Crunching numbers with Amount
Amount is a new iOS app from independent developer Marco Torretta. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, though if the description is to be believed Torretta is planning on making it a paid app in the near future. It’s currently enjoying a feature spot in the New and Noteworthy section of the App Store front page.
Amount is a number conversion app with a simple, elegant design and support for a wide variety of different units in a series of common categories. Upon opening the app, the user is prompted to enter a number, and is then invited to pick a category and unit which they would like to convert this number from. Categories include angles, area, cooking, currency (updated live via the Internet), energy, length, power, pressure, speed, temperature, time, volume and weight. Upon picking a unit type, all the other units in that category immediately update with the converted figures. Tapping one of the other units assigns the original number to the new unit type, and the other units update accordingly. Meanwhile, any of the values displayed on screen may be quickly and easily copied to the device’s clipboard by tapping and holding on them until the “copy” icon appears and a “pop” sound effect plays. It’s simple, fast and efficient.
The app may be customized to a limited degree by either shaking the device or tapping on its title bar to enter Edit mode, at which point the user is able to selectively disable categories or unit types that they are unlikely to need. These can be re-enabled at any time — disabling them simply hides them from the app’s interface when not in Edit mode, allowing the user to streamline the interface to their own requirements as they see fit. Given that many of the categories include a wide variety of different unit types, some of which are only relevant in very specialist situations, the inclusion of this customization facility is very welcome.
The app itself is extremely well designed, with a simple, clean design, an attractive, readable font and subtle but good-looking animation when moving between screens. Understated sound effects also give the user some pleasing feedback from the interface, and can be muted at a moment’s notice simply by flipping the device’s Silent switch. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, though the app as a whole could probably benefit from a simple tutorial or help screen — the app itself doesn’t explain how to enter Edit mode or copy values, for example, nor the fact that it’s possible to navigate forwards and backwards through the various pages simply by swiping to the right or left. This information is all available on the App Store description, but it would be a good idea for it to be included in the app itself, too, since not all users read App Store descriptions thoroughly.
On the whole, Amount is a simple but effective app that performs its functions admirably. It’s well-presented, clearly laid out and intuitive — and at its present price of free it’s an essential download for anyone who doesn’t already have a reliable unit conversion tool on their device.
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