The Cydia Store shopping experience

by Milind Alvares

The Cydia Store shopping experience

by Milind Alvares on March 9, 2009

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cydia-storeAs you might be knowing, the previously announced Cydia Store is now live and active. Sure it currently sells just a single app, but it has taken a huge leap forward in the jailbreak community. So how then is the shopping experience with the Cydia Store? Will the Cydia Store pose a thread to Apple’s business at the App Store, or will it just please a few geeks who have already hacked their iPhones?

The Cydia Experience

Launching the Cydia app shows you the home screen. This is of course the worst designed screen I have ever seen, with blue text, different sized boxes, and a generally ‘hacker’ feeling. “Cyntact: First Paid Package” is right there, waiting to be tapped on.

The Cyntact package details show a prominent yellow “Purchase” button, with the price. Besides that the page itself is riddled with all kinds of details. Instead of having the app description at the top, it is right at the bottom (with bad typography no less). Let’s just say the presentation could use a facelift.

cydia-amazon1Tapping purchase takes you to the login page, which can be linked to either your facebook or google account. That way when you next jailbreak you iPhone, your paid apps come along for the ride. I for some reason could not get connected on facebook, but Google went through smoothly. After that, you get to choose your upper limit for security reasons. I set mine to $10.

The Cydia Store supports Amazon payments only for now, although Saurik mentions that PayPal is coming in about a week’s time. Currently, there are two options there. One is Pay Now, and the other is Pay Now – keep information on file. Don’t know what benefits the second option offers, but I tapped it anyway. Logged into my Amazon account, and the payment was done without a hitch.

Using Amazon payments I did not have to enter my credit card details, but I still had no way of knowing whether the site was authentic or not. I’m trusting the source because I know who it is, but hopefully there will be some indication as to whether information is passed on over a secure connection.

The Cyntact App

cyntact2As for the Cyntact app, it is quite a nice one. It basically adds contact pictures next to their names in the contacts list. This is done without taking up any extra space, and there doesn’t seem to be any performance hit. Worth the $1 I’d say. I’m also pleased that it is $1 and not the tricky $0.99 pricetag policy that the App Store has.

Will the Cydia Store be a success? Surely. There are many who have a jailbroken iPhone, and the relatively easy way (if you can get past the horrible UI designs) of purchasing hacked apps will certainly make some people rich. Besides, the Cydia Store will have far fewer apps which means it will be easier to have a glance at them all. This will result in a higher number of puchases-per-app. Will the Cydia Store pose a threat to Apple? Not in any measurable way, no. If the App Store already has an app, there’s no chance of anyone purchasing that same functionality using the Cydia Store.

So what’s your take on this? Have you bought the first ever Cydia Store app or have you not even jailbroken you iPhone yet?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Imagine Engine

It’s unfortunate we need to jailbreak to have features that competitors offer but Apple is unable to provide or unwilling to allow in the App Store. Features such as copy/paste, video recording, tethering, etc are some of the ones I use on an almost daily basis. So I welcome the option to pay for useful apps that developers worked long and hard on even if only through Cydia. I already paid for iPhoneModem which required me to pay through the developer website but now having this payment ability through the Cydia installer app will streamline the payment process when purchasing additional apps. I’m surprised the Cydia developer went first with Amazon’s payment system before opting for the widely used PayPal payment system. I don’t know anyone here in Canada that uses Amazon.



My only gripe about Cydia is a wait time I’ve to go through every time I launch the app. Sure, it has to gather the data from their servers, but it’s still taking my time. And the app does this every single time.

That said, I do welcome the integrated payment process. I’m sure the apps that are going paid next are a video recording app, better SMS management (BiteSMS?) and Clippy.



Six complete restores in my six days jailbroken took all of the luster out of jailbroken apps, which were surprisingly limited. Don’t get me wrong, customizing my look rocked. Double-tap searching was cool. But seeing the Steve Jobs speaking German or whatever logo every day was not.



Well, if that’s your only gripe, you can choose to have the original logos left untouched.



Preshit has a good point about the time it takes to load Cydia whilst it accesses all the background servers.

I find it frustrating at the amount of ‘themes’ , ‘wallpapers’ and ‘ringtones’ that are downloaded each time.

Cydia is brialliant, but just wish the user had the option to filter out all the rubbish. Would speed up the time it takes to open Cydia.


Jay Freeman (saurik)

I would appreciate more constructive criticism about my typography. :( Near as I can tell the only thing to really be bothered with is that it is centered… the spacing is otherwise quite carefully chosen in that description box.

As for the home page: the blue text is a hyperlink. Links are pretty much always blue on the Internet. Apple uses a weird blueish gray: check out the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions link at the bottom of the search page in the iTunes application. Would that be better? They use the strong blue color, though, on that same page, for things that they usually use black for, so its not like there’s any standardization there, and its not like blue is a bad choice.

The boxes are only ever different sizes if their content is of different sizes, which in turn only happens if they contain text in the form of paragraphs. Really, the sizes and shapes of my interface element are even more consistent than Apple’s, which are always a pixel different above and below because they use an odd height for their table cells even though they use an even height for their font (sloppy)… they also tend to have randomly rearranged content strewn through their applications… the iTunes application in particular has very little consistency.

The “and keep your information on file.” button /does/ suck, I will definitely say that… that thing is really bad and I haven’t had time to improve it at all ;(. That wasn’t mentioned in the critique, though.



i want to use cydia to watch movies on the web but sarfir block them . want to download your app but scared to try i read about iphone freeze up or turning off and not restarted. i believe in what you doing is good and not to hurt anyone just want to be sure


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