Given that the last two posts around here were about the iPhone and icons, you knew what was coming next, didn’t you? The latest member of the Chalkwork family is a mini-set of 16 icons built specifically for the iPhone UI. Once installed, your iPhone looks like this. Oh, and did I mention they’re free?
Installation is a little tricky. You need to have AppTapp Installer and an FTP program. It’s a bit of manual file replacement, but nothing the audience of this site can’t handle. Full detailed instructions are included in the ZIP file along with the icons.
During the creation of this set, I was looking at Apple’s default icons closer than I previously had. They seem to be making a half-hearted attempt to use colour as an indication of the phone’s functions. Blue signifies an application that uses wireless data; Mail, Safari, Stocks, and Weather. Green means an application that uses mobile phone-specific features; Phone and Text. Orange is audio and video; iPod and possibly YouTube. And photo-realism means the icon either doesn’t do any of those, or isn’t categorized as doing just one.
It’s inconsistent enough that it obviously isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it also seems a bit too deliberate to be random chance. Just an interesting observation, and I decided not to follow it too closely, but I did make a few token efforts with the SMS and Phone icons in particular.
So, two questions are bound to come up. First, why not make these a SummerBoard theme? Maybe one day. As near as I can tell though, today there’s very little way to provide credit to the designer of a theme. Right now it comes in the form of the theme’s name, “Chalkwork”, and the short text description accompanying it (which appears to be simply “made by X”). Given the growing list of themes already available, that’s just enough to ensure each individual one gets lost in the crowd. I’d prefer a way to grab the package directly from this site, which would obviously have the added benefit of more exposure for the rest of the Chalkwork family. I don’t think that’s so unreasonable. I’ll keep on eye on how Summerboard themes develop, and if a method of putting more emphasis on the designer emerges, I’ll give it a go.
And the biggie, what problems does all this custom iPhone hacking get you into? There are two separate issues here: installing custom software or hacking the phone in any way (which this icon set and the instructions to get it on your phone fall under), and actually unlocking the iPhone. With the former, you essentially void your warranty… if Apple catches you doing it. You may be able to get away with it if you’re able to restore your phone to factory state before bringing it in for service. But it’s a risk you need to be aware of if you do anything to your iPhone beyond officially Apple-approved interaction.
And for those who are interested in the separate issue of unlocking for use on a carrier other than AT&T, here’s a mini follow-up to my past post on the issue. Emerging news suggests that the firmware update coming later this week will cause serious problems for unlocked phones. Now to be fair, it seems as if it’s more of a by-product of what the update will do, rather than proactive unlock retaliation from Apple.
The iPhone dev team who created the unlock in the first place is on it, they’re promising a way to re-lock the phone shortly, followed by a post-update re-unlock. The long and the short of it is, don’t update your firmware when the new release comes out, give it a week or two, and watch what the iPhone dev team does to make sure you don’t end up with a useless iPhone. Which is just repeating what I said in the previous post.
Thanks to a nudge from Thomas Finley who packaged one up for me, I realized it’s stupidly easy to create a SummerBoard theme after all, and so v1.01 now comes with a package you can drop into your SummerBoard themes directory. Still not as nice as tapping your way to a theme directly from the iPhone, but my concerns about proper credit remain. Bonus: now comes with a dock graphic and (quickly whipped together not very inspired) wallpaper. Look for another update that smoothes these over a little more.