There have been two big steps forward in the past week in the race to get a public jailbreak issued for the new Apple TV device which only actually reached eager customers hands in the past few days.
The first piece of news is that it has now emerged that the device runs a modified form of the iOS software found in iPhones, iPads and iPods but built with a dramatically different user interface to reflect the UI in the previous version of the Apple TV. The second interesting move forward is that it has been found that iOS compatible apps can be installed on the Apple TV without too many problems. The hitch comes down to the fact that there is no native launcher present in the iOS software on the Apple TV.
This is the predominant limiting factor in the public release of a jailbreak. A launcher will either have to be copied or engineered from scratch to appear on the Apple TV menu screen. This may not be an especially difficult task but will take weeks and months to appear rather than the mere days that it took to access the root code on the Apple TV. And jailbreak devs also face a number of obstacles that stand in the way of a public release including porting apps on to the device (perhaps via mini-usb) determining how much of the onboard storage can be used for apps without compromising the buffering capabilities and issuing a jailbreak before Apple can patch the hole that is being used.
Credit is due to these jailbreak developers in this cat and mouse game with Apple, but one can’t help feeling that Apple could loosen up some of the arbitrary restrictions to avoid users having to go down the jailbreak road.