Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 06:10 am PT (09:10 am ET)
Hello, I'm a jailbreaker: Actor Justin Long demos hacked iPhoneActor Justin Long, who played the role of "Mac" in Apple's long-running "Get a Mac" commercials, this week showed off a series of humorous text messages on network TV, aided by an application available only on jailbroken iPhones.
Long appeared Wednesday on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, and shared with the audience a series of text messages he exchanged with a "random tween" who had mistaken his number for someone else. Long, using his iPhone, purposefully typed out grossly misspelled words, poking fun at his new "friend's" mangling of the English language.
Long's iPhone was used live on stage, and its display projected to the audience through a TV out cable. At the conclusion of the bit, the actor, who gained fame through Apple's long-running series of commercials, closed the iPhone's text messaging application to reveal a Cydia icon, the alternative digital application store for jailbroken iOS devices.
Also visible on his home screen was an icon for the jailbreak-only software TVOutTuner, a third-party, unauthorized application that allows users to send out a real-time, full-screen video of their iPhone. Long relied on the application to display his text messages on the external screen for viewers of Kimmel's program.
Jailbreaking is the term used to describe the process by which users can hack iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, to run software that is not approved by Apple. Hackers have created their own custom applications that modify the mobile operating system, allowing features Apple does not, such as a universal, system-wide video out.
For years, Long played the part of "Mac" in the award winning "Get a Mac" ad campaign, which ran from 2006 to 2009. The ads began with Long's trademark "Hello, I'm a Mac" tagline. The "Mac" character was the straight man in the commercial's routine, flanked by comedian John Hodgman's portrayal of the bumbling "PC" character.
Last month, the U.S. Library of Congress deemed that jailbreaking is a legal act, and users cannot be criminally charged for hacking their phone and running software from outside Apple's App Store. However, Apple has warned that jailbreaking can still void the iPhone warranty and, for those who don't know what they are doing, can expose the handset to security issues.
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