Can't Get an iPhone 4? Play FarmVille Instead

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Couldn't swing an iPhone 4 today? Can't stand queues? Just fine with your existing iPhone or iPod Touch? No problem.

While everyone else waits for hours today to purchase Apple's decidedly un-magical "mobile phone with benefits," tweeting about standing in line (it involves two legs, the will to remain upright, patience, and--location depending--sunblock), you can recline in your office or at home and just play FarmVille instead.

That's right: As predicted, Zynga's real-time free-to-play farm simulation FarmVille is now available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad owners as a free download.

That's kind of a big deal for a bunch of reasons. For starters, FarmVille on Facebook is big--upwards of 64 million users big, according to leaderboard tracker AppData. Mix with Apple's mobile market presence (headed for 85 million device sales) and you can bet that number's going to climb by the double-digit millions. (Factor FarmVille's brand-recognition in Apple's App Store muddle of some 225,000 apps.)

Second, the iPhone/iPod/iPad (or should we start saying iOS?) version of FarmVille trades its Flash-based Facebook interface for what I'm assuming is HTML5. ("We don't need no steen-king Flash," reads the Jobsian-nee-Machiavellian subtext.) That's bad news for Adobe, even if it's mostly marketing-related bad news at this point.

Third, Zynga's profit model depends on users opting to pay real money for virtual goods. To date, that model's been limited to Facebook users playing through a web browser. Today's iOS release marks the game's biggest expansion since launching last June. With iPhone-specific items available to purchase and special iPhone 4 multitasking and graphical features (plug your ears if you didn't get one today) you can pretty much bank on a revenue explosion.

To be honest, I can't stand games like Farmville, but I'm an outlier: According to an Inside Networks survey, over half of 1,800 FarmVille fans polled play the game every day.

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