Pimp Your Screen still missing the fuzzy dice

Spoiler alert! Pimp Your Screen for iPad takes your standard wallpapers one step further. You can even rest your app icons on shelves or wrap them in skins without knowing anything about background graphics or having to switch back to Photoshop on your computer. But don’t think this will turn you into a real pimp. The results may not look as good as you’d like.


When I hear a phrase like “pimp your screen,” I’m thinking the whole package: candy apple red or green iPad case with chrome trim, fuzzy dice dangling from the home button, paper thin Bose speakers sticking out from the sides like wings, a diamond encrusted $ sign where the Apple logo should be, the smell of pot for twelve feet in every direction, and the iPad jerking up and down as it idles in the dock.

I want fur trim between the screen and the case, not just a cheap rubber gasket. I want six inch stack rubber stops on my candy apple hard shell case, and stacked dual vents to release excess heat. I want a chrome naked girl on the grill and I want people to see me walking in the mall with my pimped out ‘Pad and whisper to each other, almost in a state of awe, “There goes my man.”

And, if we wanted to keep this post topical, you could also think of pimping your screen like pimping your wedding. The world saw the most pimped up wedding in quite a while only this weekend, but it was upper class white pimping, you know, just as outlandish but more socially acceptable, even “fashionable” because these are rich white folks. The hats, the carriage, the hats, the priest in the fancy robe, the Rolls Royces, the hats, the huge church. the hats—those are pimping on a grand scale.

You can forget all that with Pimp Your Screen for iPad. As slick as it looks, it really adds little more than a selection of wallpaper skins to give your device a little more personal feel than standard wallpapers. That being said, some of the skins are really professional and the styles are varied enough to suit every taste from conservative academic to Japanese pop.

It’s also only a dollar, which is cheaper than some wallpaper packs, and the developer Apalon seems to be determined to update available images at no extra charge (for now).

In its current configuration Pimp Your Screen offers standard wallpapers, shelves, icon skins and neon etchings (which are little more than light stylized wallpapers). Pimp Your Screen also claims to provide a custom lock screen designer, but I can’t make heads or tails of it and I couldn’t find any in-app documentation.

Pimp Your Screen provides app shelves or icon skins. The app shelves function as shelves to display icons, although the definition of a shelf is quite loose.

icon shelves

To look at it, you should be able to add skin masks and a custom frame to an image imported from your photo library, but as soon as you import the image and select the skin or frame option, the app takes you back to a sample image. So creating your own custom images is a wash so far as I can tell (and I’m not willing to look online for documentation they could have provided with a help window). You’re stuck with Apalon’s selection.

But what a selection. These really are high quality images. You can also select images designed to rest your apps on shelves, or images with skins for your app icons.

App shelves most often are exactly as they sound. The illustrators added shelves to the image and the app icons rest on top. This isn’t always the case. The shelves may consist of color bands, stripes or even wooden planks. Icon skins, by contrast, are custom windows etched into the image.

Icon skins are windows added to the image to fit the portrait or landscape screen.

icon skins

You can actually preview what your desktop will look like. Pimp Your Screen overlays a set of icons in preview mode. There is a catch. You can only save shelves and skins in landscape or portrait mode, not both. (Something that should be possible to a deft Photoshop user willing to experiment. That wouldn’t be me. I’m deft enough, but far from willing.)

This doesn’t pose too much of a problem with the shelves. Alignment is off but not visually distracting. But the orientation shift doesn’t work at all for the icon skins. The windows are completely offset.

You can only choose one orientation for icon skins or shelves, and with the skins the displacement is distracting.

Skin Orientation

I would almost say that unless you plan to use your iPad exclusively in one mode, and lock the screen into position, the skins are worthless. The displacement is too distracting. Some of the skins are also just plain weird. The image may be attractive but the skin windows compete with the icons for your attention, which can be wearying to the eyes over time.

Some of the skins are just plain bizarre, however attractive. These road sign skins make the resulting composite so busy you may send yourself into a psychotic break without knowing it.

busy skins

When you decide to apply the skin you discover the real shortcoming of Pimp Your Screen. The app doesn’t really apply the screen, it simply saves the image to your photo library. Then it tells you how to use the settings app to apply the image yourself.

In the end, you actually have to set the image as your home screen yourself. Pimp Your Screen gives you the directions you need to do it yourself.

do it yourself

In the end, you might as well download the images with a wallpaper app. The images are quite good, but you still have to do the work yourself. And since the skins, the real reason you would want to use Pimp Your Screen, only work half the time.

Am I saying the app is worthless? Not at all. I love looking at these images. What are the odds of my using one? Pretty slim. But you might, and if you don’t mind locking your screen rotation, you might find something you really, really like.

Jenny Manytoes rates Pimp Your Screen

Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to Pimp Your Screen. It’s use is extremely limited, but the low price and quality of the images make it worth a look.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat

  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 3 Stars - nap, Utilities and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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