Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Konami's Silent Hill In U.S. App Store

The iPhone game Silent Hill: The Escape [iTunes link] has been available in the U.K. for the past week or so but it is now in the U.S. App Store.

I posted a video of the game last week and you can check it out here:
The game seems to be a little more open-ended than Brothers In Arms: Hour Of Heroes and a LOT better than Cube.

Even though it is competitvely priced at $7.99, it worries me that the game is very short.  16.4 MB for a 3D first-person shooter doesn't sound promising.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Rumor That Just Won't Die - iPhone Nano

The rumor of an iPhone Nano has been around almost as long as the iPhone itself!  On Gizmodo, I found an article just half a month after the first iPhone was released about the possibility of an iPhone Nano.

Presumably, an iPhone Nano (not unlike its iPod cousin) would be a stripped down version of the iPhone 3G:  smaller device, less memory and less features.

If a movie was made about the mythical iPhone Nano it would be named "Die Hard" because it's a rumor that just won't die.  iPhone Nano rumors have been coming fast and furiously ahead of January's MacWorld Expo (which Steve Jobs is not attending):

In my mind, none of these pictures or website additions is slam dunk evidence that an iPhone Nano is really in the works.  Just fodder to talk about waiting for the next major iPhone software update.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where's The Cheapest iPhone 3G?

Although Wal-Mart is now selling the iPhone 3G for about $2 less than either the Apple Store or AT&T, it is still not the cheapest place to buy a brand new iPhone.

According to iPhone Hacks, Best Buy is now offering the iPhone 3G for either $189 (8GB) or $289 (16GB).

Still, the absolute cheapest place to buy a retail iPhone 3G is at AT&T.  It is now selling refurbished iPhone 3Gs for $99 (8GB) or $199 (16GB).  However, these are used and may have minor scratches and abrasions.  From what I have heard though, the refurbished iPhones are very good.

UPDATE 1: The Boy Genius Report says AT&T is offering refurbished iPhone 3Gs for $49 (8GB) and $149 (16GB) until tomorrow (12/31)!

UPDATE 2:  BGR says its source corrected the story - refurbs going for $99 and $199 as originally stated.

iPhone 3G At Wal-Mart?... Not Yet

The articles I read about the iPhone 3G debuting at Wal-Mart said that it was being sold starting Sunday [yesterday].  

Well, here's what I saw when I checked out the Wal-Mart in Honolulu on Keaaumoku Street today [Monday]:

When I went to the store at around 9:30 a.m. HST, the display was still wrapped in its cardboard.  One of the employees came to take the cardboard off the display, which is when I snapped the picture on the right.

Most likely by the time this is published, the iPhone 3G should be out on display.  But it was interesting to see that the kiosk had not yet been set up.  So, that's what you're looking for when you go to Wal-Mart.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

iHusky 3D Pet

iHusky 3D Pet [iTunes link]

To view the video in high quality, click on the video while it is playing to go to YouTube.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In The Dark

From time to time, I may blog about something totally unrelated to the iPhone.  For the past day or so, the island of Oahu has been in the dark because of a power outage.  Actually, my iPhone helped IMMENSELY during the blackout, but that's for another blog in the future.  I made a video of my time in the darkness:

After-Christmas Oahu Blackout 2008 from Clayton Wakida on Vimeo.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wal-Mart Selling iPhone 3G This Sunday

Wal-Mart announced today it will be selling the iPhone 3G starting this Sunday [December 28] at nearly 2,500 stores.
However, it will not be priced at the rumored $99 price. Instead, it Wal-Mart will have prices similar to Best Buy: $197 for the 8GB model and $297 for the 16GB iPhone.
I believe throwing the net larger for the iPhone can be a good thing. The more iPhone users there are, the more people will clamor for a better product and better updates.
For those who wouldn't step into an Apple Store, they can now check out the iPhone.

Source: Computerworld

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Iron Fist Boxing

Although it's called "Iron Fist Boxing" [iTunes link] it's technically a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) game since it has some kicks.  It's in the App Store for an introductory price of $2.99.  Hopefully, this is a sign of more games like this to come.

Silent Hill: Exclusive 3rd Stage Preview

Apparently the Konami game "Silent Hill" is out in the European App Store but not in the United States. has an exclusive preview of the game's 3rd stage. It looks better than "Cube" and more versatile than "Brothers In Arms."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Latest FREE iPhone Apps Worth Downloading

As we get closer to Christmas, there are a slew of great FREE apps available for download on the App Store.  Here's a quick rundown: [iTunes link]- As much as I loved The Weather Channel app, is actually slightly better.  AccuWeather has everything that The Weather Channel has plus a nice backdrop showing the general state of the weather, similar to the popular HTC weather app, and an animated doppler.

Crystal Defenders Lite [iTunes link] - Square Enix, publisher of the popular Final Fantasy series, has made an iPhone game called "Crystal Defenders."  That app is $7.99 but you can try it out for FREE with the Lite version.  I was never a big fan of Final Fantasy but this game is okay for being a mobile phone game.  This doesn't push the limits of the iPhone's capability but I found it somewhat entertaining.

Space Deadbeef [iTunes link] - This has been one of the most downloaded free games but I thought I should mention it here.  Beautiful graphics combined with an interesting touch screen interface makes this a winner as a free game.

Dragon Force Light [iTunes link] - This is another vertical shoot'em up iPhone game.  There's only one level but you can try out its interesting interface:  your ship auto-shoots, you tilt your iPhone to move your ship left and right, and you occasionally touch the screen to fire a massive laser.  The paid version is not yet out as of this writing but I assume it is coming.

Animoto Videos [iTunes link] - This is my FAVORITE free app as of late.  Animoto Videos makes a video slideshow of between 8 and 16 photos you have on your iPhone.  Although you can only choose the music the app provides, it is a very good app considering it is free.  A paid app that lets you choose your own music would definitely be a big hit.  Your video slideshow is uploaded to a site and if you register online, you can embed the video on a blog like this one.  Check out the video I made:

Monday, December 22, 2008

3 Gifts That Can't Go Wrong For The iPhone Owner

So, you've got an iPhone owner on your Christmas shopping list and you don't know what to buy for them.   Well, here's three gifts that can't go wrong for the iPhone user (and they're ALL gift cards):

1.  iTunes Gift Card - The one thing that iPhone users consistently spend money on since the App Store opened in July is applications.  Although many of them are free, most of them cost anywhere from $.99 to $9.99 and beyond.
So, with an iTunes gift card they can get that $9.99 SimCity game they wanted or the $15.99 Beejive instant messager or the $19.99 Beatmaker drum machine.  Or, they can buy songs, television shows or movies on iTunes.  The iTunes gift card is VERY flexible. I have seen the iTunes gift card at Best Buy and Wal-Mart, although you can probably get one at the Apple Store.

2. Apple Store Gift Card - Many iPhone users like to get accessories.  With an Apple Store gift card, they can get their own case, dock, or headphones.  I would not get iPhone accessories for someone unless I knew exactly which one(s) they wanted.  An Apple Gift Card will make sure they will get what they want.

3.  AT&T Gift Card - AT&T bills are not cheap, so any help someone can get to pay their bill would come in handy.  Also, there's a slew of iPhone accessories at the AT&T store as well.

If you want to GIVE someone an iPhone 3G for Christmas, the BEST way to do that is to get the iPhone 3G Gift Card from the Apple Store.  It's $199 for the 8GB iPhone 3G and $299 for the 16GB iPhone 3G.  Since activation is most easily done in-store, the gift card makes it much easier to give as a gift.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Low Prices May Not Be Everything For iPhone Games

For a while now,  it was believed that if you wanted to be a best-selling iPhone game your app needed to be under the $9.99 premium price.  Most likely, you also needed to be under $7.99.  After a host of games like Enigmo, Cro-Mag Rally, Super Monkey Ball and other dropped its prices as low as $.99 sales skyrocketed.
But now, there has been a slew of $9.99 games which are doing WELL (as of 6:00 a.m. HST):
  • SimCity ($9.99) - #1 Paid App, #1 Overall Paid Game, #1 Paid Simulation Game, #1 Paid Strategy Game
  • Rolando ($9.99) - #1 Paid Adventure Game, #3 Paid Action Game, #8 Overall Paid Game, #11 Paid App
  • Brothers In Arms ($9.99) - #5 Paid Adventure Game, #11 Paid Action Game, #34 Paid App
  • Hero Of Sparta ($9.99)  - #6 Paid Adventure Game, #14 Paid Action Game, #45 Paid App
  • Live Poker 40K ($9.99) - #11 Paid Casino Game
  • Ferrari GT: Evolution ($9.99) - #4 Paid Racing Game, #4 Paid Sports Game, #21 Overall Paid Game, #26 Paid App
  • X-Plane 9 ($9.99) - #23 Paid Simulation Game
  • Crosswords ($9.99) - #8 Paid Word Game
Don't get me wrong, though.  Most of the best-sellers are $.99.  Still, people are willing to pay $9.99 for a game they think is WORTH it.  And that puts the pressure on developers to make QUALITY games.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

USA TODAY: iPhone App

There's not a whole lot of good news apps available for the iPhone.  My favorite one is the AP Mobile News Network but even that app has some performance issues.  News USA is also good because of the variety of news organizations it supports. However, it lacks a good aesthetic.  And the NYTimes app is just unreliable.

I think USA TODAY [iTunes link] is giving AP a run for its money.  I love that on the "Headlines" page there is a current temperature and current conditions in the upper right hand corner.  The Weather Channel does the forecasting for this app, and it even has national maps which The Weather Channel® app does not have.

Although it's nice to have sports scores, that's all there is - scores.  No box scores.  The pictures section feels like the AP app.

And one of the best interactive features is the section called "Snapshots" where you can vote in online polls.  You can see the overall, state and city voting results.

The only feature USA TODAY doesn't really have is the video support like AP.  But, USA TODAY is much easier on the eyes and it may be a little more useful on a day-to-day basis.  Plus, many of the USA TODAY articles are ports from the AP anyway.

I'm not ready to delete the AP app just yet but I think USA TODAY could someday supplant AP as the best iPhone news app with a few more updates.

Earthscape Santa Tracker

Here's a fun iPhone app that combines Christmas with photo blogging and GPS.  Earthscape Santa Tracker [iTunes link] is basically a holiday version of the great Earthscape app.  This one is especially designed for Christmas photos.  

However, to post holiday photos you will need to use Earthscape [iTunes link] to upload it.  Then, make sure you choose to put it in Santa Tracker.

It has a nice banner going across the top of the app telling you how much time there is until Christmas.
And it has the same controls as Earthscape.  To view the landscape in 3-D, you have to do a two-ringer drag on the screen.  Double taps zoom in; pinch-out zooms out; and a one-finger drag across the screen moves the map in that directon.  The crosshairs at the bottom of the screen gives you your current location.

Finally, the sleigh icon shows you where Santa will be on Christmas Eve according to your current time.  Very cute.
It's FREE in the App Store.

Friday, December 19, 2008

iPhone Wallpaper-Ringtone Combo

Sometimes I like to have an iPhone wallpaper that matches my ringtone since they both come up when someone calls me. So, I made two videos on some wallpaper-ringtone combos that I made:

Christmas Themes

Celebrity Themes

It's EASY to do!  I use iRinger to convert songs to ringtones.  And I use Photoshop to resize pictures to 320 x 480 to fit the iPhone screen.