Next Spring Steve Jobs will walk out on the stage and preview the latest and greatest enhancements to iOS 5, and there’s a lot we want to see that’s already available via Jailbreak. As most of you know, I am a full supporter of jailbreak. Every iOS device I’ve ever owned has been jailbroken and tweaked to perfection. iOS may be a very viable platform- but like any, it’s still severely lacking in certain areas.
Part of the reason I’m such a huge supporter of jailbreak is due to the fact that some great innovations and ideas tend to come from the jailbreak arena. They later trickle on down into later iterations of iOS. (Installer and Cydia were around before the official App Store). So in some ways, a jailbreaker is essentially a beta tester for Apple, without paying a $99 fee for a developer’s license. Not to mention you’ll get new tweaks and features a lot sooner than Apple releases a major beta version of iOS.
When the snow finally melts and Spring greets us, I’m hoping Steve walks on stage and includes some of these successful jailbreak tweaks and features in the next iteration of iOS. Jump on through to see what I’m wishing for (and of course, let us know your hopes for iOS 5 in the comments as well).
1. New Notifications System
This is first on my list for a reason. A lot of you are probably tired of hearing me whine about it by now. But the truth is, it’s one feature iOS has a terrible management system for. The fact that notifications just pop up over other notifications and when you dismiss them, the badge disappears, leaving no trace of that notification is pretty inexcusable.
A lot of us are networking fiends. I want a better way to manage my notifications. Jailbreak applications such as LockInfo have done wonderful things to supplement Apple’s lack of a decent way to manage notifications. I’m a huge supporter of LockInfo and its developer, David Ashman. Things like viewing notifications and events on your lockscreen is a breath of fresh air.
Infoshade is also a feature of LockInfo that I’ve fallen in love with. These are features Apple needs to take a hard look at, learn from them, and refine them in a way only Apple can do.
2. Folder Enhancements
The jailbreak community has had the ability to create folders since long before iOS 4.0. Apple’s implementation of folders is hands down much better. The down side of Apple’s version of folders is that they crippled the feature from being as useful as it could be. I don’t know about you, but I have way more than 12 games. I’d like to be able to put them all in one generic games folder, in sub-folders, labeled by type of game.
Jailbreak applications such as Infinifolders and Folder Enhancer allow me to do this. I can also skin my folders however I want with different wallpapers (not a necessity but a nice little tweak). These two apps also remove the 12 apps per folder cap. Put as many in a folder as you like. You can have pages of apps and nested folders inside of nested folders if you choose. It allows me to be more organized and have only 1-2 pages on my springboard.
3. Texting Enhancements
While Apple’s text app is extremely easy to use, it lacks certain functionality that most users really want (and need). If I want to reply to a text message, I have to exit whatever I’m doing, jump into the texting app, send my reply, and then go back to whatever I was doing. If you choose to close the message, the badge disappears. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably forget you had a text to reply to within about 5 minutes.
BiteSMS is a wonderful app that has been available to the jailbreak community for quite some time. It’s constantly being updated with new features and enhancements. It has replaced the default message app on my iPhone until Apple can learn how to implement text management in a more efficient way. I can create gestures in order to bring up a quick compose screen. It simply pops up, I fire out my text, and it disappears, never interrupting what I was doing beforehand.
Quick reply is also a much needed feature Apple needs to implement. Bite simply brings up a keyboard, you type in your reply, click send, and away your text goes in the background. Leaving you to continue doing what you were doing before, uninterrupted. Bite also has ways you can manage what dismissing a text does. If you’d like the badge to stay so you remember you have an unread message still lurking around, you can choose to use that feature. Setup on applications like Bite can be a bit daunting so this is one I’d really enjoy seeing Apple refine into an easy to use, beautiful enhancement.
4. Landscape Rotation
I know the iPhone is smaller than the iPad, but why can’t we landscape rotate? If I’m in a landscape application such as a game and want to bring the multitasking tray up, it’s sideways! I’d be happy with simply landscape multitasking here.
Jailbreak applications like SBRotator allow you to do this and further tweak how you want rotation to behave on your springboard. This isn’t a ground breaking feature, but definitely something I’d like to see Apple throw into iOS 5.0.
5. Theme Store
I know this is a long shot, and probably something we won’t see, but wouldn’t it be nice? We have an App Store, a music store, and a book store available to us. Why not a theme store? Most of the reason I say we won’t see this is because a lot of the file changes that have to happen in order to theme are file changes Apple doesn’t want you making. Alright, how about a compromise? Can I at least change the size of my icons? Shrink is a jailbroken application that allows me to simply change my icon scale. That’s it. I’ve got my page icons sized down so I can see more of my background. I’ve got my dock icons spaced out and a 5th icon dropped in. Stock icons are HUGE. I want a way to make them smaller by default.
6. Quick Toggles
SBSettings has been a god-send since it came out. Being able to turn off Wifi, 3G, or Bluetooth in just 2 gestures is extremely convenient. There’s also several add-ons for airplane mode and anything else you could think of. Digging through the settings panel is annoying.
I live in an area where 3G isn’t readily available. I can go 20 minutes in any direction and have full coverage though. So turning it off in my home area saves battery. Then when I’m out and about, I turn it back on when I need data. Digging through the settings panel becomes annoying, where SBSettings allows me to access these commonly used toggles quickly and easily.
A common settings toggle would be a nice addition to iOS 5.0. Here’s a quick video of SBSettings in action.
7. New Quick Gestures
We all know double-tapping your home button brings up your multitasking tray. If you hold your home button, voice control settings pop up. Tapping your home button once brings up Spotlight search. That’s all great and fun, but Apple has no more buttons to work with. Tactile gestures are so 2005. Apple has a beautiful touchscreen device and the ability to add gesture shortcuts is endless.
Certain jailbreak apps make use of a gesture method called Activator. You can find your activator settings in your settings panel. You can choose any possible gesture you can think of and customize it to perform a certain task. On my iPhone 4, if I hold down on the status bar, my LockInfo information will drop down from anywhere. Whether I’m in an app or just on the springboard, I can see all my e-mails, notifications, and calendar events without ever it interrupting what I’m doing. If I slide my finger up from the bottom of the screen, quick compose for BiteSMS pops up. I can fire away a text and then continue doing what I was doing. Jailbreak developers have been taking advantage of Activator for years, why can’t Apple release an API that will let stock apps do the same?
Some people may argue this will take away from Apple’s stance on ease of use. Well, make it a setting. If users choose not to implement it, they don’t have to. More advanced users will choose to and they’ll be grateful.
8. Changing Fonts
I know this isn’t a life changing feature, but it’s a fun one! Apple has beautiful fonts available under Mac OS X, why not iOS? Most other devices allow you to change your system fonts, it’s time iOS allows us to do the same. I could see font downloads in the App Store becoming a huge success. If Apple doesn’t want to allow developers to create fonts and sell them in the App Store, at least give us a few new fonts to choose from in Settings.
I’m hoping to at least see a few of these Jailbreak features officially implemented in iOS 5. What are your guys’ hopes for iOS 5? Let us know!