
Interested in taking a look at the work behind this port? Check it out at Github here.