The Dawn of iPhone

Susie Ochs's picture

The Dawn of iPhone


Gaming Power
Get ready for console-quality games in the palm of your hand.


The iPhone supports established game-creation devices, including OpenGL and OpenAL, which are tools that help developers build 3D graphics and audio, respectively. Most of all, the technologies are already familiar to typical game developers, so some of their experience translates to the new device.


Mac companies will also have a slight advantage in game creation because the platform is so close to the desktop OS. Smith notes, “It is pretty much OS X. It’s a Mac at heart. That’s a tremendous value in terms of the development tool chain, its maturity, and robustness.” Smith cautiously ranks the iPhone’s hardware power as somewhere between the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable.


But Carmack goes further, saying, “The iPhone is significantly more powerful than both the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, and the OpenGL acceleration looks pretty solid.” Carmack has just begun testing the hardware, adding, “We’ll see how it holds up when I really start leaning on it, though.”


Ethan Einhorn, producer of Sega’s Super Monkey Ball, agrees that the hardware is far beyond a typical phone. Showing a demo of the game at the iPhone SDK launch event, Einhorn said, “This is not a cell phone game, this is a full console game. And if anything, we underestimated what the machine was able to do graphically from the start. We had to actually fly in an extra artist to start scaling up the quality of the visuals to match what the output was capable of giving us.”


Ed Allard, vice president of PopCap’s strategic development, thinks the iPhone’s power is also in its interface. He says, “The Nintendo DS has had a touchscreen for a while, and proved it can be great for gaming, but bringing multitouch in is something new and interesting.” He also notes that PopCap is exploring ways to enable motion control in its games, as well as taking advantage of “the camera, pictures, address book,” and other user data.


Since iPhone owners haven’t been able to easily download games, they’ve been clamoring to Web-based titles. Mark Donovan, senior analyst with research firm M:Metrics, says, “iPhone owners are much more likely [than other phone users]—by about an order of magnitude—to be playing games on their browser.” We’ll soon find out if these gamers and iPhone developers can connect with downloaded software. But based on the demo games shown at the launch event by Electronic Arts, Sega, and even Apple itself, the future looks bright.


One-Stop App Shopping

When Apple announced the distribution model for these upcoming applications, an iTunes-like virtual shop called the App Store—which will be on the home screen of every phone, and will effectively handle distribution, sales, and marketing for the developers in exchange for 30 percent of revenue of all nonfree applications sold—the company actually came under fire from some who thought the plan was too restrictive and gave Apple too much power. But the developers we spoke to disagreed. Here’s what they’re saying about the one-stop App Shop:


“The 70/30 revenue share allows the publisher to invest their money into doing what they do best, which is make games, but also allows Apple enough revenue to keep things running. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
—Gonzague de Vallios, senior vice president of publishing, Gameloft


“I think the App Store will help significantly in the ‘discoverability’ of new iPhone games.”
—Andrew Stein, director of mobile business development, PopCap


“A 70 percent royalty deal for apps over iTunes is quite good. The iTunes distribution channel is really a more important aspect than a lot of people understand.”
—John Carmack, technical director, id Software


“The revenue share is totally worth it from the direct marketing Apple will provide, and the unique marketing only they can provide. I think it’ll be great for Freeverse, we’re going to be right out there on the forefront.”
—Ian Lynch Smith, president, Freeverse




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The all purpose solution is to use the Pwnage tool and allow your iphone/ipod touch to load any firmware you'd like on it, meaning when the iphone version 2 software comes out I will just go ahead and install it and then just go and custom hack it via the tool and have the software way before everyone else.

I see this method being the wave of the future because of the 90 surcharge that apple has.



Having a hand held game console that also has the ability to store contacts and call friends could enable a friend update aspect, Where you can see if your friends are playing a multi-player game you have. You can call them up and ask to join. Tap a "Join game" button under "end call" and connect.

You can play chess or checkers with random iPhone users as well. Apple is very astute. To me I see them understanding their closeness with Nintendo and therefore setting themselves as Nintendo competitors.

On another note. The timing will be important to target college bound students who are looking for a new cell phone, laptop, or handheld console. Apple could push the idea of students who don't have their laptops with them can simply look at their cellphone (iPhone) and use back to my mac to access files and perhaps remotely fax or print through the school's server.

Once again Apple is leading the way into a new niche. I wonder where the competition is? If there isn't a threat of competition could Apple's awesomeness vanish? Or perhaps it's the fact that they push innovation above competition that they are so awesome.


Ann Onimis

I hope multiplayer games allow you to use speaker calling or use an ear-piece to talk to friends during the game, like Xbox Live. Like the corner of the screen could have a barely noticeable circle which you can hold your finger to talk and then release.

Think about faster internet, touch response screen, more storage, and possibly a larger more comfortably grippable iphone. This tells me multiplayer is sooo going to happen.

Since Apple is all about integration. You could stream your games to your apple TV or Mac and use your iPod touch or iPhone as a controller. You could play multiplayer games with friends on your computer and apple TV.

The more Apple expands it's web of products that exponentially enhance one another I don't see a true contender in the near future



do I really care about games??? Come on guys! Give me cut and paste, let me edit a Word document, let me save a file, give me to do lists and a calendar more like iCal... I didn't buy a $400 toy. If that's all the iPhone will ever be, it's back to T-mobile and a Treo in a year and a half...



@dave...dude, that stuff will be here in nine days. relax.



S'long Dave. Enjoy your Toyo--I mean Treo--and your trip back to the 90s.

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