Mic-Enabled Entertainment Apps for the iPhone Are a Breath of Fresh Air

From games to utilities, app developers are exploring new technological territory with iPhone features. Applications that use the accelerometer and gyroscope are very common. But these aren’t the only hardware features that application developers are showing off in a new way.

The microphone has also begun to star in new iPhone applications. These novel apps are showing that the microphone can be used in ways that are much more creative than simple recording.  By allowing players to use their actual breath to power virtual fun and games, the following three apps show that it’s not such a bad thing to be full of hot air.

Blowing is an award-winning game from LNA Studios. In Blowing, players are given the goal of defending select snacks against a mob of ants and bugs.  The weapon players are armed with:  Their own breath and the iPhone’s built in mic.  Players blow into the microphone to create a virtual wind that works as an anti-bug barrier.

They can blow more than air, too; fire and ice are other weapons they can activate via microphone.  And Blowing offers more than a novel microphone-powered control system.  Three different environments, bright and colorful graphics, cute animation, and unique game-play complete the package.

Download Blowing for $0.99 in the App Store.

Balloonimals isn’t exactly a game; it’s more of a fun way to waste time.  Players don’t have a goal, collect points, or need to acquire skills to progress.  Instead, Balloonimals simply simulates the creation of balloon animals on the iPhone’s screen.

Users blow into the mic to inflate a realistically looking balloon. Once it’s inflated, a few shakes of the iPhone transform it into a balloon animal by stages.  It’s not very complex, but the graphics makes a really unique app indeed.

Balloonimals is available for $1.99 in the App Store.

Like Blowing and Ballonimals, Ocarina players use their real breath to manipulate the app.  This intriguing app turns the player’s iPhone into a wind instrument that oddly reminds me of N64 Zelda Classic “Ocarina of Time.” Holes appear on the screen, and act similarly to the holes on a flute.

The Ocarina player blows into the microphone and changes notes by covering the holes on screen. Songs can be recorded, archived and shared online.  Developers and Ocarina players worldwide have contributed to a songbook so enthusiastic users can learn to play anything, from any one of my favorite Justin Bieber hits (kidding), to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and even the theme from Harry Potter.

Ocarina is available for $0.99 in the App Store.

Blowing, Balloonimals, and Ocarina showcase some of the App Store’s most innovative ideas. Don’t you agree?