Earlier today we pointed to a post made by X-Plane author Austin Meyer on the X-Plane forums that spoke of a rather bright future for X-Plane on the iPhone [App Store]. We've since learned that the future is rather close at hand. The X-Plane 9.01 update was recently submitted to Apple and should be appearing in the App Store any time now.
According to Austin, v9.01 will bring the following improvements:
- 25% frame-rate improvement! I REALLY like the increased fluidity of the sim in 9.01 thanks to this increase.
- Calibration screen for phone tilt! One guy writing a review at the AppStore said he likes to fly on the couch, and wants VERTICAL to represent neutral-elevator: Fly on, couch-dude! Just go to the SETTINGS tab in the interface and set any phone angle as neutral! Now you can relax in bed or on the couch, with vertical being the reference-point for neutral-elevator, or sit up holding the phone in your lap with HORIZONTAL being the reference-point for neutral elevator, or anything in between! Set the center-point as you see fit!
- Higher-contrast interface! One person said his eyes are a little weaker these days, so we contrasted the interface a bit more to make it easier for all to see! I managed to do this without making the interface look too harsh, I think.
- Power and flaps set for you on the final approach selections. One guy writing a review at the AppStore was rather paniced that he had to move his thumbs 1/4" to set the power and flaps on final.. the horror! So, X-Plane now sets 25% power and flaps automatically when you set yourself up in flight, to be more closely configured for your landing! Kind of convenient.
- The interface screens are organized a hair differently... much better I think. This lets volume-control and neutral-elevator control be in their own system-config screen, with a different screen dedicated to setting your location! Kind of nicer organization.
Austin has recently placed a dedicated X-Plane for iPhone page on the X-Plane website where he addresses various problems and wants he's seen users express in reviews posted to the App Store. We were particularly pleased to see an indication that two more aircraft will be added to the app in a free update coming soon.
The X-Plane for iPhone page also details "The story of X-Plane for iPhone," an account of the 14-day development frenzy that lead to the v9.00 App Store release, all of which took place at the Apple Campus at 1 Infinite Loop "right in the middle of the 'hive-mind', right alongside all the engineers at Apple."
Around September 1 or so, I was sitting on a park bench in Central Park, New York, enjoying a WONDERFUL fall Saturday afternoon, typing away on my Mac laptop, when my tech support guy, Randy Witt, called me and suggested that we do X-Plane for iPhone. Of course, I thought this idea was IMPOSSIBLE, because how could a PHONE have enough POWER to run X-PLANE? And how would you CONTROL the planes? Nevertheless, I called Apple to ask them whether it would be possible to get X-Plane running on the iPhone, and whether Apple would have any interest in seeing it done. The answer was a bit surprising: Not only is the iPhone just powerful enough to RUN a specialized version of X-Plane, but Apple would LOVE to see it done NOW. Apple had a Keynote presentation coming up, and would love to have a couple of exciting new games ready to consider showing off at the presentation. My response: "Well, I live in South Carolina, I am currently in New York, it's Saturday afternoon... I could be in Cupertino (Apple's headquarters) maybe some time late Monday, and we could start work on, say, Tuesday or so? My contact at Apple gave me my absolute favorite reply ever: "Umm.. How about we see you Monday morning at 9 AM sharp instead?"
Touch Arcade recently reviewed X-Plane 9 for the iPhone.