In Apple's next mobile operating system iOS 5, there are now integrated widgets for core apps like stocks and weather available in the operating system's new Notifications Center. This Android-like drop-down list of updates, accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen, alerts you to things like new emails, missed calls, voicemails and other updates from your installed apps.
But developers hoping to include their own widget-like notifications in the center were disappointed to find out that their only option was for text-based updates. However, thanks to a hack from developer Will Homer, there is now a way for jailbroken phones to run third-party widgets within the Notifications Center. Some of the first examples of these widgets are already out, and are ready for testing.
Hacking the Notifications Center in iOS 5
Homer, who goes by @WillFour20 on Twitter, tweeted a proof-of-concept based on his hack last week, showing a simple "Hello World" widget, showing the text . He has also posted templates for creating these notification center widgets online at GitHub for other developers to access.
One of the first widgets to take advantage of this hack has now been released. This tweak, created by a 14-year old Italian developer known as qwertyoruiop, allows you access to basic settings, without having to launch the Settings app and delve into System Preferences. This is similar to the functionality provided by SBSettings, a popular jailbreak app that allowed for quick access to commonly used functions.
According to the blog RedmondPie, this widget lets you turn various functions off or on, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, plus adjust the brightness and volume, and reboot, power off or "re-spring" the phone (refreshing the homescreen after applying jailbreak tweaks or themes).
Note: RedmondPie has installation details here.
Music Center Widget
A second custom widget known as MusicCenter created by developer Aaron C. Wright (@WrightsCS on Twitter) is also on the horizon. This widget will show you what song is currently playing in your Music app, along with the album artwork. Wright says additional features like "Tap to Tweet," music controls and other track information like rating and duration will come in later versions. This widget is not yet available for download.
With iOS 5, Apple has taken great pains to remove many of the temptations that once intrigued the jailbreaking community, from Wi-Fi sync options via iCloud to the pull-down notifications list itself and more. But with these custom widgets, jailbreakers looking for a richer experience than what Apple allows for out of the box will once again find a reason to hack their phones.