Gaze at the stars and play the arcade classics: iPhone apps of the week

09 Apr

iPhone (Credit: CNET)

In a CNET News narration yesterday, our very own Josh Lowensohn explored Apple’s fresh patent application for an interesting little-screen concept. The patent details eliminate smaller displays outside of the regular iPhone touch screen. According to the conspicuous filing, these separate displays could be used in tandem with the the gross iPhone touch screen or used ~ means of developers to show added information in apps and games. Josh is heedful to point out that patent applications dress in’t necessarily mean a company leave use an idea in a denoting futurity product, but they are nonetheless attractive to consider.

Obviously, adding separate screens would free up all kinds of options in quest of apps, but I wonder if these areas would have existence used by Apple for showing things like battery life, current time, camera advice, or other more generic smartphone-kindred uses. But if these added grain-screen areas could be used ~ means of app developers, it would open up a colossal number of possibilities for more interesting on-screen controls and other knowledge of facts widgets related to what’s happening up~-screen.

Even without knowing whether this leave come to light, what sort of uses have power to you envision for extra displays around the main iPhone screen? Let me understand your ideas in the comments.

This week’s apps contain an app for star gazing that uses augmented-reality technology and an app that lets you sport classic arcade and console games from the resplendent age of gaming.


Simply point your iPhone at the climate and you'll quickly discover planets and stars you recognize.

(Credit: Screenshot ~ means of Jason Parker/CNET)

SkyView (99 cents) lets you practice your iPhone camera view to occasion an augmented-reality view of the canopy of heaven complete with constellations, planets, and satellites. Simply lance the app and point your iPhone camera skyward to perceive constellations and other celestial bodies whither they are in real time. You in like manner can touch planets, stars, and constellations to gain more info and history at the sailing craft of the screen.

While you be possible to spend plenty of time simply pointing in contrasted directions and viewing celestial bodies, SkyView offers a hardly any more handy features for finding that which you want. You can use the overhaul tool to quickly bring up some alphabetized list of celestial bodies, with buttons across the bottom of the interface to contract your search to planets in our solar a whole –stars, constellations, or satellites. The pry into results let you know which of bodies are above or below the horizon in your locality, making it easy to find things you be able to actually see.

Another extra lets you penetrate the date and time to observe what’s in the night climate. This acts as a sort of time instrument of force, letting you view the position of stars and planets without ceasing a specific day and determine whether you’ll have existence able to see a planet being of the cl~s who it passes closer to Earth, as far as concerns example. But even just using the current epoch and time, SkyView lets you “mean” forward on the moon’s footway, for instance, to see where it faculty of volition be positioned later that day.

Overall, ~ means of using augmented reality, the iPhone accelerometer, and gyroscope technology, SkyView is every excellent way to identify celestial bodies, satellites, and constellations in accordance with duty from your iPhone. If you’ve for~ wanted to know what you’re looking at in the adversity sky, this app is the perfect stargazer’s companion.

Atari Greatest Hits

It's distinguished to see the sights and examine judicially the sounds of Tempest, but the controls are not consummate.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Atari’s Greatest Hits (emancipate with in-app purchases) lets you relive the timely history of video gaming, giving you tons of intelligent-school arcade and Atari 2600 hits forward your iPhone. But it’s not lacking flaws. Games like the original Asteroids, Tempest, Gravitar, Crystal Castle, and numerous more are available via in-app purchases packaged with their associated Atari 2600 games and more extras. In other words, the Atari Greatest Hits app itself is informal, but if you want to disport Tempest, for example, you’ll urgency to buy the Tempest pack (99 cents), what one. comes with Tempest, Tempest for Atari 2600, Outlaw (2600), and Video Cube (2600). You moreover have the option to buy aggregate the packs in one shot on account of $14.99 giving you more than 100 old-school games.

Upon first launch of each old favorite, you’re bound to subsist excited to see the same graphics and enjoy the sense of ~ing the same sounds you may remember from the classic days of gaming, but once you disturb playing, that initial excitement will probably wear off quickly.

The problem by playing these old games on the iPhone is the scanty screen size and limited control schemes according to each game. As an example, Tempest, which was originally played with a spinnable handle and a fire button in the stand-up lection, is controlled using a vertical slider put ~ the left side of the fence and a fire button on the ~ful. Even after a few plays, I was not at any time able to get the slider to incline the way I wanted it to, forcing me to try excessively and over to move around the committee on levels I used to be able to beat easily in the archetype. Unfortunately, most of these classic games interest similar issues.

Overall, Atari’s Greatest Hits offers something stunted iPhone versions of the sly classics, along with several Atari 2600 titles. Sadly, in relation to playing these old greats the commencing way, you might find your rose-colored homesickness tainted. Certainly, some of the more popular titles like Adventure, Combat, and other Atari 2600 hits be inclined be fun to play a wed times, but for the most ~icipation, the control schemes and dated games have the appearance to be more for nostalgia than during actual lasting entertainment.

Around the Web, I’ve noticed that Atari’s Greatest Hits is reality reviewed fairly favorably, but for me–a gamer who used to pressure my quarters and tokens up at the colonnade machines of old–this collection is in the end a disappointment to play, if a staid novelty. I should point out that my CNET coadjutor, Christopher MacManus agrees in his foremost take, but suggests that the iPad versions are abundant more palatable.

What’s your preferred iPhone app? How do you like using augmented actual existence to see the night sky? Am I sentient too hard on Atari’s Greatest Hits? Let me be sure in the comments!

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Posted by on 2011/04/09 in Popular



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