Last night before bed I wasted some time by looking through what was available in the iPhone installer application and I was surprised to see quite a lot of new and useful stuff in there. I previously wrote about installing ssh and a terminal application on my iPhone, and the Installer makes things even easier and it also lets you manage applications right on the iPhone. Sweet!
Eeeeeenyway, I took that picture of my iPhone interface to show some of the neat customization you can do now. An application called Summerboard is the next step beyond the iPhone launcher (called Springboard, get it?) and it enables stuff like being able to scroll your set of application icons if they don’t all fit and lots more.
Here’s some stuff I’ve done…
- Changed my ‘Theme’ to look sorta like the upcoming OS X, Leopard. It mostly just affected the background for the icons at the bottom of the screen.
- Changed it to hold 5 icons instead of 4 at the bottom, and put Google Maps on there, which I use more than the iPod (but less than the others there).
- I used a utility called XLaunch to remove the Stocks application from showing up at all. It’s easier for me to just load Google Finance in Safari.
You can also see some of the other applications I have installed at the moment. Navizon is an intriguing application that can provide GPS-like information for devices that don’t have a GPS chip based on WiFi and Cellular network information. I’ve heard very bad reviews and one good review so I have to give it a try myself. There’s also a native AIM client called MobileChat and a voice note recorder called VNotes.
A lot of this stuff is superfluous and doesn’t add that much more to the basic iPhone but the amount of developer activity happening without ANY support from Apple is pretty amazing to me. Apple is not going to be able to stop this and reeeeaaaallly needs to develop an official developer platform. I still assume it’s only a matter of time but a recent blog post by Wil Shipley has me a bit worried that the Apple I think I know has left me for another lover, or something. Honestly, Apple doesn’t even need to officially support iPhone development… they just need to stop wiping it every time they release a new firmware update.
Right now whenever a new firmware update for the iPhone is released installing it into an iPhone with 3rd party software causes iTunes to think your iPhone is somehow damaged and it forces a factory wipe and reset. It’s not as big of a deal as it sounds as most of the important stuff syncs over from the computer again BUT it is a pain in the butt and it’ll likely make me put off upgrading this next time around… and this is only the beginning. If this goes on for very many more times I might just decide I don’t need Apple’s update anymore. All the 3rd-party HACKERS (they can’t really be called developers until Apple embraces them) might end up providing me more value than Apple itself. Imagine that!