Will We See Third-Party Widgets in iOS 7?

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“Widgets” have always been a much-requested feature of iOS. Whether you think they should come in the form of “live-tile” home screen icons, usable mini-apps within Notification Center, or something else altogether, it’s widely debated whether such a feature would be a welcome addition. Perhaps they would cause the OS to feel cluttered, or maybe you just prefer simplicity. Whatever the case, they are definitely something that we may see implemented somehow in future iterations of Apple’s mobile operating system.

What’s interesting though, is that iOS already has something that Apple calls “widgets.” If you have a quick look over at Settings > Notifications you will find three options that are apart of Notification Center — the share widget, the weather widget, and the stocks widget. Tapping any of these options will allow you to turn on or off these widgets. But what if Apple extended this feature to allow developers to add their own single-function widgets to Notification Center? (more…)

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Custom Widgets in Notification Center, UISettings, and more

Two days ago, I showed off a basic third-party widget that a jailbroken developer Will Homer was able to create in Notification Center. The custom widget displayed the famous phrase “hello world,” and nothing else. Although it was simple, I also emphasized the importance of this early tweak and how it would certainly lead to bigger and better things. Well, that didn’t take long. UISettings is a new tweak that was released in Cydia yesterday, for free, that integrates a third-party task bar into the Notification Center in iOS 5. The tweak, designed by Italian developer qwertyoruiop, allows you to toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on or off, respring your device, adjust brightness, and more; it’s essentially the popular SBSettings tweak built right into Notification Center. It’s easy to install for anyone that is running iOS 5 beta. Here’s the steps required to install UISettings, assuming that your device is already jailbroken:

  • Step 1: In Cydia, add the repository “http://qwertyoruiop.com/beta” — this is a beta repository, so you may experience difficulties and might have to try again later. You can also try adding the alternative repository “http://qwertyoruiop.com/repo2″
  • Step 2: Install the UISettings-iOS5 package
  • Step 3: A subsequent respring might be required for the tweak to work properly

Once installed, your Notification Center should look like the picture in the top right of this post. While this is certainly great, it gets even better. Many other developers have taken it upon themselves to design custom themes for UISettings that enhance this tweak even further. Others have simply gone out of their way to create entirely different things—even the popular Nyan Cat meme. iOS developer GreySyntax showed off a sneak preview on Twitter today of what he calls SpringPrefs, seen below (on the far left). This tweak displays things such as your device’s Wi-Fi address, available memory, and uptime.

From left to right: GreySyntax’s SpringPrefs, Nyan Cat, Generic UISettings, Themed UISettings

After the break, we’ll outline the steps required to install the themed UISettings on the far right above.

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Orientation Lock + Widgets in OS 4?

So check this out: 9to5mac.com has managed to download the Beta 3 of iPhone 4.0 (very speedy internet connection… mine’s only at half way!) and they’ve found this.

If you flick to the furthest left on the multitask bar, you’re greeted with these new features.

A static iPod icon (the orange one) for quick access to your iPod app if it’s not already in your standard dock.

Music controls. Play/Pause, Next, Previous – You won’t even have to launch into the iPod app to control the basics anymore.

And finally, a button which looks to be Orientation Lock. The icon is identical to the one which appears when you flick the lock switch on the iPad, and it does the same job here – if you rotate, the screen doesn’t! Finally can check emails in bed without having to lie awkwardly!

But what does this mean for potential future widgets? Could this be customisable and maybe we could add icons which control “Power Off” or “Close all open apps”? I’m thinking SBSettings here!

What do you guys think? More images after the jump.

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SmartScreen Released!

SmartScreen has been in the pipeline for a while. Another lock screen app… but this one’s a lot different. It gives you more functionality in the form of widgets (similar to a Mac dashboard) – and some very useful system controls on your lock screen too (turn off Wifi, Edge, iPod Controls and more).

The app comes in two varieties: Lite and Full. Full is $5 and comes with everything they boast on their website. The lite version limits you to using a maximum of 3 widgets, and you also lose:

  • Controls Screen
  • “iPod Shake to Shuffle” on “Lock” screen
  • Show/hide and preview the widget
  • Updates with new features

But it’s always nice to have a free demo before you fork out $5 for the real thing!

So open your APT app and enter source: “http://apt.media-phone.ch” to be able to download it straight away!

And for all you devs, start developing your own SmartScreen widgets with the SDK.

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