I went to Portland, Oregon, to visit my parents last week and had a great time spending time with my family and checking out the local breakfast spots. I even found new places to explore (thanks to my trusty iPhone). One thing I knew going up there is that my father and his girlfriend had already bought two iPhone 3GS phones and I would not be hearing the end of how much better theirs were than my year-old iPhone 3G. But my mother and stepdad live up in Portland too, and once they saw how cool and fun my iPhone was (and had heard about my dad's iPhone), they brought me to the Apple Store in downtown Portland and bought two iPhone 3GS models for themselves.
Like many 3G owners who bought their iPhones when they were released last year, I have one year left on my contract before I can upgrade to a new iPhone at a reasonable price. This means, of course, that even as a reviewer of iPhone apps at Download.com, all my parental people have better iPhones than I do. My hope is that next year, there will be an even better iPhone, but for now I expect to be receiving a lot of iPhone 3GS videos, crisp 3.2 megapixel photos, mom saying, "I just called you using voice control!", and other iPhone 3GS madness. Just wait until next year, mom and dad. Just you wait!
This week's apps include an app that gives you a concert calendar for your favorite bands and a popular touch boxing game that came out last week.
iConcertCal is the iPhone version of an already popular iTunes plug-in for Mac that lets you find concerts for your favorite bands in your music library. The application starts by scanning the music library on your iPhone and then searches an online database to find upcoming concerts in your area using your location information. When it's done, iConcertCal presents a nice list of concerts at your local venues that you can touch to buy tickets, and get more information.
Beyond its concert-finding capabilities, iConcertCal lets you flip your iPhone sideways to get a full-month calendar view so you can easily plan which concerts to attend. Separate tabs let you view shows from artists in your library or all shows playing in your area. You also can search by artist or venue. Once you find the show you want to go to, you can buy tickets, send e-mail reminders to notify friends, and look at a built-in map with directions to the venue. Overall, we think anyone who enjoys going to live shows will find this app very useful, and with the ability to discover shows from your library, will make a great addition to any music lover's iPhone.
Touch KO is the long-awaited touch boxing game from Chillingo that mostly lives up to the hype. Either enter a quick match or battle through career mode to work your way to huge championship bouts. Play the tutorial mode to learn the type of punches you can throw by using different swipes on your screen. As you progress through your career, you can use your cash winnings to buy new trunks, gloves, and shoes to add bonuses to your stats, and there are several aesthetic options to personalize your boxer with such as tattoos, skin color, and facial features.
The thing I noticed right away about Touch KO, is that it's not your average arcade boxing game. You'll need to concentrate on blocking your opponent's punches just as much as finding the right moment to break through their defenses. But even with the more technical focus in this boxing game, the AI of each boxer is fairly easy to figure out, making it pretty easy to win fights against even the most challenging boxers. The folks at Chillingo have promised a better AI in future versions to make the game more challenging, but even in its current state, it is quite satisfying to go toe-to-toe in the ring against several different types of boxers.
There's no multiplayer component in Touch KO, but there is a leaderboard so you can match up against other players' records. Overall, Touch KO is a fun boxing game, and if Chillingo is able to enhance the AI for a more challenging experience, it will be tough for other boxing game contenders on the iPhone to compete.
What's your favorite iPhone app? Are you stuck in your contract and wishing you had an iPhone 3GS too? Is iConcertCal the live concert-finding app you've been waiting for? Have you made it to the championship in Touch KO? Let me know in the comments!