It has been confirmed that the new Apple TV, scheduled to be released this week, is based around a variation of the iOS4.1 mobile device operating system.
For those who are so inclined, this iOS version is susceptible to jailbreaking using the SHAtter exploit. This was confirmed using the firmware that Apple has recently posted to its website which enables users to restore their Apple TV to factory settings in case of any problems.
The previous iteration of the Apple TV device was a popular target for jailbreakers who wanted to enable full functionality, but required a little more fiddling about that users may be accustomed to. Unfortunately, you couldn’t just visit a website and ‘slide to jailbreak’. While the jailbreak of the new Apple TV device has been demonstrated and confirmed, it is not yet available to the general public so it is unclear how involved the process is.
The complete technical specifics of the new Apple TV are still relatively cloudy so it is not clear yet how much onboard storage is available for the operating system and any subsequent apps that either Apple or an unofficial app store would release. Steve Jobs has suggested that specific apps for Apple TV may come in the future but he may be referring to the next version of the Apple TV (thought to be 1080p compatible).
Jailbreaking of the device would likely allow AirPlay streaming of movie file formats not normally supported by iTunes as well as other functionality such as third party apps not normally supported by the device. How happy will Apple be about this? Not very!