Tony Stark's Iron Man suits aren't real (at least not yet), but what about Jarvis, the futuristic A.I. that controls every aspect of his life? In conjunction with the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 on September 24, Marvel has developed an new iPhone app, officially named Marvel's Iron Man 3 – Jarvis: A Second Screen Experience, that allows you to have your own snarky digital assistant in the palm of your hands. How successful were they in bringing Jarvis to your home? Let's take a look.
First, the Jarvis app is completely free, so you don't have to worry about earning Tony Stark's salary in order to pay for it. When you run the app for the first time, you will immediately recognize that Paul Bettany has reprised his role as the voice of Jarvis. The actor recorded over 20 hours of new lines just for the app, including the step-by-step process of setting things up. It's fairly easy. Simply select whether you want to be called "sir" or "madam" and whether you want your temperature readings to be read in Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin (for those chemistry nerds who absolutely must have everything in SI units). It'll then ask you if you want to use your iPhone's internal GPS to determine your location, an option you can change later within your phone's settings.
Once you're all done, Jarvis is now ready to tell you the time and weather of your current location, and have access to all of his features. The interface isn't fairly intuitive at first, but a simple glance at Jarvis's help menu will help you use all of possible voice commands, set alarms and reminders, and use its internal compass. You are also now able to access several ringtones, mostly variations of Jarvis saying "You have a new voice mail," which you can use to personally customize your phone to feel more like Iron Man. If you simply enjoy hearing the soothing voice of Jarvis, simply press the app's "home" button for a quick chat. There's a nice hidden gem that if you press it enough times in a short period of time, Jarvis will start to become incensed. Press it enough times and you'll be treated to a wonderful display of flashing lights and flickering screens as he "erases" all the data on your phone (don't worry, he's just kidding!).
Unfortunately, several of the app's features aren't immediately available until Iron Man 3 arrives on store shelves next week. For instance, you can use the app to control your Blu-ray player if it's connected to the same wireless network as your iPhone. But the coolest feature of Jarvis involves the ability to use its internal QR reader to play an "easter egg" hunt. Hidden throughout the movie are QR Codes that will unlock various Iron Man suits and allw you to rebuild Jarvis's database. According to the marketing folks at Marvel, finding these hard-to-find QR codes and restoring Jarvis's database to 100% will unlock an exclusive "special" sneak peek. They won't reveal exactly what it is at the moment, but here's hoping that it's an inside look at Avengers 2.
Overall, the Jarvis app is fun to play with for just a few minutes until Iron Man 3 hits stores shelves, when it becomes a more substantial experience. It's certainly more fun than functional (you won't replace Siri with it anytime soon) and its seemingly low resolution doesn't take advantage of the iPhone's amazing Retina display. But at the low low price of zero dollars you won't feel any buyer's remorse after downloading it.