Before we get to this week's apps, a news item over at AppleInsider indicates we may be getting a change to the iPhone operating system that many have been talking about. According to one AppleInsider's more reliable sources, the iPhone OS 4.0 could add multitasking support in the next OS update. This means you'll be able to run apps simultaneously making it possible to switch between apps without closing them.
A lot of smartphones already have multitasking support, so it's been one of the bigger complaints for detractors of the iPhone. Frankly, I think it's a welcome change to the OS that might make it easier to do some tasks, but up until now I haven't really had any need for it. I'm sure there are plenty of readers who have been waiting for this rumored upgrade in the next iPhone OS, so please let us know in the comments how you think multitasking will change the way you use your iPhone.
This week's apps include a powerful clipboard manager to store information and media, and an enormously popular arcade fighting game that is now on the iPhone.
Pastebot Command Copy & Paste ($2.99) lets you take clips of information and save them for later in a slick-looking interface. When you're browsing the Web and come across interesting information or find an image you want to save, Pastebot lets you copy the image or information and save it to its own clipboard. Simply use the iPhone's copy tool to select the info or image you want to copy, hit copy, then launch Pastebot and the image or text will automatically show up in the app. From there you can edit text, give the clip a title, or run the clip through a filter to perform specific tasks such as converting all text to lowercase, straightening quotes, wrapping in HTML tags, and much more.
Pastebot lets you store up to 99 clips through the normal clipboards, but you can store items in folders for long-term storage. This makes creating titles for clips extremely important because it will enable you to search for them later. If you're using a Mac, you also can download the Pastebot preference pane from the developer's Web site that allows you to wirelessly transfer clips to your Mac over Wi-Fi (the Windows sync tool is still in development). Overall, if you have the need to collect information and images you find on the Web, or need a good way to transfer info and images from your iPhone to your Mac, Pastebot Command Copy & Paste is a good choice.
Street Fighter 4 ($9.99) is a 2D fighting game that needs little in the way of introduction, but is surprisingly fun even using the iPhone touch screen. In the iPhone version you can play with eight characters from the original game across seven environments. The graphics look great even on the iPhone 3G, and the touch-screen controls work surprisingly well with only a little bit of practice. There are a few different ways to play including a Tournament mode, where you fight multiple matches against each of the different characters; Dojo, which trains you on all of the different moves for your selected character; Free-Sparring, for when you want to fight a specific character to find his weaknesses; and a Training Room where you can practice your moves. You also can play against your friends in versus mode, but only over a Bluetooth connection.
I think the main question most people will have about Street Fighter 4 on the iPhone (before spending the money) is how well the controls work on a touch screen. You get a control pad on the left and buttons for Punch, Kick, and special moves on the right (though you can move the controls wherever you want using the settings). Capcom decided to leave out the low and medium punch/kick buttons, which may bother Street Fighter veterans, but even without them, the game offers an enormous amount of moves. When I first started playing, it was admittedly difficult to get used to the onscreen control pad and buttons to perform some of the more complex moves. But after a few fights, even the more difficult moves started to get much easier. Overall, if you're a fan of Street Fighter, the iPhone version is true to the original with great-looking graphics, surprisingly solid controls, and a challenging AI, making it easily worth the price tag.
What's your favorite iPhone app? Are you happy to hear about the rumored addition of multitasking support? Do you have a better clipboard manager than Pastebot? What do you think of the touch-screen controls of Street Fighter 4? Let me know in the comments!