iPod nano hacked, jailbreak to follow?

Although the iPod nano isn't an iOS device, it can apparently be hacked - and maybe even jailbroken.

When Apple released the latest generation of the iPods, there was some short-lived excitement that the new touch screen iPad nano was running a variation of Apple's iOS mobile operating system (which powers the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV). Despite being a touch screen device and support some of the same multitouch gestures in iOS, it was soon confirmed that the postage stamp sized music player was not running iOS.

That hasn't stopped people from trying to jailbreak and modify it to support additional apps. While there hasn't been much success so far, one hacker by the name of James Whelton has managed to modify the device's homescreen. That's not total success, but it shows that true jailbreaking might be possible.

Even though the new nano is running a variation of the traditional iPod OS, that doesn't mean app development is impossible. After all, the original iPod shipped with a version of breakout as an Easter egg and with the fifth generation iPod, Apple began to offer a smattering of games through the iTunes Store – games for the iPod Classic models can still be purchased this way. Unlike iOS, however, Apple never made the tools for iPod game development public, opting to partner directly with game makers.

That said, it is a bit hard to imagine what types of apps would be suitable for the current iPod nano's tiny screen. Interactive games would be extremely difficult since there isn't any input mechanism other than the screen itself, which would be pretty much covered by a user's fingers. Another challenge is that the iPod nano has no wireless capabilities like Wi-Fi that would allow of network/Internet data access.

What do you think? Is trying to jailbreak the tiny iPod nano an ingenious idea or a fools quest? What kind of apps can you imagine or would you want to see on the nano if it is successfully jailbroken? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Ryan Faas writes about personal technology for ITworld. Learn more about Faas' published works and training and consulting services at www.ryanfaas.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanfaas.

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