Hebrew Localization of the iPhone
1. The OS X localization scheme works to some extent for the iPhone for Hebrew
I edited the file: /private/var/root/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist
What I did was to add a new pair in AppleLanguages with string "he" (Hebrew)
then I changed the order to "he" was item "0" in order, i.e. first
2. Any app can be localized by creating an he.lproj directory in the App Dir - parallel to English.lproj for example /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/he.lproj/LocalizedApplicationNames.strings
I copied the strings files from 2 Apps, SpringBoard and MobileMail, changed some strings - typing in the strings file using Hebrew on the mac
I then put these files back to their respective he.lproj directories
3. I copied in a modified arialuni.ttf to /System/Library/Fonts/Cache/arialuni.ttf
4. Power cycle the iPhone (4-5 secs on power button).
Now the systems default language is "he" using he.lproj directories when found and English.lproj when not
5. Problems - all the apps I saw , reverse the Hebrew - so it displays backwards - I made a mistake earlier, thinking that I could display the app names on SpringBoad correctly, but I was using a LocalizedApplicationNames.strings file where I typed in Camera (מצלמה) in Hebrew in the reverse order (המלצמ), so when the iPhone displayed it it would read correctly.
Below is an screenshot of the SpringBoard, with both reversed and double-reveresed Hebrew app titles
6. MobileMail still displays Hebrew correctly, when you modify Helvetica.ttf , adding Hebrew. This works when you display the full screen email, but when you have the list of emails in the Inbox, Hebrew is reversed
What all this points to, IMHO, is that many if not all the issues are due to lack of RTL handling in the apps themselves, which may have to wait for Apple to correct...
Attached below are 3 images, first the SpringBoard/SummerBoard with reverse and double-reversed Hebrew, then the MobileMail app, with the "Accounts" label changed to "מה זה" in Hebrew - which is reversed by the App. Finally a test email - fullscreen with a modded version of Helvetica.ttf
There is a chance also, that the App Localization allows directionality option - but I don't know it.
SpringBoard with Hebrew Localizations (reversed and double reversed):
MobileMail localizations (reversed)
Sample Hebrew email:
Thanks for help from Tomer at http://djteller.blogspot.com/