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Au revoir, mon jailbreak

June 21st, 2010

iOS 4.0 will be released tomorrow (or today if you are reading this Monday morning). The iPhone 4 itself will arrive on Thursday.

With my new iPhone, I have to bid a very fond farewell to my jailbroken iPhone. While the iOS 4.0 itself will remain jailbreakble on older iPhones, it is likely that it may be weeks if not months before the new hardware will be jailbroken by the Dev Team.

I am looking forward to my new iPhone and its awesome screen and great camera, but I will miss a lot of the features that third-party developers have created.

What is especially sad is that the three things I will miss the most are not esoteric tweaks useful only to hackers; rather they are essential usability enhancements that make using the phone more pleasant. It boggles my mind that after three years Apple’s engineers have not yet implemented basic ideas such as…

1. Customizable SMS notification tones. The crappy piece-of-junk phone your carrier gives away free probably includes a feature allowing you, the user, to utilize your own custom tones for incoming SMS message notification (or they will at least let you pay to change them). This feature isn’t available on the iPhone at any price. iPhone users are stuck with the same six (crappy) tones that have shipped with the iPhone from day one.

2. Instant reply functionality for incoming SMS messages. On the iPhone, when you get an incoming text message, you have two options. Either ignore it until later, or choose to reply. If you reply, whatever app you are currently running is unceremoniously quit and you are dumped in the full-fledged text messaging app to write your reply. On a jailbroken iPhone you can choose to permit q “quick reply” pop-up window, allowing you to dash off a text message response without quitting the app you are already running. Hopefully, multitasking on iOS 4 will help here, but even so, is the ability to instantly reply to messages too much to ask?

3. Quick access to common phone settings. On a jailbroken iPhone, frequently-used toggle settings, like turning wifi, bluetooth, or data on and off is a single fast swipe no matter what you are doing on your phone. On the stock iPhone, even with iOS 4, doing something simple like turning off 3G requires quitting what you are doing, and navigating deep within the Settings app. Ugh.

Notice that none of these three items requires changing the fundamentals of how the phone works, or opening up the OS or bypassing the app store. In other words, they are all things Apple should add to the basic OS without changing the iPhone business or use models. I hope that these features show up in iOS 5, but in the mean time, I eagerly await the time when a jailbreak for the iPhone 4 is revealed. I have to have my custom SMS tone, after all!

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  1. Tim Williams
    June 21st, 2010 at 00:40 | #1

    Mike, great post – totally agree, but for #2, won’t multi-tasking on iPhone 4 take care of this?

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