Is the popular practice of jailbreaking iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices about to go the way of the dinosaur? According to one industry watcher, that is indeed the case. As the most enthusiastic of iPhone and iPad owners will have undoubtedly noticed in the recent past, the frequency with which new iOS builds are jailbroken has slowed dramatically. Newer devices including the iPad Air and iPhone 5s and new software builds such as iOS 7 have sometimes taken several months to jailbreak, leaving users with the difficult decision of using older software builds in order to maintain a jailbreak, or ditching their jailbreak completely in order to update their devices.

The launch of iOS 7 was particularly painful, considering its bold new design that left iOS 6 looking old and stale.

As Forbes contributor Anthony Leather noted in a recent column, things are about to get worse. Apple is on the verge of releasing iOS 7.1 to the public and following extensive analysis of the various iOS 7.1 betas that have been released, jailbreakers may be in for a very long wait.

“Apple is set to release IOS 7.1 any day now and as many jailbreakers now know thanks to access to the IOS 7.1 beta, this new IOS update will include patches that break the evasi0n jailbreak tool for good,” Leather wrote. “This means that we’re likely to see a lengthy period, maybe even as long as a year, before another jailbreak is released.”

With iOS 7.1 set to offer major improvements to Apple’s mobile platform, and with iOS 8 expected to be unveiled this summer ahead of what will likely be a fall release alongside the iPhone 6 launch, will enthusiasts be willing to keep waiting longer and longer for jailbreaks?

Many iPhone owners love the dramatically expanded functionality that jailbreaking affords, but the cost may soon be too great if people are stuck using old software for up to a year in order to maintain a jailbreak.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.