Print 36 comment(s) - last by macthemechanic.. on Oct 8 at 11:09 PM

Apple TV has been freed of Apple's restrictions, thanks to the hard work of the jailbreaking community.  (Source: pod2g)
The new set-top box can now support apps

Much to Apple's chagrin, the Library of Congress recently legalized jailbreaking of electronic devices in a clarification to 1998's Digital Millenium Copyright Act.  The move puts Apple in an unpleasant spot as the company has long reveled in locking its consumers out of its devices' built in functionality, and yet has proven utterly inept at developing sufficient protections to prevent firmware savvy software enthusiasts from breaking these locks. 

Apple has perpetually expressed its dismay at this state of affairs, saying that jailbreaking destroys the "magical" experience of its devices.  Apple also claims jailbreaking supports a sickening slew of crime, including terrorism, drug-dealing, and organized crime.

It didn't take long for the new Apple TV set-top box to be jailbroken.  Why the need for the jailbreak? The new, much smaller box -- which lacks a hard drive -- runs a full version of iOS (versus the modified version of OS X 10.4 or OS X 10.5 that Apple's first generation models ran).  Yet Apple has locked users out of using apps on the device.

The jailbreak uses SHAtter jailbreaking tool, developed by @pod2g.  SHAtter is a jailbreak for iOS that Apple is literally powerless to fix, as it exploits the boot ROM.  The tool can be used to trick Apple TV into removing the current iOS firmware image and installing a jailbroken image created by the Apple Dev Team's Pwnage tool.

Like the recent iPhone iOS 4.1 jailbreak, the new jailbreak is extremely impressive, given how quick its turnaround was.  The new second gen Apple TV hasn't even widely shipped yet.  Apple has been quiet about when exactly it will ship.  Initially it indicated that it would ship in September, but customers are now reporting that the ship date may have been bumped as late as October 18.  Apple may be having some supply issues, given the long shipping delay.  Apple TVs are currently available at some Apple stores, though.

Despite the promise of the jailbreak, there are some definite limitations.  While the Apple TV's Apple A4 ARM processor and 256 MB should be beefy enough for most apps, the 8 GB of flash memory doesn't leave much room for such apps.  Further, than memory is used for cache, so there's no telling how installing third party apps might muck with performance. 

The jailbreak is not widely available yet in easy to digest form, but then again neither is the Apple TV.  Video of it in action can be found here.

Despite exposing vehemence towards the jailbreaking community, Apple has begrudgingly accepted some measures pushed by jailbreakers -- such as apps on the original iPhone.  Likewise some believe that jailbreakers may force Apple to release an official App Store for the Apple TV.  In this way the jailbreak may not only benefit those who use it, but may benefit Apple TV owners in general.

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RE: Ordered
By MDGeek on 10/1/2010 4:44:35 PM , Rating: -1
Why voting this comment down?
The commenter simply shared his/her excitement for his/her new purchase (Apple-TV).
Is this forum so opinionated/anti-Apple that they have no room for reasoning?

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By acer905 on 10/2/2010 11:58:01 AM , Rating: 2
You get voted down simply for posting, regardless of what you say, which is mostly because of your religious views towards a corporation. I understand usability, and experience. I have tried iPods throughout the ages, and found the interface to be awkward. That is why i got a Sansa instead, it had a better interface (not to mention i despise the touch wheel on the iPod line, it's nice in theory but i like wearing gloves in the winter, which capacitive touch technology does not approve of)

I am not afraid of Apple, i just hate their business practices the same way i hate Sony. Overuse of proprietary formats/technology linked to other products made exclusively by themselves. I like choice, options, and most important to me, cost to benefits. I am the type who looks at the cost/GB ratio on a HDD and will not get one if it is too high. I understand that i am by far not one of the masses, and i enjoy that. I like tinkering with things, customizing the experience to exactly how i want it, and I cannot do that using Apple products.

There are many people i know with iPods or iPhones who have them simply because they did not know there were any alternatives. To me, that is Apple's biggest asset, their ability to market products. However, with many of them I simply showed them competing products, like my Sansa, and they liked them. Not being locked to iTunes was a big seller to them. The experience was better not using the iPod.

What's truely sad is when Apple fanatics, not simply users but the ones who preach the glory of Apple, feel that they have a higher understanding of the world than everyone else. They go around with their mantra that Apple has "the experience," never stopping to think that maybe, just maybe there is an experience other than Apple out there. People cling to what they know, it's simply a fact of life. People also resist doing difficult things. For many this means that in the early part of the past decade, they got an iPod, because it was the only digital music player they knew of (much like how in the 80's everyone got a Walkman, nobody had ever heard of anything else). They purchased all their music in Apple's proprietary M4a format. Then, when Apple releases new solidly integrated products (the iPhone) they get it, and can use all the music they already have. And the kicker, if they wanted to switch, they would have to ask a techie how they can keep all their music.

This to me is why i don't like Apple. And by the way, the Galaxy Tab is not marketed toward actual techies. We couldn't care less about such a limited tablet. I've used tablet PC's since 2004, and i am looking forward to the day when we have a tablet form factor device running a full OS, with bluetooth integration for mouse & keyboard. That would be a useful thing, not a toy.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 7:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, being tied to iTunes is so very open. Apple might be great if you're already tied into their own ecosystem, but if you're not then there isn't much reason to get into it. Just because you get locked into their devices in other ways doesn't mean that you aren't. Most people get locked into certain devices anyway. Buy apps for Android and you're less likely to switch, same for iOS, MacOS, DS, Wii, and pretty much every other device. Running multiple devices is always an option, but full out replacement gets harder and harder and less and less compelling.

Lol at you saying Apple saved the planet. That's a good laugh.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/3/2010 2:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
Lol at you saying Apple saved the planet. That's a good laugh

Living on planet Microsoft with your media controlled by Play for Sure would have been a real Laugh.

RE: Ordered
By acer905 on 10/3/2010 4:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Controlled by a certification which ensured that hardware from multiple vendors would all work seamlessly with software from multiple different companies? Really? Now you're just stretching.

RE: Ordered
By Alexstarfire on 10/3/2010 5:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
IDK about Play for Sure, but if you have an evil you don't trade it for another evil. You don't replace Hilter with Ho Chi Minh just because you hate Hilter. I'm not saying Apple is evil but hopefully you get the analogy.

RE: Ordered
By drumhellar on 10/3/2010 5:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
Apple, for example, created web kit and then made it open source and then continued to support it.

Apple didn't create WebKit and opensource it.

They forked KHTML (from the KDE project), which is GPL licensed. Apple would have been violating the terms of the GPL by not open sourcing WebKit.

RE: Ordered
By drumhellar on 10/3/2010 5:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oops. KHTML/WebKit are LGPL, not GPL.

RE: Ordered
By Tony Swash on 10/4/2010 4:36:07 AM , Rating: 1
Apple didn't create WebKit and opensource it.

They forked KHTML (from the KDE project), which is GPL licensed. Apple would have been violating the terms of the GPL by not open sourcing WebKit.

Apple chose KHTML even though it was GPL licensed, they didn't have to, they chose to. Apple is big enough and technically proficient enough to come up with a purely proprietary rendering system for their browser and keep the whole thing closed. They chose not to.

Webkit is an Apple creation. Saying web kit is just a forked KHTML is technically true but so is saying that Android is just a fork of Linux and therefore Google didn't create Android. Get real. Criticise Apple for stuff they really do (or really don't) but don't peddle distortions - it undermines your arguments.

RE: Ordered
By Ammohunt on 10/4/2010 2:56:17 PM , Rating: 3
I was wondering the same thing! My Apple fainboiness consists of iTunes use and old g4 Titatnium laptop gathering dust and now an Apple TV(the only hardware product i have ever purchased from Apple in my lifetime) For someone like me that needs to primarily stream my iTunes library from my main Windows 7 machines and netflix to my HDTV $99 is hard to beat.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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