Is it really Apple's way or the highway? It depends on how far you're willing to go in tweaking your iPhone or iPad.
You could tread the path that Steve Jobs created like one of the Apple faithful, and be content with the lack of Flash support, the locked down file system and the minimal customisation options for the user interface. Or you could take charge of the device you paid good money for and hack its functionality to best suit your needs and usage patterns.
Jailbreak hacks have been around since the iPhone first came out, and it's worth noting that many of them have since found their way into the official Apple software. Third party apps, MMS, video recording, wi-fi hotspot functionality and pull-down notifications - all of these features were available on jailbroken iPhones first before Apple incorporated them into iOS.
As advanced as the latest iOS 5.1 operating system is, there are still lots of things you can do on other mobile platforms that aren't possible on an Apple mobile device. The good news is that you don't necessarily need a jailbroken iPhone or iPad to enable those features - although most of the hacks do require jailbreaking. The bad news is that if you've updated to iOS 5.1, you'll have to wait until a new jailbreak is released before you can take advantage of the following jailbreak hacks.
1. Skyfire WebBrowser
Developer: Skyfire Labs
We won't get into the whole debate as to whether Flash playback belongs on a mobile device or not. Suffice to say that there are still heaps of websites out there that have embedded Flash content, and there's no way to view it on an iOS device unless you install the Skyfire web browser. There are a few limitations: it only supports Flash videos, so you're out of luck when it comes to Flash apps, animations and games, and it doesn't work on all websites.
2. Icon Project
Icon Project unlocks your homescreen so you can add shortcuts to particular contacts and enable/disable certain system settings. Out of the box, it lets you create custom shortcuts to call, SMS/MMS, email, FaceTime or Skype people in your addressbook, and if you visit http://brdrck.me/settings, you can install shortcuts to system settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Brightness and Hotspot. The only caveat is that it doesn't work on the latest iOS 5.1 software.
Developer: Dan Leehr
iPhones and iPads may be a part of the post PC era, but you still can't download files directly from the Safari browser like you can on a desktop or laptop. This is where Filer comes to the rescue, acting as the middle man between the browser and your iPhone/iPad for downloading files. After you've installed Filer, simply press and hold on the link to the file you want to download and select the "Copy" option. Open Filer, and the link you just copied will be in the Get Link field. All you need to do, then, is press Download, and Filer will download that file to a special folder on your iPhone/iPad, which you can then open using any other app.
Developer: Andrew Liu
Tired of looking at the same old 4 x 4 grid of icons on your iPhone's homescreen (or 5 x 4, in the case of the iPad)? We don't blame you - iOS still looks exactly the same as it did when the iPhone first launched. Dreamboard enables you to completely skin the iOS user interface using downloadable themes. You can make it look like a Samsung Galaxy S II, Windows Phone, or a Windows 8 computer, and also choose from dozens of other custom designs.
Developer: Manuel Gebele
One of the most annoying things about iOS is that you have to do so much tapping just to access basic settings like Wi-Fi. BBSettings is a plug-in that adds a bunch of useful shortcuts to the notification centre for easy access. The shortcuts are organised by tabs: you can add shortcuts to your favourite apps, see running apps and system info, access toggles for settings like screen rotation, airplane mode, 3G and mute, and adjust screen brightness and volume. To download BBSettings, you'll need to add the following repo to Cydia: cydia.pwndevteam.com
AssistantExtensions makes Siri far more useful by adding extra functionality. Once it's installed, you can use Siri to launch apps, toggle system settings, and update your Twitter status. You can also download plug-ins that work with AssistantExtensions to expand Siri's functionality even further. These include an app that will identify the song that's playing and display the matching lyrics, and an app that can translate spoken words or phrases to over 35 different languages.
7. 3G Unrestrictor 5
Developer: Kim Streich
Apple puts restrictions on what you can do with your own 3G data: you can't make FaceTime calls, you can't watch YouTube video streams in high definition, and you can't download apps or videos that are larger than 50MB. 3G Unrestrictor removes these limitations by tricking your iPhone into thinking it's connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Developer: Delicious Inc
Texting power users will love all the extra features in BiteSMS. It looks and works exactly like the iOS Messages app, only it comes with lots more options like a quick reply pop-up window, a quick compose button in the notification centre pull-down, and contact pictures in the list view. If you have to pay per SMS on your mobile plan, you can also bypass your carrier and purchase credits for sending messages anywhere in the world for 12c each.
Developer: H Samara & N Bassen
It's silly that you can't attach files to an email directly from the Mail app in iOS. AnyAttach enables this functionality, letting you add as many attachments in whatever file format you like. Adding photos and videos is easy, as AnyAttach opens the Photos browser. For other files, you'll need to know exactly where they're stored on your iPhone, which isn't necessarily easy given iOS's complex file structure. AnyAttach also has Dropbox integration, so you can access your Dropbox directly from the Mail app and attach any files that are stored there.
10. Springtomize 2
Springtomize 2 is a powerful utility that enables you to make dozens of changes to the iOS user interface. You can add cool animations (including an old-school flicker whenever you put your iPhone/iPad to sleep), add "hidden" features to iOS like a panorama function in Camera, customise the number of icons on the homescreen, and change the system font, among other things.