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

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, 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.