The big news in iPhone software this week is Silicon Valley start-up Booyah announced yesterday they had raised $4.5 million in Series A funding from Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers (KPCB) iFund for a new mystery iPhone product. The "iFund" is a $100 million venture capital fund that was set up specifically to fund exceptional iPhone software development.
So, how did this obscure start-up secure this kind of iFunding? Booyah was started by Keith Lee, Brian Morrisroe, and Sam Christiansen who had worked previously at Blizzard Entertainment, Activision, and Insomniac Games, respectively. This group of industry heavyweights are sure to have something special on track for the iPhone, but aren't giving any details away beyond the fact that their future release will be an "innovative and compelling entertainment product." Though we're probably some time away from when the mystery product will be revealed, this is definitely some exciting news for iPhone game fans!
This week's apps include a fun image-enhancing utility and a challenging baseball game with several gametypes and cool bonus features.
CameraBag ($2.99) lets you take pictures with your iPhone and use filters to dramatically enhance your images. You can snap a picture from within CameraBag's interface or you can choose photos from your iPhone's library. Once you have the image on screen, you can choose from several effects that can turn a once-boring image into an interesting artistic shot. You can change an image to look like it was taken on an instant camera with that familiar graininess and the telltale white framing, or you can use a fish-eye lens to create unique outdoor shots. There are 10 effects to choose from that you can cycle through by swiping your finger sideways on the touch screen or selecting from a drop-down menu.
The image effects you get with CameraBag create great results, and it's easy to share your work when you're finished by sending through e-mail from within the app. CameraBag is great as is, but I can only think it could be improved by simple image-editing tools like crop, rotate, and red-eye removal. Still, if you want to jazz up your images, Camerabag makes it easy to turn an average photo into something more artistic.
Baseball Superstars 2009 ($2.99) lets you play America's favorite pastime right on your iPhone. You can choose from 10 teams with varying skills (some have better batting, while others might offer faster runners, for example) and play a standard baseball game. The graphics are more cartoonlike than realistic, and you won't be able to choose your favorite team (Baseball Superstars is not licensed by MLB), but you'll quickly forget your team is "The Unicorns" once you start playing in an exhibition game, home run hitting derby, or even a 32 game season.
Baseball Superstars offers plenty of depth and replay value by allowing you to customize a batter and a pitcher with items you can buy in-game. You also have special pitches and a super-hitting button with special players you can unlock as you play the game. Though you don't have full control like you would in a console baseball game, Baseball Superstars manages to use the iPhone touch screen very well. Fielding the ball is done automatically, but you have full control over the type of pitches you throw and ball placement. Though we expect to see more realistic, licensed baseball games in the future, this title will definitely appeal to baseball fans with plenty of extras to keep the game interesting.
What's your favorite iPhone app? What features do you think would add to an image enhancing app like CameraBag? What's your favorite baseball game for iPhone? Let me know in the comments!