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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 Tony Swash on 10/2/2010 2:50:44 PM , Rating: 0
So lets see how this stacks up.

People who like Apple are religious but people who hate Apple aren't. This forum is full of posts by people making absurd and juvenile hostile comments about Apple, people who clearly passionately hate Apple but they don't get voted down. That's because such views are comforting for the majority rather than confronting. Its always easier not to think new thoughts.

Apple are the kings of closed proprietary systems! Except they are not. Apple, for example, created web kit and then made it open source and then continued to support it. Web kit is used by almost all mobile browsers including Android. Apple wants an open web. All the evidence is that Apple has no interest in DRM and only uses it when content owners demand it and when they give it up (EMI) Apple drops it. Apple saved the planet from the horrors of monstrosities like Play For Sure. Apple do make connecting their various devices very easy and that's their strategy, they don't stop other people making devices that connect together. FaceTime technology that Apple has made open standard. MacOSX is built on open standards from jpeg to PDF.

Have a look at this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qss5RnD7wK8

The myth that Apple is simply just very good at marketing and that is all there is to their success is part of the fear mechanism I talked about. Its an easy and comforting myth that helps people who honestly cannot see why Apple's products are so insanely popular from having to think about their own failure of comprehension.


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
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














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