iPhone Lockscreen - Customized

The urge to customize mass market devices is powerful.

The iOS 6.1 Jailbreak came out a couple weeks back. According to a Forbes interview with Jay Freeman, who administers Cydia, the alternative app store for Jailbroken devices, the Jailbreak has been applied on over 7 million devices.

The customization displayed here can actually be applied without a jailbreak, using software described in this Lifehacker article. A jailbreak makes it a bit easier, and changing the name or logo of your carrier is actually about the simplest, tiniest thing you might do with a jailbroken device.

In a way I can’t really explain though, these customizations are incredibly powerful. For nerds like me, your choice of computing platforms and devices wind up being expressions of personality and identity. There are now hundreds of millions of iOS devices out there. Silly customizations like this tell me that this device is mine. For some reason, I just hated seeing my carrier’s name there, on every screen, every time I looked at my phone. The device is mine. Not theirs. Seeing my name on every screen attaches me to the device at some kind of deeper level.

Again, it’s somewhat silly, and irrational, but it is powerful. It binds me to the device and makes me less likely to switch platforms. But on the other hand, the desire to customize is strong (to the tune of 7 million jailbreaks). It might be strong enough to drive some users to other platforms over the long term.