J.J. Abrams is fond of saying that iPhones do more than an Original Series communicator (except speak directly to a ship in orbit, but lets not get picky). Recently Apple upgraded the iPhone software to '2.0' and launched the official Apple’s App Store. The service offers almost 1,000 free and paid apps in numerous categories. The only problem — a serious lack of Trek applications!
JJ Abrams and the Star Trek team show their love for the iPhone
At the Fringe panel at Comic Con last weekend, the team behind the new Star Trek movie (JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Bryan Burk) were asked which they prefered, the iPhone or the Blackberry…they all voted iPhone.
Sure it’s cool…but where are the Trek apps? The only app available is DeepSpaceNewt, an unofficial application developed originally for the Apple Newton way back when. And, let’s just say, we’re not thoroughly impressed.
Deep Space Newt (the ONLY Trek app)
Deep Space Newt aka DSNewt (reference to DS9) is styled after an old text-based game originally offered on the Apple Newton. DSNewt offers the chance to play either an Amalgamation (Federation) starship or a Stigon bopper (Klingon Bird Of Prey). The developer describes the game as such:
“Blast the enemy out of your territory with your phasers and torpedoes. Defend yourself with shields, cloaking devices and your own wits. Watch out not only for your enemies, but also wormholes and exploding stars and planets.”
Sounds great, right? And it could be, but we tried this app and were somewhat disappointed. The LCARS interface is great, and of course we love the fact that it’s all Trek, but game play is not up to par. The controls are sluggish, there are no sounds, and the objective of each level seems unclear. In our opinion, this game would be great if you were familiar with the original, but otherwise, it’s not worth the $7.99 price tag.
Screenshot showing in game play
Screenshot showing DSNewt on the iPhone
The LCARS iPhone User Interface
A YouTube user, hideandseektoday, created an LCARS style iPhone user interface which is a really neat way to turn your iPhone into a PADD. The major problem — it basically mods your entire operating system requiring you to illegally jailbreak the phone, voiding your Apple warranty (eek!).
Star Wars Beating Trek To The Punch?
One application which has been widely popular since the firmware update is a little FREE app called PhoneSaber. You can turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a light saber in the color of your choosing. Hear the signature light saber whrrrs and crashes based on movements detected by your phone’s accelerometer. Several PhoneSaber fights have broken out already around the office. We can’t wait until the first PhoneSaber fight breaks out between complete strangers on the street. But, hey, if Star Wars gets an awesome app, why can’t Trek have a PHASER app?
the PhoneSaber app on the iPhone
The TrekMovie Challenge – Let’s See Some New Trek Apps!
Since DeepSpaceNewt is currently the only Star Trek app available for the iPhone, TrekMovie.com puts this challenge out to you: Let’s see some new Trek apps! Come on, computer geeks! Get to work! We’d love to see a simple Tricorder app which would consist basically of a Tricorder UI that would beep and boop when buttons were pressed, similar to the current web app, but a whole lot better. Or how about a Star Trek PADD app that would be legal and through the App Store? C’mon, Trekkies, don’t let Star Wars fans best us on this one!
In the spirit of the the 'X-Prize' TrekMovie will offer a whole $17.01 (cash money, American!) to the first iPhone application that embodies Star Trek as successfully as the PhoneSaber does for Star Wars. To win your prize, submit your application to kayla [@] trekmovie.com. Entries will be judged by the TrekMovie iPhone subcommittee (comprised of Kayla and Anthony). Any winning entry should incorporate TrekMovie.com name, link, and/or branding and will be featured here at TrekMovie.com. TrekMovie would prefer to see the application be free (like the PhoneSaber).