March 1, 1991: Apple introduces the Apple IIe Card, a $199 peripheral that lets users turn Macs into fully functioning Apple IIe computers.
The ability to emulate the popular Apple IIe computer on a Mac brings Apple’s two operating systems side by side for the first time. While not quite the equivalent of Apple letting you run iOS on a Mac today, it’s not a world away.
Because phones are small, it’s easy to underestimate how powerful they are. Give an iPhone a larger display and it would make a fine desktop PC. Case in point: A new video shows an iPhone X running Mac OS 8.1 as well as a couple of games.
Vectrex, the sent-from-the-future vector-based games console from 1982, is soon to come to iOS. The Vectrex Regeneration emulator, complete with the entire original game catalog, will launch soon as a Universal app, and will use optional expansion packs to enable extra features.
Apple has never shown favor to emulators in its App Store (with the exception of examples like the Commodore 64 app), so it’s surprising to see iMAME available in the App Store for free right now. iMAME allows you to run thousands of classic arcade titles if you’re lucky enough to have the original ROMs.
The emulator app includes 9 less-than-popular arcade games to run, but the possibilities are pretty endless if you know what you’re doing.
It’s probably not very popular to say on a Mac blog, but Windows Phone 7 is actually pretty damn good. Not iOS good, of course, but it does a lot of cool, unique things, and unlike Android, doesn’t just rip off Apple’s ideas wholesale: its tiled Metro UI is very pretty, very informative, very smart and its own thing entirely.
Even so, if you’re on an iPhone, you aren’t likely to envy Windows Phone owners very much, but if you want to see how the other half lives — and find out for yourself that it’s not actually that bad — Microsoft has just posted a WP7 emulator in HTML5 on their official site.
For a brief, wonderful four hour period yesterday evening, iOS gamers were able to download iDOS, a working DOS emulator for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that not only allowed you to run vintage DOS games and applications in full Retina Display resolution and replete with sound, but could even handle Windows 3.0.
By all accounts, iDOS — which was based on the popular DosBox emulator — was amazing, and Touch Arcade reports that it happily ran everything from vintage Sierra adventure titles to Blizzard’s Warcraft II to disc-images of the multimedia horror game 7th Guest.
Don’t bother trying to download iDOS now, though: Apple quickly yanked it. No one’s really sure why, although Apple has traditionally frowned on emulators before… but 9to5Mac has a really good theory: it seems iDOS allowed users to access the entire iOS filesystem, no jailbreak required, albeit without write access.
Part of me hopes that was the problem: it seems like an easy fix to close that hole up. I’d like the opportunity to play around with iDOS. My instinct, though, is that Apple took a stronger disliking to it that will prevent it from re-entering the App Store no matter what changes the developers make.
Emulators themselves are on fairly well-established legal ground, but the ROM files required to play all of your favorite classic video games are far sketchier. Technically, if you rip a copy of a game yourself as a backup, you’re in the clear… but since few have the technical acumen or equipment to do so, they usually resort to downloading the ROMs from warez sites.
That’s primarily the reason why Apple has traditionally kept its App Store so closed off to emulators. So expect Nescaline, an NES emulator for the iPhone and iPod Touch, to be pulled as soon as Apple gets wind of it.
On sale for $6.99, Nescaline has a full feature list, including multitouch, light gun and save state support. It ships with five homebrew NES games, which is certainly legal. Unfortunately, its cardinal sin — at least in the eyes of Apple — is allowing users to input a URL where they can download additional ROMs. That means it’s as easy to put a warezed copy of Castlevania III on your iPhone as it is to cut-and-paste a Google search.
Expect Nescaline to be pulled quick, and if it comes back to the App Store at all, for the download feature to be neutered. Unfortunately, for right now, if you want to play emulators on your iPhone, legally owned games or not, jailbreaking is still your best bet.
Update: That didn’t take long. It’s been removed from the App Store.