This doesn't mean developers are completely helpless; indeed, as the comments pointed out, there is stuff that can be done to thwart IPA cracking and even the use of Crackulous itself. But what if you are just struggling to find time to code your current iPhone projects and don't have the time or necessary skill-level to address iPhone piracy?
Enter Ripdev's new Kali Anti-Piracy service. I talked to Slava from Ripdev last week, and they really seem to be onto something. Essentially, Ripdev has figured out how to put an extra wrapper around iPhone apps, which not only prevents the app from launching or functioning properly if it has been cracked, but also prevents the current cracking tools from working on the app at all. Even better, this process only uses documented and allowed calls, making it SDK compliant. Oh -- and if the app is legitimately purchased, it can run on a jailbroken iPhone without a problem.
Slava showed me some screenshots of users in the cracking forums, complaining bitterly about the inability to crack Ripdev apps using the current tools.
Kali Anti-Piracy subscribers will have access to a developer login and an SDK. You submit your app to Ripdev's encryption server, which processes the app and spits back the protected file back to you, ready for submission to the App Store.
Kali Anti-Piracy is a service, and is available for a quarterly fee (which represents a percentage of the 70% cut developers get from the App Store, variable by units sold that quarter) and an initial set-up fee. For apps that are priced under $9.99, the set-up fee is $100. The set-up fee for apps over $9.99 is $300. You can get full pricing details here (PDF).
While I can imagine that some iPhone developers won't be interested in a service that has an upfront cost and a quarterly fee, the service will certainly be of value to lots and lots of developers.
To be clear: no solution, Kali Anti-Piracy or otherwise will ever completely combat piracy. What this does do is make the barrier to entry that much higher. Ripdev is also committed to keeping atop "the underground" as they put it, and will continue to beef up and augment their technique as necessary.
Kali Anti-Piracy is accepting sign-ups now.