I purchased my first smartphone about 4 years ago, it was an Apple iPhone 3GS. I turned into the “there’s an app for that” guy and spent weeks finding the best apps for everything I wanted to accomplish with my phone. Before long I learned about jailbreaking and, of course, had to give it a shot. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the iPhone, giving features that would not be supported by Apple until 2-3 generations later, or in some cases never at all. This isn’t a post about jailbreaking, so I won’t go into detail, but multi-tasking, copy & paste, and the notification center were just a few critical features that were available well before Apple rolled them into iOS.
When iPhone 4 was released I refused to buy one until it was possible to jailbreak it. The same thing happened with the release of the 4s. While many Apple fans waited in line, I sat online scouring jailbreak websites waiting for a compatible jailbreak to become available.
I was happy with my jailbroken iPhone 4s, but started seeing more and more phones around with much larger screens. The iPhone 5 was going to be the answer to the small screen problem, but when it was officially announced, I took one look at the new specs and two days later bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S3.
As a photographer, I am always on the lookout for the next great photo opportunity, but I don’t always have my gear with me. Having an SLR with multiple lenses is the best choice for quality and flexibility, but not when it comes to convenience. I have considered purchasing a small point-and-shoot camera that I could always carry with me, but never got around to it. The 3 megapixel camera on the iPhone 3GS just didn’t cut it, but the iPhone 4 steps up it’s game with 5 megapixels, a built-in LED flash, and even an HDR (high dynamic range) mode. Suddenly, the point an shoot camera that I have always wanted is in my pocket, ready to shoot at all times.
We know the hardware is up to par, but as usual, Apple put only the most basic features into it’s native camera app. Luckily, there are some pretty nice camera apps available in the app store, and one that was recently pulled from the store due to a violation of Apple’s crazy requirements, which I will explain later.
First, lets talk about the built in camera app. Just the basics here. Buttons across the top allow you to turn the flash on or off, enable HDR, and flip to the forward facing camera. Tap anywhere else on the screen to focus and set metering. Once focus is achieved, a zoom slider will appear at the bottom of the screen. And below that is access to your camera roll, the shutter button, and the video switch.
I’m having a mental block on writing about photography, so I thought I would branch out to another subject that I have become well versed in. Jailbreaking. Simply stated, Jailbreaking your phone gives you the ability to run software that hasn’t been approved by Apple. There are already plenty of tutorials on the web with detailed instructions on jailbreaking, so I won’t go into details.
Developers who aren’t stifled by Apple’s many restrictive rules are free to add some extremely useful features to their software that would have otherwise been rejected by Apple. Everything I am going to talk about is available the Cydia, which is essentially the underground App Store.
I recently upgraded from a jailbroken iPhone 3Gs to the new iPhone 4 and the 3 days living with the stock iOS4 were almost torturous. It was only after reverting back to the plain vanilla OS, that I realized how much I depended on my jailbreak software.
Two of the most talked about features of the brand new iOS 4, are multitasking and the ability to organize apps into folders. I have been using these features since the day I jailbroke my 3GS. So, now that Apple has those to things covered, what are the essential Jailbreak apps that I just couldn’t live without?
1. SBSettings – Short for Springboard Settings. This app gives you quick access to some commonly used phone settings. With one swipe of your finger, I window slides down from the top of your screen, giving you easy access to things like screen brightness, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, location services, and just about anything else you want. Let’s say I’m playing a game and decide that I want to conserve battery power by turning off Bluetooth and 3G, and lowering my screen brightness. These are the steps required:
Press home to exit current app
Go into settings (my settings icon is in a folder, so it takes two steps)
Tap “brightness” and adjust slider
Tap “settings” to go back
Tap the toggle button to turn off bluetooth
Tap “general” to go back
Tap toggle button to disable 3G
Push home to exit settings
Re-launch your game
Swipe across status bar to open SBSettings
Tap “brightness” and adjust slider
Tap close button
Tap 3G button
Tap Bluetooth button
Press home or tap status bar to close SBSettings and return to your game