Trick out your iPhone, Star Wars style

“It’s taking forever to download Angry Birds on this thing.”

Let’s face it. I’m a geek. Lord of the Rings (books and films), Star Trek, Firefly…pick one and I will go to town. But I have a real soft spot in my heart for Star Wars. It was my first real experience with science fiction, at the tender age of five, and I’ve been hooked since. There’s no doubt that Star Wars had an influence on my book Spacebuckler — an epic tale in a fantastical setting that harkens back to the mythic hero’s journey.

I take pride in my fandom, and to that end, I decided to trick out the one thing I carry with me 99.9% of the time: my iPhone. And in the spirit of geeking out, I thought I’d share how I did it.

First off, you need a case. I picked up this one, as seen below:

Of course, there’s plenty of R2-D2 cases out there to choose from, so pick the one you like best. You can also go with a C-3PO case, an Obama-esque Vader case, or perhaps something in a Chewbacca head. Note that some of these can be $35 or more, so bear cost in mind. That said, there are plenty of Star Wars phone cases out there — I particularly like the “Keep Calm and Fly Casual” one — but the case is only the first part. To me, it pays to have the noise match the appearance.

Next stop: the iTunes store! Because not only can your iPhone look like R2-D2, it can sound like him too, much to the delight of geeks and young children and the consternation of teachers, commuters and the guy in the next cubicle. For my iPhone, I chose three  of the five available R2 alert noises. The iTunes store also has two Threepio bits (“This is madness!” and “We’re doomed!”), three Chewie roars and six Vader clips. When my daughter gets an iPhone many years from now, I want her ringtone for me to be Vader saying, “I am your father.”

A smaller form factor might have helped.

iTunes also carries various lightsaber effects (which might go nicely with this case) and good stormtrooper clips like “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for,” which would make this case rock. You can even do some Jar-Jar Binks alerts…if you wanted to.

Ringtones would be the next logical step, but admittedly, this is where Apple falls down. Used to be, you could simply buy any song and use iTunes to hack it down into a short sound bite on your own by paying another 99 cents. Now, however, you have to take what they give you in the store. (There are a few hacks available if you want to DIY your own custom ringtones; just do a search online.) Unfortunately, the iTunes store doesn’t carry the actual John Williams score, but has knockoff versions instead. I don’t know about you, but I can hear the difference. I ended up with the “Imperial March” for my ringtone just because it sounded closest to the original.

Finally, you’re going to need some visuals. Personally, my lock screen is my wife and daughter because, well, I love them a lot more than Star Wars. That said, if you still love your family but want aesthetic continuity, throw up a character image on that lock screen! Choose wisely on the home screen, though, because sorting out the apps from the background image can be tough if you throw something busy up there. Starry space, or a big Death Star, might suffice.

And there you have it. I tricked out my phone R2-style for under $25, which is about what you’d pay for a Star Wars t-shirt or a hardcover book. It would be absolutely perfect if I could just somehow rename Siri so I can say, “Artoo, when’s my next appointment?” As it stands, Siri could use some remedial training.

Something for the iPhone 5, perhaps.

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Filed under Geek, Technology, Weirdness

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