Apple TV jailbreak: Imagine the possibilities

The best is ahead, as as hackers and developers explore Apple's liberated set-top box.

The jailbreaking of Apple TV, days after shipping, is no surprise. The real delight will come in the weeks and months ahead, as hackers and developers start figuring out what to do with Apple's liberated set-top box.

Understanding the Jailbreak

Apple didn't design a new operating system for Apple TV. Instead, the device runs iOS 4.1, using an app known as Lowtide to provide the interface. I'm no hacker, but this would suggest that jailbroken Apple TV apps will run independently of the main interface, unlike the iPhone, in which jailbroken apps appear alongside legitimate ones.

The iPhone Dev-Team, which claimed the Apple TV hack, seems to confirm this reasoning: "Literally the only UI application on the ATV is Lowtide.app, but now the window is open for jailbroken apps of all varieties," says the Dev-Team's blog.

The bottom line: Jailbroken Apple TVs may need an additional interface to access unauthorized content.

iOS Apps are Iffy

A recent Apple TV teardown showed potential for apps, with 256 MB of system memory and 8 GB of flash storage, but the prospect of porting iOS apps to Apple TV seems shaky.

Smartphone apps would look awful in TV dimensions, and more importantly, there's no input method. Some people have suggested that an iPhone or iPad could be used to control these apps, but then, what's the point?

New Apps are Likely

As in the iPhone's early days, expect to see apps designed specifically for jailbroken Apple TVs. I'm imagining a Web browser, PlayOn, video portals like Justin.tv, and streaming music apps like Pandora and MOG.

Widgets for weather and stocks, like those used on the lock screen in jailbroken iPhones, would also be a nice touch.

Gaming Potential

Over at Cult of Mac, John Brownlee has floated a few possibilities for jailbroken Apple TV apps, including the idea of classic video game emulators. It's an intriguing concept -- emulators are a mainstay of every hacked video game console -- but it presents a snag: How would you control them?

One possibility is Nintendo's Wii Remote, which has been supported in emulators for jailbroken iPhones. Bluetooth is apparently included in Apple TV's firmware, so hackers may be able to Bluetooth controllers for serious gaming.

Keep in mind that the Apple TV jailbreak is not yet public, so stay clear of any websites claiming to offer the jailbreak for download.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronicsApple TV

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?