An emergency scanner and challenging cartoon boxing: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a feature-rich police scanner and a boxing game that reminds me of old stand-up arcade games from long ago.


As announced a few months ago, the iPhone has officially made landfall in China. But even with such an enormous potential market, Apple may still have some problems selling the device. Apparently, due to issues with Chinese carriers, iPhones in China have no support for Wi-Fi. To add insult to injury among Chinese users, the price of the iPhone comes in at 4,999 yuan, or $730. If you buy the smartphone without a contract it comes in at a whopping $1,024, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fortunately, a ban on Wi-Fi by one Chinese carrier has been softened recently so iPhone 3GS users may get the faster connection speeds soon. Still, at that high price, I have to wonder just how many people will want to buy the iPhone in China. Only time will tell.

This week's apps include a feature-rich police scanner and a boxing game that reminds me of old stand-up arcade games from long ago.

Scanner 911
Hit record to capture a particularly exciting event on the scanner (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Scanner 911 (99 cents) lets you listen to streaming audio of police, fire, and EMS radio channels in the U.S. and Canada. The interface is clean and easy to navigate with buttons across the bottom including available stations by location, a button to get stations near you (via GPS), a favorites section, a list of recent stations, and a recordings section. I've reviewed a police scanner app here before called Emergency Radio, that still holds up well, but the addition of recording capabilities to Scanner 911 adds a new angle that scanner afficianados will appreciate.

Though not all cities and locations are available, the developers of Scanner 911 promise that more channels are coming soon. They even have a place to vote for locations at the developer's Web site if you want to add your city to the list. Overall, if you want a solid emergency scanner on your iPhone with the ability to record that harrowing car chase or bank robbery (as examples, of course), Scanner 911 is the app to have.

Super KO Boxing 2
My tip is to aim for the generous gut on this particular opponent (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Super KO Boxing 2 brings fun and challenging cartoon-like boxing to the iPhone--a lot like the old classic stand-up arcade game (and later the console game) Punch Out. This game is not about realism in any way, but instead challenges you to find the weakness of each comically-designed fighter as you rise through the ranks. There are three different game types including Circuits, Versus, and Challenge, with the Circuits option being the place you'll probably spend most of your time, fighting through progressively harder fighters. On-screen controls include buttons for dodging and blocking on the left side of the screen and high, low, and super attacks on the right side.

Just like the old classic Punch Out arcade game, the trick to Super KO Boxing 2 is figuring out the weaknesses of each opponent. Some will be vulnerable to aggressive body blows while others will only take damage by hitting with a hook at just the right time. You'll need to fight some opponents several times before you figure out their weakness, but the comically drawn boxing caricatures and funny animations make the game enjoyable even when played again and again. Entertaining feature additions like the ability to "dizzy" opponents by unleashing furious combos require that you figure out strategies to beat each opponent. To go for the super punch, you'll need to build up your energy meter through chained combos and taunts, both of which are hard to pull off without taking hits. Overall, if you're looking for a less serious boxing arcade type of game, Super KO Boxing has a lot to offer and often leaves you chuckling as you challenge each opponent.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Have you recorded any exciting emergencies in Scanner 911? Have you become the champion of the world in Super KO Boxing 2? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.