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back to article Boffins run iOS apps on Android hardware

Boffins from Columbia University have shown off a tool called “Cider” that runs iOS apps inside Android. Detailed in this paper (PDF), Cider is complex enough that your correspondent probably can't do much better than to quote the authors' explanation of how it works. So let's get into that: "Cider enhances the domestic …

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Pint

I am a cider drinker I drink it all of the day......

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Anonymous Coward

"drinks it all of the day", shurely? Arrrr.

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Silver badge

ooohhh arrrrr oooohhh arrrr aaaay - shurely?

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Anonymous Coward

</troll>

c'est cidre,

not cider,

non?

</endtroll>

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Coat

Le Malformed Troll

What do the French know about Cider (let alone XML)?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Slightly poor name choice there...

I beg to differ a very good choice of name. You might have missed the obvious pun.

Cider is to Apple what Wine is to Windows....

Now we just need Lager for Linux...... :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slightly poor name choice there...

I think he gets the pun. The point is that the name is already being used for software that lets apps made for one OS run on another OS. Meaning it will likely cause confusion if this new cider was to become popular.

But this thing is lagtastic and I doubt they'll ever fix that issue. Personally I just went out and bought a 64gb cellular ipad mini for 250 quid in the sales. Why bother with this virtualisation crap? It's better to carry more gadgets around.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slightly poor name choice there...

I think he gets the pun. The point is that it's already being used as the name of software that allows apps made for one OS to run on another. So if this new cider becomes popular, the name would likely cause confusion.

Although it won't become popular because it's lagtastic and any decent app made for iOS is also made for android and vice versa.

Personally I just went out and bought a 64 gb cellular ipad mini in the sales. Now I have android and iOS. Carrying more gadgets is better anyway.

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Devil

Re: Slightly poor name choice there...

I see you spotted your silly mention of "virtualization" and tried to remove it...

That it is somewhat laggy is clear but I'm sure this would disappear, given enough grunt from the host device.

Apple would sue over reproduction of their APIs I'm sure, but this is very cool.

I'd love to understand what they mean by "Diplomatic functions". Aren't those grand parties with Ferrero Roche?

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It's doubtful Apple will ever see things that way and, should Cider ever pour out into wide use, one imagines Cupertino would find a way to take it off the menu. ®

So fast it will will make their heads spin! Though why anyone would want to use itunes anyways...

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Well since the recent court case where API's can be copyright, surely this app must need to 'emulate' the IOS API for some of the calls.

game over……

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Bronze badge

Am I missing something?

After trying to parse all the domestic, foreign, leveraged diplomatic function guff, it sounds like all they're really doing is to recompile iOS app source code with (presumably) some sort of wrapper around Android libraries?

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Bronze badge

Re: Am I missing something?

You are missing: enabling it to run **UNMODIFIED** foreign binaries.

Take the X Code output and upload it unchanged to your device. That is truly impressive, mind you I think I will take a raincheck on using iTunes....

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Silver badge

Re: "run **UNMODIFIED** foreign binaries"

...like Intel dynamically recompiling ARM code on x86 Android?

Plenty of hard work here but the so called innovation strikes me as little more than giving new names to the old techniques of runtime recompilation and interface shims/emulation. Still, the renaming scam worked for IBM for decades, is still working for Microsoft ;)

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Silver badge

Re: "run **UNMODIFIED** foreign binaries"

like Intel dynamically recompiling ARM code on x86 Android

Not at all like that, because this isn't recompiling or translating opcodes or anything like that, it is simply a shim around syscalls - the same original instructions run, not different instructions inferred from the original instructions.

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"Android users miss out on the iTunes ecosystem"

and the drawback to that is?

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Linux

Exactly!

I bought Android so I could AVOID iTunes. Why on earth would I want to run anything iOS related?

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Anonymous Coward

"I bought Android so I could AVOID iTunes."

Communist. I bet you eat babies as well.

Sorry, my mistake, I thought we were doing "how crazy and irrational can you sound".

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Anonymous Coward

"and the drawback to that is?"

Not having your apps pre-checked to make sure they aren't sending your contact details and phone usage to scammers in russia is reason enough to want to use the Apple app store rather than the Google one.

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JDX
Gold badge

re:Why on earth would I want to run anything iOS related?

To run apps that are only released, or released first, on iOS for a start.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "and the drawback to that is?"

"Not having your apps pre-checked to make sure they aren't sending your contact details and phone usage to scammers in russia is reason enough to want to use the Apple app store rather than the Google one."

Ahh... I see

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/06/mobile_trojan_apple_app_store_shocker/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/01/boffins_say_theyve_fooled_apple_with_malware_app/

Good job Apple are perfect then.

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GBE

I bought Android so I could AVOID iTunes

Same here. I had an iPod touch for a while, and I loved the device itself, but getting music to and from it was a nightmare because it required use of the iTunes application. The iTunes app was huge, slow, buggy, crashed a lot, and was based on all sorts of insanely stupid assumptions that caused no end of grief.

With my Android phone, I just plug in the USB cable, mount the fileystem, and copy files back and forth. It's completely brilliant!

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: I bought Android so I could AVOID iTunes

I recently caved and put iTunes on my Windows7 PC because it was a pain having to turn on the Mac just to put content on my iPad. I've heard terrible things about the Windows version in particular (the Mac one seems fine) but so far so good,,, maybe it improved a lot in recent versions or I'm just lucky.

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Anonymous Coward

> Apple users miss out on the chance to access content using Adobe Flash

Oh, poor them. But didn't Adobe drop Flash from Android anyhow?

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Bronze badge

Flash still possisble after KitKat

Yes, Google disabled Flash from running with the KitKat update but it didn't take clever punters long to produce a hacked Flash.apt that allows it to run again on KitKat, in conjunction with the Dolphin browser (and possibly others, as well, just not Chrome).

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Officially yes, but you can still download the APK and install it directly. Not that I would recommend installing anything from Adobe that isn't frequently patched. I think their patches this month through windows update outnumbered the OS patches so abandonware from them is something I would recommend to avoid.

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Very clever boffins. I can't think of any iOS apps I'd want to run on my Android devices, except the Disney games which are exclusive for iOS for some reason. (My kids are into Disney, not me.)

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Devil

"My kids are into Disney..."

Good reason to buy them a nice Android phone then.

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Wow

That is a seriously impressive piece of code.

Much of the library functionality is implemented in starkly different ways between Android and iOS, so there must be some fairly deep translation going on under some of that. And it looks to be pretty complete if it's able to run those fairly diverse demos without crashing.

Kudos.

I know that there are various other multi-platform options out there, but they generally operate via source code translation and build-time shims. Given how different this is, I'm guessing that most of it was built from scratch.

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Pint

Drink up

After a couple of pints of proper cider, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Android and IOS anyway, they'd both be fumbleslabs.

Mine's a pint of Old Rosie, as that's the closest I can get in North London.

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Re: Drink up

A thumbs-up for the coinage of "fumbleslabs". I'll bet it turns up in a Reg hardware review soon.

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Stop gap

At the rate mobile processors are improving, it won't be long before virtualisation is preferable. Given the fruity firms aversion to cross compilers, I doubt this'll ever escape from academia...

The main result will be IP/copyright lawyers everywhere wondering if they can afford another beach front property...

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Silver badge

Re: Stop gap

This isn't virtualisation, it's emulation. The linked PDF does explain:

While virtual machines (VMs) are useful for desktop and

server computers to run apps intended for one platform on

a different platform [36, 44], using them for smartphones

and tablets is problematic for at least two reasons.

[…]

To address these problems, we created Cider, an OS com-

patibility architecture

This is how FreeBSD's linux emulation works, the linux binary is linked to it's linux libraries, and a special rtld that maps any linux syscall (which would be handled by the linux kernel) to an equivalent BSD syscall.

For cider they have to do a bunch more work to make API stubs for iOS user-space libraries, but the premise is identical.

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eh, whats that, fumbling around with Old Rosie? I'm in for that.

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Silver badge

"Diplomatic functions leverage per-thread personas,"

Seriously? A boffin wrote that?

The world IS going to hell.

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Silver badge

Re: "Diplomatic functions leverage per-thread personas,"

It is only going to hell if a COFFINBOFFIN utters the above statement, darkly.

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Bronze badge

But the Other Way Around

Since Android is open-source, no copyrights or patents would be violated if similar techniques were to be used to allow an iOS device to run Android apps. Why, this might become the only way to run them if it's proven that Android violates Apple patents!

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Holmes

Re: But the Other Way Around

You need to read up on how patents work.

Like proving that there is no bug in your code that will send PASSENGER PLUNGING TO THEIR DEATH, SCREAMING, there is no way to prove that no patents have been violated ("violating patents", a nice form of unspeak come to think of it...)

the only way to run them if it's proven that Android violates Apple patents!

Samsung won't care about Yankees claiming ownership of idea space.

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Gold badge

Re: But the Other Way Around

"Samsung won't care about Yankees claiming ownership of idea space."

Not least because hardware manufacturers don't need to care about software that *they* aren't selling and that customers install post-purchase.

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Bronze badge

It'd be nice

When I moved from an iPad 1 to an Android slab, I found equivalent apps for all my iTune apps with little problem. Except for one - it was (and as far as I am concerned still is) the best comic-book/manga reader around. Unfortunately, the author has no plans to rewrite it for Android. So if Cider does get released, I'll finally be able to completely ditch my ageing iPad.

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