Sometimes I wonder about the decision making process behind Apple’s restrictions on the iPhone. No, I don’t mean not allowing certain apps into the iPhone store – that’s their right. I mean simple stuff like customizing your iPhone’s look. Why won’t they let you customize how you use it? For the most part you’re stuck with this:
That’s not my screen image. I didn’t want to bother undoing all my work just to get a the standard screen image. After jailbreaking my iPhone I was able to get an app called Winterboard, which let me changed my Home screen from that into this:
The folders holding multiple apps is a standard feature in iOS4, but everthing else you see that’s unusual comes from jailbreaking. The five apps on the dock is from the Five App Dock add-on. The background and other little touches such as the battery percentage and CPU memory usage, comes from the Blue Thunder theme (which also changes the skins on other apps in the iPhone, like the calculator, weather, time, and so on). It even changed the “slide to turn on” button at startup into a thumb-scanner, which is cute.
It’s a small thing, but I like having that personal touch. So why doesn’t Apple? Perhaps it’s protecting their brand image, since the home screen is what people are going to associate with the iPhone. Not the back that nobody looks at, but the main screen. Another advantage of jailbreaking is being able to add on features that are genuinely useful. Take for example SBSettings. This is really just a shortcut to your Settings, allowing you to access stuff like Brightness, and all the stuff you might want to turn off or on, such as 3G, Bluetooth, Location, and so on.
The difference here is this little app lets you use access it ANYWHERE. You don’t need to leave the app you’re currently running. One of the apps I have on my iPhone is a flashlight. But in order to save battery power I keep my brightness setting low. If I go to the flashlight app, all it does is give you a white screen. So I find I end up going to Flashlight, backing out of Flashlight because it’s not bright enough, going into Settings, going into Brightness, turning up the brightness, backing all the way back out and THEN going back to Flashlight. With SBSettings I can go into Flashlight, hold down the Home button a second, then access Brightness from there, without ever having to leave the flashlight app. Much easier. And that’s just one example of how it can be useful.