Some people are aware of my dislike for the Apple lockdown on Mac OSX and iOS. Despite that, I own several Apple devices for one reason: build quality.
I’ve been using Arch Linux on my Macbook Air 11” for just over a year now. At the time of purchase, I was also considering an Asus UX21A Ultrabook, which is also in the 11” size range. Even though running Linux on the UX21A would’ve been much easier, the fact that the Macbook Air’s keyboard and trackpad blow it out of the water is enough for me to not regret my purchase. Not to mention, the choice to upgrade my RAM, which I took advantage of. There are very few occasions where I’ve had to fight the hardware to get things running under Linux and the ride has been smooth, for the most part. But for my smartphone, I’ve been using Android, up until recently.
Ever since the iPhone 4, I’ve been quite envious of the build quality on iPhones. Sure, HTC One is nice, but it’s not nearly as polished and it’s still a tad too large for my tastes. Not to mention the iPhone 5S has to be the sexiest phone I’ve ever seen.
This is, of course, somewhat subjective. But there’s something about the aluminium body, satisfying buttons, and the slim, perfectly shaped chassis of the iPhone 5S that makes other phones on the market feel like cheap toys. (Although, I will give the HTC One the fact that it has the most kickass stereo speakers ever seen on a smartphone thus far.) And I’m not the only one who can appreciate these qualities in their hardware. Side note: Linus Torvalds is now using a Chromebook Pixel running Linux, like a boss.
As soon as I was informed that the new jailbreak for iOS 7 had been released, and my eyes just lit up. Here was my chance to get the fine build quality of an iPhone 5S while retaining some semblance of customizability.
Let me say, the jailbreak is almost everything I wanted. To be frank, I don’t require elaborate customization. However, the ability to change the little things adds up to an enjoyable experience. Here’s the list of tweaks I’m currently using (all of which are available in the Cydia store):
- Browser Changer - Allows me to change my default browser to Chrome and my default maps app to Google Maps. Rad.
- Sicarius - Swipe the homescreen in multitasking to close all applications. Can be set to ignore active, currently playing, and active recording apps.
- Springtomize - A plethora of tweaks for the entire iOS interface, including: animations, dock, folders, icons, lock screen, and status bar. 5 icons on dock anyone?
- TVLocker Pro - TV locking animation from Android, just because.
- Winterboard - Provides icon themes.
- Zeppelin - Small tweak to change the carrier text to an picture. Several hundred theme packs available.
The only things I truly miss from Android at this point are Business Calendar and its awesome agenda widget. Sunrise Calendar gets a shout-out for being the next best thing, so that is currently what I’m using.
Am I being fussy about my phone that is not only my communications device, but is also my calendar, task scheduler, and short/long term memory? Possibly. However, a smart phone allows me to be so much more efficient in my day to day activities, that it really has become an extension of myself. For a phone that is all of the above and a pleasure to use is definitely worth being fussy over.