Developer Plans to Shake Up the iPhone
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Is the iPhone ready to mix you up a healthy beverage? Hardly, but one developer plans to tap the device's graphics and motion detector technology to let consumers do some virtual mixing.
SiiTE Interactive, a New York-based creative marketing agency, said it's developing a range of iPhone applications for clients and just for experimentation. One is for a yogurt chain interested in SiiTE's idea for mobile coupons.
The concept is that an iPhone user will be able to mix a virtual smoothie, picking, say vanilla yogurt, strawberries and other ingredients on the screen. Once the ingredients are selected, the consumer can literally shake the iPhone to 'blend' up the drink they want (software written for the iPhone's accelerometer lets the device respond appropriately to the shaking). Then the consumer can go to the yogurt shop any time with their iPhone and have an on-screen bar code scanned to receive the discount.
"It can be a channel to keep you connected to the company," Alan Ruthazer, CEO of SiiTE Interactive, told InternetNews.com. "It's a fun thing to show off to your friends and we think it can be an effective form of viral marketing."
A few other ideas being cooked up by SiiTE for the iPhone include an "Origami-gram," an illuminator for rock concerts and a virtual juice squeezer.
The Origami-gram, or "iFold," uses the iPhone's multi-touch technology to let users write a note and fold the virtual paper into custom origami configurations. The resulting swans, boxes, flowers and other designs can be saved in online galleries for others to enjoy.
For rock concert fans, cell phones have already replaced cigarette lighters as the device of choice to hold up high in a show of a solidarity. SiiTE is working on an application that will help you light up the hall with your iPhone, but also shake them in unison to generate the sounds of maracas, tambourines, jingle bells, and other instruments. SiiTE thinks this mobile music application could be included as a promotional item fans will download when they purchase a song at the iTunes store.
Squeezing the iPhone
Another concept in development: SiiTE said it's working with "a leading orange juice brand" to drive home the message that their juice is fresh-squeezed by offering a "Juicer" challenge on the iPhone.
Basically, it's a little game where users try to beat the clock and fill as many glasses of OJ as they can by tilting their iPhone to roll an orange into a squeezing zone and then using two fingers to squeeze the juice from the orange. With a flick of the wrist, the used orange is flipped off screen as the next orange rolls into place.
Analyst Maribel Lopez said she's not surprised such offbeat applications are starting to appear or at least being discussed.
"I expect an absolute explosion of applications for the iPhone now that the beta of software development kit (SDK)'s been released," Lopez, CEO of Lopez Research in San Francisco, told InternetNews.com. "iPhone users are very engaged with the device because it's such an easy to use platform.
When Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) releases the finished SDK in June, it will also launch a online site similar to its iTunes store that will showcase iPhone applications that are free or cost money. "If you're a developer looking for a quick way to reach a community actively seeking new applications, Apple's software store makes perfect sense as a way to prove there's a market for them."
Another development iPhone fans are waiting for are new models of the device rumored to be coming out this summer. Apple hasn't confirmed those rumors though its partner, AT&T, said new iPhones with a faster 3G connection will ship this year.
Another rumor making the rounds is that the new iPhones will include haptic technology from Immersion (NASDAQ: IMMR), the company that provides the force-feedback effect used in some video game peripherals.
Immersion's VibeTonz technology can be used to provide tactile cues for touch-screen interfaces and could give iPhone users a more tactile response when using the device's virtual keyboard.