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3 Secret Apple TV Features Steve Jobs Hasn’t Told You About


The new Apple TV could be Steve Jobs’ best sleight-of-hand trick yet.

During his modest introduction of the device, Jobs called the Apple TV “one more hobby.” But a closer look at the code and the hardware powering the Apple TV reveals that there’s a lot more going on under the hood than the CEO shared.

Interestingly, Jobs didn’t mention that Apple TV runs iOS, the same operating system running on its flagship product, the iPhone, and some other big hits — the iPod Touch and iPad. And there’s more, too: The Apple TV’s software may already be jailbroken, and some hidden software should eventually allow you to share the Apple TV’s media with other iOS devices.

These secret ingredients could be the recipe Apple needs to shake up the television industry. For years, Apple executives have labeled the set-top box a “hobby” product because of its mild success compared to blockbuster sellers like the iPhone and iPod. Now that Apple TV has been revamped into a streaming rental service with an arsenal of stealth features, maybe Apple has a chance to change the TV business — if not today, perhaps later.

“The most important hint of Apple’s real ambitions in the living room come from AirPlay, which puts iPhones and iPads in the driver’s seat and makes the TV just an output device for the Apple ecosystem,” said James McQuivey, a Forrester analyst, in a recent e-mail statement. “Expect Apple to gradually push more and more in that direction, but as of this moment in 2010, Apple has not yet made a significant play for control of the TV.”

Here, we round up the juicy tidbits we’ve heard about Apple’s mysterious new set-top box.

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