by Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson
When something is new, we want to keep it new forever. Our first new car gets washed daily. Our first home gets coasters under every glass. As time goes by, however, the car doesn’t get washed as often and the table starts to get rings in layers.
When we’re young and full of energy, we want to make a statement. We dress to impress or to rebel. We pierce. We tattoo. As time goes by, however, we dress the way we have to, or the way that’s the most comfortable or least bother. (Close that robe, dammit!)
When I was a kid I built my PCs from scratch, tuned them just the way I wanted them stripped down and tricked out Windows every which way I could, and changed it up all the time. It was new, I was new, and I had the time and interest in not only using it, but making it mine. Then I got busier and busier, and I had less and less time to work on my PC. I needed it to work for me. Now I have a Mac that’s as stock as stock can be. I don’t even bother changing the wallpaper.
Mobile is the same way for me. I had Palm and Windows Mobile PDAs and later phones, and I customized the stuffing out of them. Icon sets, themes, skins, you name it, I hacked it. My first iPhone was jailbroken, and so were many of my follow ons.
But just like with PCs, over time I stopped. I stopped working on my devices and let them start working for me. For the last couple of years, my setup on my iPhones and iPads has been stock. No bothering with changing the alert tones or the wallpaper or even the icons on the start screen.
I stopped working on my devices and let them start working for me.
So how much does software customization matter? At one end of the spectrum, it matters a great deal. It means everything. It means making your devices uniquely yours. On the other end of the spectrum, it matters nothing. You have no time for it.
We all go through that spectrum, and multiple times. Figure out where you are on it, and then figure out how much it matters to you.