Developer: Wolfgang Steiner
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
Jiyuka - Sometimes, nature and technology are just not meant to collide. However, at other times, the result can be quite beautiful. Jiyuka, created by Wolfgang Steiner, is described on iTunes as "a modern form of Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement."
And, well, that is what Jiyuka is. The concept is quite simple. Using their fingers in a series of taps and sweeps, users can create vibrant digital floral arrangements on the screen of their iPhone or iPod touch. Different musical notes accompany the appearance of each flower, adding a dreamy quality to the zen-like flower arranging.
First things first: if you download or plan to download Jiyuka, be sure to visit Jiyuka.com; the instructions found there are significantly clearer and more detailed than can be found in the app itself.
Jiyuka is relatively simple to use, once you've gotten the hang of it. Initially, you can simply tap the screen to make a random flower appear. Tap again to create another of the same type of flower, or double-tap for a different random flower. To resize the blossoms, you can pinch and drag them as necessary, just as you do in Safari, and you can easily slide flowers around to arrange them to your liking (that being, of course, the whole point here!).
Once you've tested that out, there are plenty of other options to explore with Jiyuka. Simply tap the little wrench in the lower-right corner of the screen to pull up an options menu. From this screen, you can change the Jiyuka's background music (or shut it off entirely) and also change the color of the background for your flowers. There's a camera that allows you to take a snapshot of your current arrangement.
And then there are the two most creativity-inducing abilities: the flower palette, which allows you to create (and save) custom flowers by combining pre-existing flowers together, and the paintbrush mode, which allows you to choose a blossom (or a set of blossoms) and draw or paint with them by brushing your finger across the screen.
While Jiyuka is not necessarily the most exciting app I've ever owned, it's awfully pretty, and a nice way to kill some time, whether you're actually artistic and create lovely arrangements, or if you're silly like me and just try creating magic rainbows out of digital flowers.