iPhone's New Apps: Innovative Software Demoed at WWDC
This morning at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Steve Jobs and company took the stage to unveil their plans for the iPhone, and gave several developers a chance to show off some of the most interesting new applications for the emerging platform. Developers from several major software categories took their turn in the spotlight to present their programs, all of which are expected to launch in July with the release of Apple's iPhone 2.0 software.
Sega Monkey Ball
Ethan Einhorn of Sega demoed Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone. Eight weeks after the SDK event, the developer came up with 110 stages of the game, including "all four of the classic monkeys" from previous versions of the title. Einhorn demoed the last world in Super Monkey Ball to show just how well the tilt control works. Observers at the event were impressed with the game's graphics and performance, applauding as Einhorn successfully navigated the first checkpoint. The "tilt control works beautifully," said Einhorn. Sega loves the App Store and Super Monkey Ball, and they're looking forward to more apps. Super Monkey Ball will be available at the launch of App Store for $10.
Ken Sun from eBay took the stage to talk about his company's new iPhone app, which will give iPhone users easy access to the auction site. Sun demonstrated how users can manage auctions on the handset. The iPhone is the number one mobile device for accessing eBay, said Sun, so the company decided to create this application just five weeks ago. The app allows users to access search, a summary of activities, and their personal avatar. It will show you when you've been outbid, too, so you can easily see what you're winning and losing. Entering a bid is easy, as well. The eBay app will be available for free when App Store launches. If eBay is any indicator, a lot of companies with fairly sophisticated Web sites will still be inclined to develop native applications for the iPhone. As nice as the iPhone's Web browser interface is, a custom app to pull data off the Net can be much better.
Loopt is a location-based social networking service dedicated, as CEO Sam Altman says, to "connecting with people on the go." You can see your friends superimposed on a map, view what people have been up to all day, and look at photos they've taken. You can call your buddies, text them, or comment on their status feeds, too. "You never have to eat lunch alone again," said Altman. You can use Loopt with your friends on other platforms. The program will be free on the App Store at launch.
Michael Sippey from TypePad gave a demo of the company's new blogging client. The iPhone-based program lets you create a text post or take a photo with your iPhone and send it to your blog. You can add a photo from your library into a post, as well. Based on what we saw in the demo, the client appears to handle multiple blogs (though all TypePad-based, presumably). You can choose categories and edit the body text. A pending-items view will tell you the progress of posts in the background. Afterward you can jump to view your post in Safari. The client will be available for free at the launch of the App Store. Sippey's demo received a nice round of applause from some of the bloggers in the keynote audience.
The Associated Press provides news to more than half of the world's population every day. Though AP already has one of the best Web apps for the iPhone, it is making a native app too. AP's Benjamin Mosse went on stage to discuss the application, which is called the "Mobile News Network." You can add locations to get local news; it can use Core Location to obtain news from wherever you are. It will download the news as you're reading it, so you can read items later in any location, even when you don't have a network link. Also, you can look at award-winning AP photos and watch video from the news network. If you have a photograph or a first-hand account of a breaking news story, you can submit a report to AP, as well. The Mobile News Network will be a free download when the App Store launches.