No one can deny that some really great apps are released on the iOS platform. Even us Android guys would sure like a crack at a few of the iOS exclusive games. A new project looking for funding on Kickstarter may allow us to do just that. iEmu is a little project started by Chris Wade, an iOS and PSP developer. Chris also contributed to some of the early iPhone jailbreaks. He’s looking to use the open source QEMU emulator to emulate the A4 chip in Apple’s current iPhones. We’ll let him explain the goal himself:
iEmu is an emulator based on the popular open-source emulator QEMU. The project’s primary goal is to implement support for the S5L8930 chipset, which is used in the iPhone 4 and the first-generation iPad. Since the specifications for this chipset and other supporting hardware used by Apple’s devices aren’t public, supporting these devices takes some heavy reverse engineering. This takes time and dedication, which is why progress so far has been slow. My new approach is to dedicate myself completely to this project and show the world the full potential of iEmu.
According to Wade they’ve already managed to emulate the CPU, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done. The major obstacles come with emulating the GPU, USB controller, Multitouch controller, the memory, the audio system, and all of things that connect your device to world like the Bluetooth chip, GPS, compass, etc. To say it’s a daunting task is an understatement.
The project is about more than just getting some cool games to run on other platforms, though. Should they succeed, the ramifications for security engineers are major. In an emulator environment security people will be able to create a sandbox environment in which to test against iOS malware without harm to actual iOS devices. The current iOS simulation that developers use is really not suited to this task.
Wade’s project is seeking $20,000 in initial funding, and at the time of this writing has already seen over $6,000 pledged. If you’d like to take a look at the project for yourself, or are interested in donating, head over to the Kickstarter link.