iEmu is a Kickstarter project from Chris Wade — one of the guy’s behind the first iPhone jailbreak — and his team, which is aiming to emulate iOS applications on Android, Mac and Windows devices. But is it really possible?
The project is being built on top of the open-source QEMU emulator, but according to TechCrunch, it’s not going to be an easy one. In addition to finding a way of emulating the Apple A4 chip built into the current iPhone 4 — which the team claims to have done — they’ve also got the emulate a number of other iPhone components, including the GPU, USB controller, multitouch controller, the memory, the audio system, and all of the secondary components like Bluetooth and GPS.
So it’s by no means going to be easy, which is why Chris is hoping to raise $20,000 to support the project. That money will go towards living expenses for 3+ months, as well as costs incurred from hosting and the production and shipping of Kickstarter rewards.
Of course, Apple already makes an iOS emulator of its own, but unfortunately it only works on a Mac… and there’s another issue, noted by TechCrunch:
Apple’s iOS testing system is a simulation, not an emulation. While it looks like iOS and acts like iOS, Apple’s simulator isn’t actually running a virtualized version of iOS. It’s a trivial difference for 99.9% of the world (and even the very vast majority of iOS developers) — but for a tiny chunk of people (security engineers digging for system flaws, for example), the difference is massive.
Once Chris and his team raise that $20,000, and then work out how to emulate all those components, the battle to bring iOS apps to other platforms is going to remain a tough one — especially if Apple’s legal department catch wind of this. But the idea certainly gets us excited.