Zephyr introduces a minor improvement for Apple’s somewhat-crippled multitasking interface, but doesn’t change enough to really entirely make it foreign. With this design aspect, the new interface doesn’t take time to adjust to, nor are there too many settings to adjust. Essentially, it takes all of the iPad’s gesture controls, reduces it down to one finger, and activates them from the edges. On a mobile device like the iPod or iPhone, this is a blessing. With simple flicks from the left and right edges of the screen, you can scroll through open windows. Flicking upward will reveal your multitasking bar. The act of opening your multitasking bar will no longer lead to home button abuse.
The tweak has very little to set up making it really easy to just use and enjoy.
There are some minor problems, however, one of which is that there is zero landscape support. This is a real killer when you’re browsing an app in landscape and wish to switch with a flick, or even view your multitasking bar with an upward swipe.
There really aren’t any graphics involved with it, what really remains are the animations that are used along with the entirely new interface as a whole. Everything flows very smoothly and doesn’t tax the hardware on the current gen iPods, which turns to even better performance on current gen iPhones. Everything is smooth and just looks beautiful on the device. I really have no complaints with the way it looks while functioning, but the interface does run into a couple problems.
The animations are liquid smooth, I do have to hand it to Chpwn, what works, works well.
However, one main problem exists with the app switcher. When activating from the home screen with a folder open, after the switcher shows up, the user is forced to wait for the folder to close. Essentially, it just feels like the entire device stalls for a second which can quickly become annoying if you have fast fingers like the active iDevice users we have here.
Another problem I ran into was that the tweak really doesn’t read off the edge coming in. Instead, any swipe near the edge will activate these actions. When web browsing on Safari (or using another app that required scrolling), it was irritating to switch between apps or end up showing the switcher instead. Although the multi-finger options help relieve this problem a bit, it can still be a hassle since activating with 1 finger still poses to be an easier feat compared to 2 or more fingers. A better solution is to simple just make the activation area smaller similar to how Activator is set up.
Surfing the web can be fun, but can be annoying when the app gets in the way.
The tweak is really small, but does pack some reuse value. Although there are apps that can do the switcher tweak already for free, there is nothing that will allow you to swipe between your open apps as fluidly as Zephyr does. For any avid multitasker, this is definitely an app that you’ll keep coming back to. However, the lack of landscape support can cripple this tweak. Another note to add is that this tweak can cause problems in other tweaks like SBRotator making it display apps in an unusable layout.
This tweak does cause a small bug with SBRotator which renders it (SBRotator) useless.
Available for three dollars on the BigBoss repo, you’re really paying for one tweak as the other half of the tweak, the app switcher, can already be configured in Activator. In activator, however, it’s compatible with landscape as well as portrait. However, Zephyr does look smoother in the way it’s executed. In essence, you’re just paying for the convenience of swiping between your apps without the app switcher and smoother animations. For three dollars, I don’t see this worth that price at all. The lack of landscape at the moment adds on a larger burden, and the fact that this tweak won’t play well with some other tweaks doesn’t help as well. Overall, you do pay for a good interface and speed if you’re multitasking, so there is some value to it. However, Zephyr is far from being a perfect solution to Apple’s multitasking. Maybe in a few updates, but not now.
Chpwn has come up with a great idea here, and I do applaud him for it. I can definitely see Zephyr becoming worth the price so long as the main problems are dealt with, landscape support and the speed of the animation with folders open. As for the lack of support for other tweaks, I see the other developers fixing this and not Chpwn. The idea was great; I love it and see it going somewhere far. However, in the current form, it really isn’t ready yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to see this little bird spread its wings and soar to great heights, it just needs some nourishment.