iPhone apps that foretell the future

More than just useful or fun, these iPhone apps point the way toward the future -- of the iPhone and smartphones in general.

NumberKey Connect lets your iPhone act as the number pad for your Mac; particularly useful for Apple's wireless Bluetooth and laptop keyboards, which lack number keys.

NumberKey Connect lets your iPhone act as the number pad for your Mac; particularly useful for Apple's wireless Bluetooth and laptop keyboards, which lack number keys.

The convenience of the App Store in concert with the iPhone's hardware features allow for some pretty entertaining games -- games whose sophistication levels are beginning to grow. While there are now classic examples of mobile game fun in Super Monkey Ball and wide array of Tetris variants, the iPhone really shows off its graphical prowess in games like Real Soccer 2009 (US$5.99), Hero of Sparta (US$5.99) and for first-person shooter fans, Brothers in Arms (US$5.99).

Brothers in Arms was good enough to capture the attention of The Escapist magazine, which ran a story with game play footage -- for fans of such action titles, a video well worth watching.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the Call of Duty series, so having similarly functional and fun first-person shooter on my person and in my pocket at all times really tickles me. That Brothers in Arms is graphically impressive, with quality audio and game play to match, really shows what the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms are capable of.

Clearly, as the iPhone advances in hardware capability, the games will become much more involved. Better graphics, faster CPUs, more data storage and the ability to download games on the fly sound more like features found on next-generation consoles -- only this console is also your phone.

App future looks bright

The iPhone started out as the best way to interact with common functions associated with mobile telephony, but has quickly evolved to become much more than that. As the iPod has shown, focused evolution of a product can be the difference between a toy and a must-have lifestyle device, and the iPhone has the potential to grow way beyond its humble telephony beginnings.

This level of sophistication in a mobile device was undreamed of just a few short years ago in anything less than a laptop, but it's all available now, in a size small enough for our pockets. You don't need a crystal ball app to see that the future of the iPhone is looking bright.

So who'll be the first with Sunglasses.app?

Michael deAgonia is a Neal Award-winning writer, computer consultant and technologist who has been working on Macs professionally since 1993 and has held tech-support roles at colleges, media companies, the biopharmaceutical industry, the graphics industry and Apple.

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