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Hardware Hacking Television Apple Build

AppleTV Runs iOS, Already Jailbroken 299

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the pick-the-locks dept.
Wired has noted that "Soon, thanks to the tireless efforts of the iPhone Dev Team, you will be able to install apps on your AppleTV. An upcoming Jailbreak tool, called SHAtter, has already been used to unlock the new Apple TV's firmware." The units are supposedly now shipping. I have a lot of questions about the device (like how will it handle the photo screen saver if your local machines are offline) but hacking it might make the thing more usable (divx please, and how about letting my screen share my desktop to my TV?).
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AppleTV Runs iOS, Already Jailbroken

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  • Gluttons for abuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:16PM (#33723688)

    hacking it might make the thing more usable

    Tragic, of course, that people would buy something so crippled and locked down they must "jailbreak" it to make it more useful.

    Certainly this is effort better spent improving solutions that are more open from the get-go?

  • Re:Honest question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mini me (132455) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:30PM (#33723936)

    Apache is popular, but IIS gets hacked earlier.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:34PM (#33724000)
    One thing I actually don't understand is how geeks keep rewarding Apple for their efforts of keeping their platforms locked. Just for the fun of "jailbreaking" them.
  • Re:Honest question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:40PM (#33724092)

    Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

    Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

    Frankly, the "security" standpoint is the only one that bothers me.

    I suppose jailbreakers who buy Apple stuff fall into three categories

    1. People who think that the jailbroken device meets their needs better than alternatives, even though those don't require jailbreaking
    2. People who jailbreak because they enjoy a challenge, want to "stick it to the Man", or are just curious
    3. People who didn't do their research, bought the product, and only afterward realized that the product didn't meet their needs without jailbreaking

    On Slashdot, posters generally assume that everyone falls into category 3. I suspect that are a fairly small populations in reality.

    I suspect a larger population feels that the product as delivered meets their needs just fine, and an even larger population just doesn't buy the product in the first place.

  • Re:Honest question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StuartHankins (1020819) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:47PM (#33724206)
    Sort of like installing Tomato on Linksys routers? Oh, wait, we like that.
  • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#33724214)

    Does it bother anyone else that Apple products are so quickly hacked? I don't mean from a security standpoint, I mean because people feel the need to hack them so they can do what they want.

    Doesn't that mean they should just buy something that isn't so limited in the first place? Or is this one of those "we buy a locked device because we want to hack it" sort of things...

    The AppleTV isn't "limited" to most people out there, only to geeks who poo-poo any devices that do anything less than their custom Linux HTPC. I've said this before: Apple doesn't implement features unless it can make them easy to use and understand and nicely designed. They don't start with a feature list and then make crappy implementations of them so they can add a bullet point to the list. They also look forward not backward and simplify where possible (eg. mandating use of h.264 instead of divx and hundreds of other formats.) If you find this approach philosophically abhorrent then use something else please and accept there are those of us that like it that way.

    I don't think that's the reason people hack them anyway, they hack them because they can and for bragging rights.

  • by tzhuge (1031302) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#33724224)

    That's a straw-man.

    'People' do not buy something 'they must jailbreak'. The vast majority buy a product that they want because it does enough of what they want for it to be worth the price. The jailbreakers do what they do because they find some enjoyment in doing it. The people who use the product jailbroken are often just messing around. They use jailbreak because the can. Those that buy a product that does not meet their need, then use jailbreak to make the product meet their need are mythical, except perhaps when there are in fact no alternatives at all.

    Frankly what's really tragic is that so many people insist on whining about products they clearly don't want instead of just buying and enjoying what they do want. It's also tragic that so many keep rationalizing their 'superior' choice by denigrating others.

  • Apple "security" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:49PM (#33724244)

    The whole reason Apple locks down their products is because they are security doofuses that know they are incapable of protecting their delicate OS in an open environment. The fact that they are so quickly and easily jail-broken is proof of their incompetence at security. Just look at the results of every Pwn2Own contest...Apple products are always the first to fall.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:50PM (#33724262)

    what's really tragic is that so many people insist on whining about products they clearly don't want

    I'm more concerned about people encouraging and supporting Apple's attitude of lock down and customer control.

  • Re:Honest question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:51PM (#33724278)

    Hackers target the audience, and that means whatever is popular. Apple is popular so it gets hacked earlier. Bragging rights etc

    This logic falls down when you consider the PS3 is/was fairly popular and yet took 4 years to hack.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:52PM (#33724306)

    almost anything we buy can be modified to make it more useful.
    doesn't mean that its not useful, or a good value to begin with.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:53PM (#33724314)

    or a cell phone

    N900. Not locked down from the start.

    or a PMP

    Lockdown on the iPods was added eventually, but the first one I bought I loaded iPodLinux on. No battle for control against Apple.

    or a PDA

    iPaq. Again, no lockdown. No battle against the vendor for control.

    Seriously, how did everyone become convinced that lock down was the default state for all things? Surely we have not been fooled so badly?

  • Re:Honest question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kuzb (724081) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @12:55PM (#33724372)

    Actually, it bothers me from both standpoints.

    It bothers me that the device has to be hacked to do what people want, and it bothers me that they're insecure enough that they can be jailbroken and forced to run arbitrary code with as little as a webpage view (ala jailbreakme.com).

    Because people want to use these devices to do whatever they want, enormous effort is spent on jailbreaking them. This means that people with potential malicious intent could start exploiting the holes to do very bad things.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#33724482)

    The iOS device - like the PS3 or Wii - is pefectly tuned for success in its core markets

    The iOS device is not tuned like the PS3 or Wii, Apple is directly targeting iOS devices for general purpose mobile computing and home computing.

    and there the jailbreak doesn't happen because no one gives a damn about the OtherOS - or whatever else it is that the geek is pining for.

    Indeed, but this does not justify heavy lock down.

    Unless, of course, that what the geek is pining for is a free copy of Fallout: New Vegas or the Blu-Ray screener of Iron Man 3.

    You insult everyone who appreciates not having lock down, and everyone who has argued against DRM with that bullshit pro-MPAA/pro-RIAA style argument.

  • by adisakp (705706) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @01:10PM (#33724670) Journal
    If you really want full control and open source, why not just get a cheap NetTop ? I just got a barebones dual core Atom 330 (looks like 4 threads) with NVidia ION GPU for $159 at NewEgg. It have DVI out, HDMI out, SATA, expandable memory, USB2.0, 802.11n (miniPCIe), etc. Fully configurable and very compact. If you get an AppleTV, you aren't going to get storage or tune / record capability (which you can do with a cheap USB tuner on a nettop).
  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:12PM (#33725682)

    Why are you concerned?

    Because if you hadn't noticed, pretty much every other vendor seems to be following Apple's lead. Both in hardware design and in the belief that lock down is good. That diminishes my ability to avoid lock down.

    I wouldn't give a damn if vendors offered the ability to easily unlock their devices in a fashion similar to the Nexus One (or better yet, the N900) but not a single one does. They either force you to find a hole and exploit it or make it nigh upon impossible (Motorola loves this path.)

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:14PM (#33725718)

    Technically there's tradeoff between meeting more obscure customer demand vs. safety issues. If a business refuses to serve the steak bloody rare, then they piss off the steak geeks and lose potential revenue. Yet if the business allows undercooked meat, they lose the safety net of well-done meat that protects their customers from e-coli and the resulting bad press and lawsuits.

    The food safety engineer understands food and also understands there's no right answer to the question of allowing bloody rare steak; the company gives up one thing to get another thing. What it really boils down to is what side of the tradeoff he's on and what balancing of the food equation best serves the needs of the target audience.

    The food geek only understand food; he doesn't understand the concept of tradeoff. He screams and howls that the steak is unfairly being crippled and that he's not getting it his way and his freedoms are getting infringed upon by "the man" because it's easier to understand the concept of the "man" than an equation that must be balanced on both sides to produce the best results for the target audience, which in the case of Burger King and their lawyers doesn't happen to be him.

  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:47PM (#33726304)

    It's funny, because the problem is the same on both sides: Ego. Steve Jobs' planetoid ego permeates everything about Apple. However, having screamed and nearly smashed my jailbroken iPhone as it melted into a mess of cobbled-together crap in dependency chaos, it strikes me that the collective egos of the Jailbreakers are just as bad. They assume free is better in all cases, no matter if that means completely obliterating the actual intended purpose of the item in question or making the continued use of it such a tiresome exercise in maintenance that it might as well be a brick. No, better is better. Free is free. The twain _rarely_ meet. When they do, glorious, but let's not fool ourselves.

    It reminds me of the old Laurie Anderson bit:

    "In our country, you’re free and so you’re born and so they say, You’re free, so happy birthday. And even if you were born to lose--even if you were a complete wreck when you were born--you might still grow up to be president ... because you’re free." ...but, you won't.

  • Re:Bingo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @02:48PM (#33726314) Homepage Journal

    Why would I want to hack on a platform specifically designed not to be hacked?

    Because it's specifically designed not to be hacked. Duh. "Hacking" a device that's designed to be "hacked" isn't hacking. Adding a second hard drive or a new video card to your PC isn't hacking. Putting together a HeathKit isn't hacking. Installing Linux on a Windows box isn't hacking.

    Turning a $10 transistor radio into a guitar fuzzbox is hacking. Using a Lunar lander for a return trip to earth, or putting a square peg in a round hole to keep people alive in it on the way, now THAT'S hacking at its finest. [wikipedia.org]

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @03:52PM (#33727370)

    Well then the only obvious solution is to strip users of any and all freedom.

    Or perhaps the problem is trying to jam a system full of dependencies on top of a system that doesn't have any support for dependency resolution.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:08PM (#33727594)

    Seriously, if you want an open device, buy something that's advertised as being open or build it yourself. They're out there.

    Sure, but that doesn't mean I can't be critical of what I see as a growing trend.

    I see that you've carpet-bombed this discussion with comments complaining that this device isn't open.

    I posted one comment, and this thread has exploded. Outside of it I've posted maybe two.

    Well, it isn't intended to be open, any more than a DVD player or cable TV box is, because it has a few narrowly defined functions that it does very very well, and that's all it's supposed to do.

    Except that Apple's pushing this exact same behavior with all of their other iOS devices while pushing ones like the iPad as a general purpose computing device. And at the same time, so many other manufacturers and OS vendors are happily following along behind them. And yeah, I can opt to not buy it. But that doesn't mean I should be forced to sit quiet while the market is flooded by locked down devices that displace and shrink the market for open hardware.

  • by mgblst (80109) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:36PM (#33729604) Homepage

    If you have not seen attacks on Apple here, with every single story about Apple, then you can not read, or are too stupid to function properly.

    Nothing wrong with that, the critics have some valid points against Apple. Still Apple have never done anything as bad as Microsoft.

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