Finding good themes for a jailbroken iPhone has never been that easy. Themes are usually posted by designers on forums and portfolio websites, and it can be difficult for the average jailbreaker to discover all of the great themes that are out there.
Cydia recently added the “Theme Center,” which aims to help users find the plethora of Winterboard themes for jailbroken iDevices. The Theme Center is a great addition to Cydia, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
“Theme It” is a new jailbreak app that aims to be the “Theme Store you’ve been waiting for.” It does look very promising…
At first glance, Theme It automatically wins in the looks department. Few jailbreak interfaces look this good. Since themes are aesthetically driven, you can’t undermine the importance of presenting themes to the user in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Theme It’s official description,
“Theme it is a simple, well organised application to view, download and install great themes on your iDevice. With an amazing interface that gives you quick access to the content you really want, there’s no time wasted searching for good themes, it’s all there accessible in a few touches.
Very intuitive and with simple options to configure the application just the way YOU want it, Theme it makes discovering new themes and artists an enjoyable moment.”
The goal of Theme It is not to have the largest collection of themes. Instead, the Theme It catalog will be curated (just like the Cydia Theme Center) and only contain the best themes available.
Theme It is more than just a Cydia app. The Theme It website has all the features of the app (minus the actual theme installing) so that you can “extend your theme browsing adventure.”
Your Theme It account can be managed on the website as well as the app. As you browse and explore themes on the web, you can add them to your registered iDevice’s queue to install next time you open the Theme It app.
Theme It has all the bells and whistles. ReadWriteWeb explains the biggest advantage of the new service,
“In Theme It, however, speed is one of the service’s main goals. It plans to offer a “fast and reactive interface,” with short load times and “almost instant access to the content you want,” reads the site’s homepage.
The app store will also feature designer bios, extensive theme details, customization options (e.g. you can turn email notifications on or off, enable or disable previews, etc.) and more.”
The service really goes the extra mile in almost every way. Even the technical description for theme installing is extensive and done well. I’ve never seen such an elegant and robust theme platform for the jailbreak scene.
Theme It solves the cumbersome process of tapping individual themes in Cydia, waiting for everything to load, tapping into each section to see screenshots, and waiting for everything to load, again. “Browsing” themes in Cydia is essentially a lot of loading time with little actual browsing time. Theme It is the remedy for that problem.
Also, Theme It is a free service. Don’t let this catch you off guard. Currently, there are only paid themes available, but the develepors have said that free themes will make their way into the catalog. Most of the high quality, extensive themes will likely remain paid. A “Theme It for iPad” may also be in the works.
To install Theme It on your iPhone, launch Cydia and go to the “Manage” tab in the menu. Add this source: “http://www.themeitapp.com/repo”
What does Theme It mean for the Cydia Theme Center? Apparently there’s been some drama between Cydia’s saurik and the Theme It team.
A letter from Theme It regarding the scuffle with Cydia,
“Note to all iDevice Jailbreakers and people interested in Theme it:
Well as it was to be expected Saurik/Jay Freeman (maker of Cydia) doesn’t seem to appreciate our venue in “his” community. He wrote me an email, asking us to ‘back-down’ and stop our much awaited project hiding behind the fact that competition is bad… Sure competition isn’t good to someone trying to keep his monopoly and have the ability to decide how everything should or should not evolve. But we’re all aware that competition is a great thing for the end user and everyone else for that matter, it forces the different parties to do better all the time for the real good of the community. Funny enough, he suddenly seems to have become very “available” since the announcement of Theme it went public ; ) getting in contact with the different repositories, theme creators, etc.
But “back-stabbing” is the main intention here, making sure all the people getting involved with us will turn their backs on us (I’m forced to admit that they don’t really have much choice since he’s currently the only one pulling all the strings) For instance we “mysteriously lost” our partner repository (that had signed a partnership agreement with us) and i’ve heard that he’s even “taking the time” to contact different theme creators directly as well to try and make sure they don’t follow us in this adventure… how low is that !? This clearly shows one thing; he feels quite threatened of what we’re coming out with, he doesn’t want to loose money and potentially more… his monopoly.”
Now, we just wanted to let everyone know that Theme it is being released in January and that we’ll be glad to count you in. There is no ‘sides to choose’ here, we just want to offer a different solution to users, theme creators and everyone else interested. Keep in mind that Theme it is currently oriented to deal with themes because that’s where we noticed there was a real need to do something but the architecture is fully compatible to have let’s say : App it come along later for software developers, etc…
Obviously we’ll be looking for the best way to get distributed (repository and/or jailbreak utilities) now that most doors have been closed thanks to Saurik’s requests/pressure, so if you’re interested feel free to get in touch with us via our website, twitter (@themeit_app) or by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
This message has two main purposes: One is to let everyone know Saurik/Jay Freeman’s ways and how he keeps trying to block any competition to keep a global hold on “the community”. Two is to let people know that we hate to be dictated what we should or should not do and that his low-ways of doing can only motivate us even more to make a great, fresh, new solution for everyone to enjoy.
I hope you’ll understand that this is REALLY for the best of “the community” and it’s time users, theme creators and repositories have other options to choose from.
There is no way we’re letting such a great and much awaited idea get blocked by a “wannabe god”…
Gab & Co.”
This message is pretty important because it addresses division that is taking place in the jailbreak community. Hopefully any misunderstanding and drama can be worked out between saurik and the Theme It team. Competition is a good thing; the jailbreak community proves that to Apple every day.
What do you think about Theme It? Do you think saurik was right to react in the way that he did?