New iOS for Apple TV Firmware Released, Promptly Decrypted

In living proof that as long as there’s a thriving geek fan culture for a device, it will never be long for the new version to be jailbroken: behold iOS 4.1. Most people are perfectly willing to let their devices do the talking for them, accept what’s given, and just run sanctioned software. But there are those intrepid few—who actually make up a fairly notable portion of the market—who want more out of their devices and find ways around the handicaps built into them by the manufacturers.

According to Ars Technica, iOS 4.x is already well on its way to being opened up,

Now, Chronic Development Team member “pod2g” discovered a low-level boot ROM exploit that could be used as a potential jailbreak path for iOS 4.x. He has since used his “SHAtter” tool to decrypt the iOS 4.1 firmware version intended for the Apple TV, which is the first step in finding a reliable jailbreak method. iPhone Dev Team member MuscleNerd warns that those interested in an Apple TV jailbreak should buy early, however, since Apple could patch the flaw that SHAtter uses at the factory.

Of course, when Apple does patch that flaw, someone else is going to find and crack open a new flaw.

The primary drive behind jailbreaking a new device is to give it the ability to run content it otherwise would refuse—although it perfectly well could but for firmware and software restrictions and not incompatibility. Most devices are locked down ostensibly for security, but also to aid competitiveness of a device by allow them to decide who can and can’t run software on them (enabling the manufacturers to control content that goes through their device.)

Of course, what good device geek can pass up the chance to run whatever they wanted without the device telling them they can’t. For example, the original Apple TV jailbreak enabled the ability to use a USB external hard drive for movies and Hulu+. It’s foreseeable people could even run video games on iOS once it’s cracked out of its shell.

An entire ecology of “outlaw” apps exists for devices they would otherwise not run on for people who want to expand the usefulness of the vanilla devices they receive on the market.