Torrentially Popular iPhone Set for Another Kind of Torrent Altogether



Apparently they (whoever “they” are) are calling 2008 “The Year of the Mobile Torrent”, and if that’s the case then odds are Apple will soon be driving that bandwagon (or ambushing it). A “torrent”, as it’s used here, refers to a communications protocol that allows computer users to share files. Or, put more familiarly, a torrent is a program that allows people to “do” P2P file-sharing.

That said, not only does it appear a P2P file-sharing client for the iPhone may be fast on the way, but in fact it’s already here, though currently in a format considerably inaccessible to most users – but no doubt not for long.

No, not all file-sharing is illegal. In fact, the only file-sharing that is against the law is the sharing of copyrighted files (like RIAA’s music and 1337x – but that’s why we have iTunes, right?). For the sharing of all other types of files – personal memoirs, diary entries, and travelogues, recipes, photos, YouTube videos, etcetera, etcetera – P2P file-sharing is perfectly legal, and once you realize that, you can only expect that such facility for the iPhone is no less than imminent.

Gizmodo was the first to report on the innovation, declaring that a hacker who goes by the name of Core has just created the first native P2P client for the iPhone. Though the program – based on the popular Mac P2P client – Transmission – is still in the command-line stages (in other words: lacking in a simple user interface that the average techno-unsavvy consumer can operate), it is nonetheless a groundbreaking step on the path to peer-to-peer file-sharing between iPhones.

The amount of content worth sharing from iPhone to iPhone will also be stymied until a user-friendly GUI (graphical user interface) is incorporated into the design. Also a buggy hurdle for would-be users to be aware of is the incompatibility between P2P file-sharing in general and EDGE networks – currently the iPhone’s wireless connection of choice. So in order to use this or any torrent on the iPhone, you’ll have to use Wi-Fi.

Torrenting – as it’s sometimes called – is also a heavy burden on the iPhone’s battery and so will require the device be plugged in to ensure that files download completely.

A web search for more information on this subject revealed that several mobile torrents already exist – such as SymTorrent and Wizbit for Symbian smartphones and WinMobile Torrent for Windows Mobile Devices – though none (until now) for the iPhone.

Now, there is a µTorrent MUI for the iPhone (called µPhone) but it doesn’t actually allow you to share files (“yet”, they say); rather it lets iPhone users view the status of active torrents, pause and resume torrents, and enter in new URLs to torrent all through a PC. In other words, the µPhone torrent MUI acts as a sort of remote control for using µTorrent to share files over a PC.

To perform that actual file-sharing itself on your iPhone, however, you have a little longer to wait. But not much longer. No, not much at all.


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