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'Lowtide' UI found on Apple TV could come to iPad, iPhone

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Apple's new iOS-powered Apple TV has a user interface dubbed "Lowtide" that is compatible with other iOS devices, and which one hacker has already ported to an iPod touch.

Erica Sadun at TUAW poked around in the Apple TV firmware released this week and found evidence that Lowtide could run on other iOS devices like the iPad. If enabled, it would run as a "silent service," which means the user interface would only be displayed when requested.

"Lowtide is set as 'hidden,' so its icon does not appear for launching in the normal SpringBoard icon screen," Sadun wrote. "On the iPad, other hidden applications include Apple's DemoApp for retail emplacement, FieldTest to provide live signal strength and cell tower information, WebSheet.app for Web page display outside Safari, and a few other items."

Since then, YouTube user DLHowett uploaded a video to YouTube, showing the version of FrontRow that runs on the second-generation Apple TV ported to an iPod touch.

As soon as the Apple TV firmware was released this week, hackers announced that they could successfully jailbreak it. "Jailbreaking" is the term used to describe exploiting holes in the iOS code to run unauthorized software.



Such early progress in breaking down the software inside the Apple TV could suggest that an extensive jailbreaking community, which already exists around the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, could form once again around the iOS-based Apple TV.

Though the set top box does not yet run third-party applications or have access to the App Store, some have speculated that Apple could upgrade the device in the future to allow such functionality. Space for apps would be tight, though, as the new Apple TV has 8GB of internal storage, some of which is presumably used to cache data when streaming video.
post #2 of 29
Hmmm a very rushed port... It quit on him too....
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Space for apps would be tight, though, as the new Apple TV has 8GB of internal storage, some of which is presumably used to cache data when streaming video.

Why is that too little? There are 8 GB iPod touches and iPhones, which have half of that storage filled with music. So what's wrong with about 3 GB of storage reserved for buffering?
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Why is that too little? There are 8 GB iPod touches and iPhones, which have half of that storage filled with music. So what's wrong with about 3 GB of storage reserved for buffering?

I agree with you. I have over 150 apps (including GPS apps with downloaded maps) on my iPhone and I am using less than 3GB.
post #5 of 29
Get back to me when a real HTPC GUI runs on iOS devises.

See Plex.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Get back to me when a real HTPC GUI runs on iOS devises.

See Plex.

I agree, once this gets jail-broken and plex is able to run on it, I am getting one for myself. There aren't a whole lot of iOS programs that I think would suit this device since there are not any touch inputs, location abilities, gyros, compass, etc. But for HTPC, this could be huge. I am pleasantly surprised that there is 8 gigs of memory as I figured only 4 gigs for streaming would be the maximum used.
post #7 of 29
Could be a nice UI for iPad actually. Launch the TV App and get acess to movie trailers/rentals, and netflix. Doubt it will happen any time soon though.
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post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokrad View Post

Hmmm a very rushed port... It quit on him too....

Since he didn't have the source 'port' really isn't the right word for what he did... In short he took the binary items that go into what is the UI/frontend for the Apple TV (iOS version) and packed it all up in a bundle that was acceptable to an ordinary iOS device and it's really a wonder that it worked as well as it did given he really didn't have all that much to work with. (from a developer point of view)
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Get back to me when a real HTPC GUI runs on iOS devises.

See Plex.

Once that happens then YOU get back to ME when the iOS devices support 1080p...
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post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Since he didn't have the source 'port' really isn't the right word for what he did... In short he took the binary items that go into what is the UI/frontend for the Apple TV (iOS version) and packed it all up in a bundle that was acceptable to an ordinary iOS device and it's really a wonder that it worked as well as it did given he really didn't have all that much to work with. (from a developer point of view)

Oh, well thanks for clarifying that.
post #11 of 29
That's neat. Now for our next trick - getting app store applications on the AppleTV before Apple does. That would be really neat.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Why is that too little? There are 8 GB iPod touches and iPhones, which have half of that storage filled with music. So what's wrong with about 3 GB of storage reserved for buffering?

The apps will reside elsewhere on the network, say on iTunes or an iDevice-- as they do now.

When you want to run an app on the big screen you will:

1) Purchase, Download and store it in an iTunes Library or on an iDevice, if needed.
2) you will cross-load the app to the AppleTV, if needed.
3) You will run the app on the AppleTV -- possibly with the iDevices as controllers.

The menu system and AppleTV framework will remain on the AppleTV-- just add apps menus.

Repeat the above three steps for any app you want to run (including Live TV streaming apps)

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post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

That's neat. Now for our next trick - getting app store applications on the AppleTV before Apple does. That would be really neat.

I'm sure it will happen, but I'd much rather have Apps made for Apple TV. Those will come too (and work much better).
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post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Get back to me when a real HTPC GUI runs on iOS devises.

See Plex.

Why should we hang around and wait for you to catch up?

.
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post #15 of 29
Because HD movies and TV are HUGE files and would probably need that much just to cache. A standard DVD movie is about 1-4gb for example, and Blu-Rays can go from 20 gb to upwards of 50gb. you would have no space left for Apps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Why is that too little? There are 8 GB iPod touches and iPhones, which have half of that storage filled with music. So what's wrong with about 3 GB of storage reserved for buffering?
post #16 of 29
I totally agree with you here, I was expecting it to come on this device, but sadly it's watered down. However, I've been saying this for years now, but I think there are several reasons why they didn't do this.

1. UI: creating a user interface for the TV (IMO) is something Apple has probably been working with since the first gen ATV, but I don't think they have found a good solution to this. Many people have said maybe the Magic Trackpad (which I think has potential), others have said the Apple Remote App on the iPhone/Touch. Problem is, not everyone has the iPhone/Touch and that would be a pretty costly "accessory" to the ATV. I've also head an iPod Touch-Like remote with a screen/keyboard and touch interface, but at a $99 price-point (which at this point I think was a necessary move for Apple if they wanted to be competitive) I just don't see that kind of technology being included in the cost. Plus, a touch interface remote like this kind of defeats the purpose of the ATV then. You'd be constantly looking down at your remote and not the TV. So I'm sure they are working on it, they just haven't found an adequate solution that also works within the current Apple Ecosystem.

2. If they add the iOS, that would naturally lead you to an Internet Browser, which I don't think Apple wants on this device...yet. Buy adding a browser, you're opening the door to all sorts of free content over the web (i.e. Hulu, Pandora, not to mention all the TV Networks that allow free streaming over the web with commercials). This would seriously eat into Apple profit margins on iTunes downloads. I think they may be holding on this aspect because they are trying very hard to work out deals with the major networks for iTunes streaming. If they can't work out the 99cent downloads, they may have to result to Apps created by major networks (i.e. the ABCtv App that's currently available). This is a stretch, but I think that adding iOS to ATV might also eat into the current markets of the iPod Touch/iPad as well. If you could do everything those devices do on your TV, you might not need that iPad/Touch for home use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

That's neat. Now for our next trick - getting app store applications on the AppleTV before Apple does. That would be really neat.
post #17 of 29
His comment is typical to the average user. I think we all have been waiting for the world to catch up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Why should we hang around and wait for you to catch up?

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post #18 of 29
This one is interesting and Apple community has been discussing it since one week already.

We're waiting for new ``Finder' ' for iPad, Apple. The iPad is not a phone and this's no place for SpringBoard as it is now. Please set it right.

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post #19 of 29
Yes, Agreed...
I understand why this hasn't happened (because 1080p is HUGE to stream over wireless) but they need to work on that. AND they need to work on supporting downloads of existing DVD/BD content we already own. And don't give me that Handbrake shit...I want Apple to support this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Once that happens then YOU get back to ME when the iOS devices support 1080p...
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Yes, Agreed...
I understand why this hasn't happened (because 1080p is HUGE to stream over wireless) but they need to work on that. AND they need to work on supporting downloads of existing DVD/BD content we already own. And don't give me that Handbrake shit...I want Apple to support this.

Microsoft have been streaming 1080p movies over Xbox Live for a long time now. And it works great, you should try it.
post #21 of 29
Love to, but my gaming system is my computer. I don't really play games, except for the Lego games, which ROCK! and they run in 1600x1200 and then some on the later games. So I really don't see the need for an XBox. Plus I own a BD player too, so there's no need.

I haven't heard of any device that streams 1080p movies, are you sure about this? Many cable companies claim they stream 1080p but in reality it's not. Not even Netflix has this yet.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20000054-248.html
Update: ok, I now see the Roku XD box on sale for $99 on Amazon, which will stream 1080p. Ok, so that beats the pants off the ATV now, except for the interface with iTunes which it lacks, but I'd be willing to part with that, since all my movies are physical discs. Man, just when I was ready to buy into the ATV, I see something else that's way better. I'm not sure what everyone on these forums are talking about Apple being the leader of the "Living Room" when there are other products out there that are way better. Seems like Apple are the one's playing catch-up here.
http://www.amazon.com/Roku-XDS-Strea.../dp/B00426C57O

You're talking about the IIS Streaming with Silverlight? SL is amazing on how fast is streams HD content. I watched the DNC in 2008 Steaming Live in HD and it didn't even blink an eye. Pretty amazing tool. Didn't know that was included on the Xbox. Hope Apple comes up with something like this tech soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

Microsoft have been streaming 1080p movies over Xbox Live for a long time now. And it works great, you should try it.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

L I'm not sure what everyone on these forums are talking about Apple being the leader of the "Living Room" when there are other products out there that are way better.

Err... usable by the average non-techie who is more interested in watching something than the mechanics of the delivery vehicle.

.
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post #23 of 29
Uhm, not sure what you mean, you might want to clarify. What is "the mechanics of a delivery vehicle", and what does it have to do with anything I said in my previous post? I'm talking about the Roku box, Boxee, WD Media Center, not to mention the wide range of BD players with netflix and hulu and pandora, and the current TVs that contain all these things.

Here's a good article that lays out the battle for the "Living Room". Personally, after reading this, I my sway away from an aTV purchase and hold off for a while longer. Granted Airplay will be huge, but when the competition to the aTV has so many more enticing features, it'll be a tough call.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...contentBody;1n
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Err... usable by the average non-techie who is more interested in watching something than the mechanics of the delivery vehicle.

.
post #24 of 29
Finally! It's not about endless inept mumbling about usability. It's about SpringBoard evolution.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #25 of 29
Good.
One more time, Apple. Making the iPad airier, while preserving the screen size and battery life, is like sending man to Mars.
Giving iPad an UI, which fits naturally the device business case is absolutely feasible right now and will really move tech-savvy crowd towards buying the toy.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #26 of 29
All I have to ay is that this is a ray of hope that supports my ideas for where the new iOS ATV (and other i-devices) is going. I think its going to be incredible.
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

The apps will reside elsewhere on the network, say on iTunes or an iDevice-- as they do now.

When you want to run an app on the big screen you will:

1) Purchase, Download and store it in an iTunes Library or on an iDevice, if needed.
2) you will cross-load the app to the AppleTV, if needed.
3) You will run the app on the AppleTV -- possibly with the iDevices as controllers.

The menu system and AppleTV framework will remain on the AppleTV-- just add apps menus.

Repeat the above three steps for any app you want to run (including Live TV streaming apps)

The problem is that your idea requires another iDevice. I'm pretty sure Steve wants the device to run on its own, if needed. I think AppleTV-specific apps will be loaded on the AppleTV itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Get back to me when a real HTPC GUI runs on iOS devises.

See Plex.

Once that happens then YOU get back to ME when the iOS devices support 1080p...

Beyond the issues involving internet bitrates on the user end (1080p requires appx. 10 Mbps, and a lot of people don't have that kind of bitrate), there's also hardware decoding issues. The H.264 hardware decoder in the AppleTV supports up to Level 3.1, which allows 720p up to 30fps. To get 1080p of any kind, Level 4 is required, and that requires a more complex, power-hungry, and expensive hardware decoder chip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Because HD movies and TV are HUGE files and would probably need that much just to cache. A standard DVD movie is about 1-4gb for example, and Blu-Rays can go from 20 gb to upwards of 50gb. you would have no space left for Apps.

If I remember correctly, the new AppleTV only buffers a small portion of the movie at any given time. 3 GB is more than enough for buffering. It might even be enough for buffering and the OS.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Uhm, not sure what you mean, you might want to clarify. What is "the mechanics of a delivery vehicle", and what does it have to do with anything I said in my previous post? I'm talking about the Roku box, Boxee, WD Media Center, not to mention the wide range of BD players with netflix and hulu and pandora, and the current TVs that contain all these things.

Here's a good article that lays out the battle for the "Living Room". Personally, after reading this, I my sway away from an aTV purchase and hold off for a while longer. Granted Airplay will be huge, but when the competition to the aTV has so many more enticing features, it'll be a tough call.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...contentBody;1n

Simply put: Most people want to watch the content as quickly and easily as possible-- unlike the techies here, they could care less about the technology (specs).

Secondly, $99 is less than many TV universal remotes-- it's not something one needs to anguish over or wait for all the anticipated features of the "next" release. If the next hardware version is better, just buy a new one.

I got my new AppleTV about an hour ago.

I unplugged my existing version 1 AppleTV and replaced it with the new-- so it is accessed the same way by the family members (import source 7 on the Sony Bravia).

Setup, actually, was more difficult that the old AppleTV-- you had to enter accounts and passwords for iTunes Store, Home Sharing and Netflix, But, these were for things newly supported .

I never stored content on the old AppleTV -- my media library resides on 2 2TeraByte drives attached to a headless Mac Mini-- and this was synced to the old AppleTV.

Now, I can choose to stream content including Photos from any of 5 Macs, and Netflix, MobileMe...

I was disappointed that this release of the new AppleTV software doesn't yet support streaming A/V from an iPad or iPhone-- the Audio streams fine, but when you stream a movie, only the audio plays on the AppleTV.

I just installed the latest iOS 4.2 beta, but haven't futzed around enough to know if I can get Video Streaming to the Apple TV working with it.


After about 20 minutes of "hands on" experience, I can report that everything else worked smoothly, as expected.

It is an amazing experience to have thousands of songs, videos, podcasts, movies, photographs at your finger tips -- when they reside all over the house and several places on the web.


Best $99 I ever spent!

... and, it's so drop-dead simple that even my 10-year-old grandson's grandfather can operate it!


We have ATT Uverse for Internet and TV... if they were smart, they'd write an AppleTV app for the TV, and be done with it!

I can stream my media library (stream to me) and NetFlix to multiple iPhones and iPads at home (WiFi) or when I am out and about (WiFi and even 3G). I expect, that someday I will be use the AppleTV as the streaming server.

.
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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

Personally, after reading this, I my sway away from an aTV purchase and hold off for a while longer. Granted Airplay will be huge, but when the competition to the aTV has so many more enticing features, it'll be a tough call.

Here's the difference between Apple and everyone else - Apple gets me access to all my media, including most importantly, my pictures in addition to offering streaming content. They do this better and more easily than anyone else. I have an Xbox 360, a PS3 and an HP MediaVault/Windows Home Server. They all have their pros and cons, but none has the out of the box experience and ease of use of the AppleTV.

As for the content that the other boxes have, it's not like Apple can't add Hulu+ and even Amazon just like they support it on the iOS devices. And I think it's a safe bet to assume that these are part of Apple's longer term plans.

1080p streaming at this point is mostly marketing fluff. The bandwith simply doesn't exist for most people to stream bluray quality 1080p. If I compare the bit rate I get on my PS3 playing a BlueRay vs. what I get on my Xbox over an Internet connection, it's half - if that. And on the content I can download, the file sizes you see on a BlueRay simply don't compare.

Not all HD is the same - yes, the base resolution like 1080p is interesting, but bit rate is just as important. Higher bit rate 720p can beat the pants off of over-compressed low bit rate 1080p. Focusing just on the base resolution is simplistic and naive. I discovered that with my cable company. I recently hooked up an over the air HD antenna and changed my Tivo to show the stations I get over the air from cable to my antenna - and the difference is night and day! You would swear they aren't the same channels, the difference in quality (for the better!) is that startling. And double bonus, there are sub-channels that the cable company doesn't pass through.

So, when the infrastructure is in place to actually support decent 1080p, I have no doubt Apple will update the ATV to support - but right now, other than checking a box on a feature list there isn't any real advantage to 1080p "support" at this point and time for the vast majority of people.

Reminds me of the simplistic arguments of clock speed in the PowerPC/Pentium 4 days. Apple was derided for making the argument that MHz shouldn't be the sole factor for determining the speed of a CPU since PowerPC's did more work per clock tick, but the simplistic arguments that larger numbers are better persisted.

Then Intel had to change strategy with the Core processors and suddenly they were forced to overcome their MHz focused marketing with, ironically, Apple's argument that you need to look at the amount of work done per clock tick, not just the top end clock speed of the CPU since the Core processors use a different architecture that does more work per tick. Yet even today I still run into people who consider them "slower" because of the lower MHz rating - it happened this Thursday as a matter of fact.

So I don't expect the misconceptions about HD and the value (or no real value) of 1080p streaming at home to clear any time soon. Check list oriented geeks will dismiss the AppleTV as many are in this thread. Some regular people will get bamboozled by their geek friends or articles on the Internet that "bigger must be better", but most people will look at the ecosystem and the access to their media, the ease of use of the AppleTV and the price point and pick the ATV. I guarantee most people have never heard of Roku, Boxee or Western Digital, but they do know Apple - and that makes quite a difference as well.

So the AppleTV will be far from the failure that many are implying in this thread. I don't think it will set the world on fire either, since most people aren't ready for something like an ATV. I think that's why Apple still considers it a hobby. Heck, there are still people complaining about component connections not being offered or that they have SD televisions and can't use the ATV. The market is not mature by any stretch and is still pretty much dominated by early adopters who are mostly technical.
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