As I sit in the airport terminal at 9:30 PM, I get to reflect on the whirlwind that has been the last 30 hours. I landed in San Francisco last night around 6:00 PM and hit the ground running. The blistering break-neck speed of the last day has made it a little difficult for me to register what just happened, but the down time in the Airport—the first real down time I’ve had in a couple of days—allows me to slowly digest what just occurred.
It’s been surreal. Meeting (and interviewing) some of my favorite jailbreak developers—creators of some of the tools and tweaks that I use on a daily basis on my iPhone. Mingling with fans, listening to intriguing talks, and finally meeting Jim Gresham and Sebastien Page, have all been highlights of my visit.
But when it comes to actual jailbreak releases, there has been one run-away highlight of this trip. Surenix—doing his best Steve Jobs impression—announced Auki —a brand new quick reply and quick compose tweak for the iPhone that he designed.
Developed by well-known tweak developer Bensge, Auki prides itself on feeling native and devoid of unnecessary features and bloat. Does it succeed in its lofty ambitions of making you forget about tweaks like Couria, Messages+, and biteSMS? Check inside for the full video first-look.
Please note that this video was shot and recorded at WWJC, hence, you may hear background noise (clapping) because this was created during Surenix’s presentation.
Auki allows you to invoke a quick compose interface by means of an Activator gesture, or by using a swipe down gesture while within Notification Center. Once the quick compose interface is visible on screen, users can begin typing a contact’s name and Auki will dynamically filter through your list of contacts until you come upon the target name.
Multiple names can be added to the recipient field simply by tapping on the field and typing additional names. Unfortunately, deleting recipients isn’t as easy, as you’ll need to cancel out the quick compose window and re-invoke it in order to start over from scratch.
The text field where you type a message is dynamic as well, in that it resizes in order to fit the amount of text that you type. You can quickly insert a recently snapped photo, take a picture, or insert a photo from your photo library by means of the camera icon towards the left of the text input field.
Invoking Auki via Notification Center
At the bottom of the quick compose window lies three buttons—cancel, open and send. The cancel button closes out of the quick compose interface without sending the message. Open allows you to open the stock Messages app, and Auki is smart enough to open to the conversation thread of the contact in the recipient field. Auki won’t carry over any text that you’ve started typing in the quick compose interface to the full Messages app, so be aware that you will lose any unsent text if you open the full interface.
The last button on the Auki quick compose interface is its most important—the send button. The send button’s color will reflect the type of message that you will send—SMS text or iMessage. The green color pertains to text messages, and blue pertains to iMessage.
Quick replies are initiated directly from banner notifications or from the Lock screen or Notification Center. You’ll notice a blue reply button on the far-right side of the banner notification, which, when tapped, reveals Auki’s quick reply interface.
The quick reply interface closely resembles the quick compose interface. The main difference between the two is that quick reply doesn’t allow you to modify recipient. Quick reply recipients are pre-populated, and the send button that normally appears on the quick compose window has been changed to a reply button.
There is another feature with quick reply that astute observers will notice. Beneath the name of the contact you’re replying to rests the contact info used by the sender. This contact info can be an email address, in the case of iMessage, or a phone number, which is useful for gaining additional context of a conversation.
The third and final big feature of Auki is the silent mode. Silent mode can be turned on for any conversation simply by swiping the conversation thread, and tapping the silent button that lies next to the delete button.
Silent mode allows users to suppress alert sounds, notification banners and vibration. Silent mode also activates something that has been dubbed stealth mode. Stealth mode disables the read receipts and now-typing indicator normally present when replying to messages.
Auki is opinionated software, meaning that that Surenix and Bensge have created it with their vision in mind and don’t allow users to customize the experience. In fact, the tweak doesn’t feature a preference panel in the Settings app at all. While I don’t mind this, and I actually find it to be refreshing, some users may understandably not agree with this approach.
Fans of biteSMS or other Messages app related jailbreak tweaks may find Auki to be a bit limiting and devoid of some of the features that other full-featured tweaks have. However, Auki wasn’t created as a do-everything Messages app replacement; it was created to provide simple and concise quick reply that felt native and I think that it accomplishes this fairly well.
Does it have room for improvement? Of course. It’s a 1.0 release. For example, I’m hoping that a future update will allow users to attach media to outgoing texts while in landscape mode. It would also be nice to include basic preferences, such as a kill switch for disabling the tweak.
If you’re a huge biteSMS fan who loves its feature-set, then I don’t see Auki pulling you away. But if you’re someone who wants a lightweight implementation of quick reply and quick compose, something that feels as if it could have been natively included, then Auki is worthy of your consideration.
Auki is available right now from Cydia’s BigBoss repo for $3.99. What do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.