Hi, I’m Thom Holwerda and I jailbreak my iPhone. There, I said it. Some suggest all jailbreakers only do it to pirate applications, but those of us familiar with the practice know there’s a whole load of other reasons, the biggest of which is customisation. The iOS isn’t pleasing to look at in my book, and hence, jailbreaking allows me to make my iPhone pretty. Jay ‘saurik’ Freeman, the man behind the Cydia App Store, is going to bring Cydia to the Mac, to bring the kind of customisation options from Cydia to the Mac.
The figures are that about 10% of all iPhones are jailbroken, which amounts to 10 million devices. The Cydia Store is packed with 30000 packages – but they’re not applications; they’re packages that extend the functionality of iOS devices. I have SBSettings installed, which gives me Android-like easy access to on/off switches for various battery-sucking technologies such as wifi and 3G (there’s no 3G in my small hometown) – it’s unforgivable Apple hasn’t implemented this.
I also purchased Notified Pro, which brings an Android-like notification system to iOS, another one of those features Apple simply must implement. It baffles the mind iOS users are still bombarded by annoying modal dialogs. I also installed a very subtle theme which looks a lot better than that boring standard one.
So, Saurik intends to deliver similar extensions to Mac OS X. He started this project before Apple announced its Mac App Store, so it’s not a reaction to it. It’s called Mac Cydia, and at the core is CydiaSubstrate, a replacement for the venerable MobileSubstrate, which runs on both iOS and Mac OS X.
“Just like you can make all these modifications on the iPhone, you can make these same modifications on the desktop,” Freeman told Ars, “Until now, there has never been a way to easily install modifications to the system or third-party applications, as well as keep them updated.”
For instance, developers could fix things Apple has been refused to fix for almost a decade now, probably due to a lack of manpower, such as menubars on more than one monitor, but individual applications can be altered as well.
“For instance, users that have jailbroken iPhones would like to have a modified version of iTunes that does not ask to update iOS when the device is plugged in, since the update might overwrite jailbreak modifications,” Freeman told Ars, “Or perhaps you want to change the frequency that TimeMachine performs backups to something other than the stock settings. CydiaSubstrate makes this possible in an easy way that average users could install and update them.”
A great idea, as far as I’m concerned. Now that I’m using my MacBook Air, I’m reminded of just how cumbersome and clunky Mac OS X can be compared to Windows 7 and Linux (they still haven’t fixed the Finder – either Apple is entirely oblivious to a decade’s worth of complaints, or they’re really short on developers), so an easy way to fix the various issues Apple refuses to fix in Mac OS X would be very welcome indeed.
Mac Cydia will launch in a few weeks.