Apple's iPhone frenzy breeds iFun


SAN JOSE, Calif. -- About 350 software developers who attended iPhoneDevCamp, an ad hoc jam session in the Silicon Valley last weekend, managed to produce about 60 new Web-based applications tailored for the mobile gadget, including a bunch of casual games.

Sudoku and Tetris-like puzzles were bound to appear but the creative juices -- fueled by bagels, pizza, wine and beer over the three-day event -- also led to programs taking advantage of the iPhone's special features, such as its position sensor or the touch screen that responds to two fingers at once.

With a game called "Tilt," players rotate the phone to control a creature who likes to eat falling leaves and butterflies.

In "Pool," the display turns into a blue lake that creates ripples when you touch it, and if another member signed into the pool community on another iPhone touches the same spot at the same time, you will catch a fish.

Another, "iPhoneVote," sets up a real-time polling program where users cast a "yea" or a "nay" by turning the phone up or sideways.

Apple did not open its hybrid cell phone-iPod-Web browsing device directly to third-party development, so this band of coders heeded Apple's invitation instead to build iPhone applications that run on Apple's Web browser, Safari.

As a result, most of the applications developed at the camp also work on desktop computers running Safari, but many were optimized to fit the screen size and other aspects of the iPhone, said Raven Zachary, one of the event founders who began organizing it three weeks before the iPhone launched on June 29. Some were made specifically for Safari and won't work with Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer or Mozilla's Firefox.

If you're an iPhone owner looking to see what new Web goodies are available, some camp attendees created Web portals to help you out., for instance, provides a directory of iPhone applications, while Mojits creates a virtual homescreen on your iPhone with icons for your favorite Web programs.