The concept of writing words across the sky is an old-fashioned idea. In order to communicate the grandeur of one’s thoughts or feelings, many would indulge in such a lavish display by employing planes to streak through the sky with a banner attached, flowing behind as it passed overhead, expressing their desire sentiment – something like, “I love you” or “Will you marry me?” But, of course, many would find this method unconventional and old school today.
However, AirType by FreeLunch claims to provide users with a more modern way to share your message airborne-style. With AirType, users are supposed to be able to write words in the air using the light from their iPhone or iPod Touch, waving the device about to cause the illusion. Unfortunately, the actual outcome of such an action is about as big an illusion as the proposed outcome itself.
The basics are rather simple. Users must simply type their desired text into AirType and wave their arm about (with device in hand, of course) in order to see all they just wrote stream through the air. The home screen is also the ‘Settings’ screen, where users can adjust AirType to the exact specifications they desire. The text box at the top allows users to write whatever message they choose, assuming they don’t want to use any more than 15 letters maximum. Users may also turn the Accelerometer on or off. Under preferences, users can adjust motion smoothing (‘shaky!’ to ‘steady as a rock’), color hue, and speed (slow to fast). Users can use the color hue slider to change the color of their letters. As you slide, the words ‘color hue’ will change color depending on your placement of the slider.
When your preferences are set to where you want, simply tap the ‘AirType IT!’ button to see your text move quickly, flashing across the screen. Simply tap the screen if you want to go back and adjust your settings. Once your texting is moving, users will supposedly be able to create the illusion that their text is moving across the air simply by waving and shaking the device through the air. However, such movement only causes that weird, rubber arm effect you get when you shake your limb much too fast and wildly.
Within AirType, they directly suggest that you play with the brightness of your phone and disable automatic dimming for the best results. They also claim AirType is ideal for spreading your message at concerts or finding friends in a crowd. What they fail to mention is that the only reason anyone will find you in a crowd is because of the wacky flailing going on with their arms.
After many attempts of adjusting the speed settings, changing the text color and waving my arm around in front of multiple helpers, not one of them ever saw words flash through the air. Then, when I asked them to wave the device for me to see, all I saw was the blur of an arm, device in hand, nervous that the ridiculous flailing would send my beloved phone flying to its death. Perhaps the occasional flash of a letter appeared, but never an entire word or phrase. We waved quickly, we waved slowly, and we waved in the dark. But sadly, the magic never happened for us, and our arms certainly did require a nice rest afterward.
And when an app fails to live up to its promises, well, it’s almost like we have a failed relationship on our hands. Seems they didn’t quite love us enough to send that plane with the “I love you” banner our way, now did they?
AirType requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer in order to speed up the publication of this review.