Frame My Photo is a new iOS app from Unity Apps. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store with no additional in-app purchases — though the app description suggests it will only be free for a limited period.
As the title suggests, Frame My Photo is a simple app designed to allow users to quickly and easily add a picture frame effect to photographs from their device’s camera, photo library or their Facebook photo albums. The resulting framed images can then be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email or saved to the device’s camera roll.
Using the app is a simple matter of choosing the image source (camera, Facebook or photo library) and then picking or taking the photograph. This process is occasionally interrupted by pop-up advertising alerts offering free games and the like, but not so often as to be too obtrusive. Importing a photo from the camera or photo library is very straightforward — the photo library option also allows photos to be pulled from iCloud Photo Stream if available — but the Facebook option appears to be broken at present. Tapping on the Facebook option opens the Facebook app (if installed) and then should open the app’s permissions page and allow the user to install it to their social network account — however, when tested, this option steadfastly refused to work, instead giving a non-specific error message (“An error occurred. Please try again later.”) and simply returning to the social network’s News Feed when cancelled. It’s not clear if this is an issue with Facebook or the app itself, but the problem persisted regardless of whether the device was connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, and happened repeatedly.
Phoster is an iOS app from Bucket Labs. It’s currently a free download from the App Store at the time of writing due to its feature spot as Apple’s App of the Week — its normal price is $1.99.
Phoster’s stated aim is to allow its users to create their own posters using a combination of templates, images and text. These posters may then be shared to a variety of social networks or printed out. The app comes pre-loaded with a wide variety of different templates for users to use, many of which use recognizably modern, attractive styles, and each is customizable.
To create a poster, users must first pick a template from the available options. Templates are divided into categories according to the shape of the poster — square, portrait or landscape — and may also be marked as favorites if the user finds a particularly appealing design they would like to reuse. All templates come with placeholder text and space for an image — either in the background of the whole poster or in a dedicated area, depending on the design — which can then be manipulated in various ways.
Postale is an iOS app from 7twenty7 LLC. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Postale’s remit is simple: it allows users to create virtual postcards, then send them to people via Facebook, Twitter or email. Postcards may have one of four different layouts — a portraitwise image with text to the right; a landscape image with text to the right; a vertical layout with a photo at the top and text at the bottom; and a “panoramic” layout featuring a letterboxed image with text above and below.
The first time the user fires up Postale, they are walked through the rather simple process of creating a postcard a step at a time. The tutorial is relatively unobtrusive, but it’s questionable if it’s even necessary, since the app is extremely easy and intuitive to use.
Creating a postcard consists of several steps: choosing a layout, choosing a visual theme from those available — additional packs are available via in-app purchase for $0.99 each — and then customizing the layout with a photo, title and message. Photos can either be taken with the camera or imported from the camera roll, and the app makes use of Aviary’s SDK to allow for fine-tuning and adjustment of the photograph in various ways. Titles and messages can be entered independently, and each may have their own style set by changing the color, size and font of the text. There are a fairly wide selection of commonly-used fonts available in the app, though the widely-despised Comic Sans is nowhere to be seen.
Moovee is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.
Moovee is a very simple app indeed: its sole purpose is to allow its users to shoot short video clips of up to 10 seconds in length, then share them online both via Moovee’s own mobile-social network as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Upon starting Moovee and signing in using either a proprietary account or Facebook, the user is immediately taken to the service’s main feed. From here, videos are displayed one at a time, automatically advancing to the next when the previous one is finished. Each video shows how many times it has been viewed along with any likes and comments it has received, and also provides the viewer the opportunity to do either of these things. A simple double-tap on a video quickly provides a “like”, tapping starts and stops the video and tapping and holding restarts it from the beginning. All content may also be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS/iMessage or the iOS clipboard with the tap of a share button in the corner of the screen.
Shooting and submitting video is a simple matter of tapping the camera icon in the corner of the screen, which immediately takes users to a standard-looking iOS camera display. From here, the user may shoot as much video as they like and subsequently “crop” it to 10 seconds or less using the standard iOS video-editing interface. After the video has been saved and compressed, the user may add a short description, their location data and decide whether or not they would like to include audio. Once this step has been completed, the video is posted online for everyone to see. It’s a quick and simple process with a lot of immediacy.
HitMeUp is an iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s been available for a while now, but has recently released a major update to version 3.1.0 of the app, which has caused it to be featured in the “New” section of the App Store’s Lifestyle category. The app is available now as a free download.
HitMeUp doesn’t make its purpose particularly clear, either in the App Store description or in the now-obligatory pictorial “tour” it displays before prompting users to sign in using either Twitter or their email address. It appears to be an app designed to allow users to see photos in an area along with where they were taken and then vote them as either a “hit” or a “miss,” but the exact reasons for doing this are not made particularly clear.
In order to use HitMeUp, as previously mentioned, the user must register and/or sign in to the service using either a Twitter account or their email address — the latter option was newly-added in the version 3.1.0 update. Once into the app proper, they are shown a map of their current location and are then able to snap a photo, which must have a caption attached to it — the app won’t allow photos to be posted without at least something being written in the caption box. This captioned photo is then recorded at the user’s current location for any other HitMeUp users to stumble across should they be browsing that particular area.
Nudge is a new iOS app from Christian charity Tearfund. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, but presently only in the United Kingdom due to its focus on contacting members of the U.K. government to take action on various issues.
Nudge is an app designed to raise awareness of pertinent social issues ranging from global warming to charitable relief efforts, and which allows users to quickly and easily “take action” on these issues by contacting the relevant people in local or national government.
Upon opening the app, the user is presented with a list of current issues. Tapping on one reveals the full details of the issue along with how many other people have “taken action” through the app. Tapping the “Nudge” button beneath the details of the issue brings up a pre-composed email designed to be personalized and sent to the appropriate member of local or national government. The first time the user does this, they must enter their personal details, including their name, email address, U.K. postcode and address, which is calculated using the postcode. The postcode and address are used to determine exactly who the “Nudge” email should be sent to, as users in different locations around the country will have different people to contact. The postcode finder was a little unreliable at the time of testing, occasionally complaining of being unable to reach the Nudge servers. Closing the app completely from the iOS multitasking bar and restarting it resolved this issue, but judging from App Store reviewer comments, this is not an isolated incident.
GoComics is an iOS, Android and Windows Phone app from Uclick, a division of Andrews McMeel Universal. It’s available now as a free download for all three platforms, and carries optional in-app purchases to temporarily remove advertising through a subscription to the service’s “Pro” account.
GoComics is a companion to the Web service of the same name, which has been offering electronic versions of classic and contemporary comic strips to Internet-based readers since 2005. Content on offer includes political and editorial cartoons as well as established classics such as Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts, other syndicated content and original Web-based comics. The available comics are updated daily, with featured content displayed on the app’s front page in a “slider” interface as well as quick access to both popular and new strips. The archives are also searchable, allowing users to quickly find their favorite strip and, once located, jump back to a specific point in time to view the comic for that day.
The GoComics app is much like using the Web service. It is not necessary to sign up for an account to browse the available content, but doing so provides a number of benefits — most notably the facility to add individual installments of a comic to a “Favorites” list and the whole series itself to a “My Comics” list for easy access at a later time. The user may also connect their account to Facebook, though the exact benefits of doing this are not made particularly apparent in the app itself. Other social features include the facility to share an individual comic on Facebook, Twitter or via email — doing so provides a link to the comic’s Web-based version for anyone to read, regardless of the device they are on.
Cents is a new iOS app from independent developer Marco Bellinaso. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases to unlock full functionality.
As the name suggests, Cents is an app designed for users to track their “micro-expenses” throughout the week and find out where their money is going. The app allows for the creation of up to eight “quick expenses” for items the user purchases regularly — cups of coffee, food, travel tickets, parking and the like — and these may be immediately added to an itemized weekly “receipt” by dragging up the bottom of the app and simply tapping on them. Expenses outside these standard eight may also be added by tapping an “other” button and filling in the price and description.
Each of the eight “quick expenses” may be edited by tapping and holding on their respective button, so if the default prices are incorrect or the user does not regularly buy a newspaper, for example, they can configure the app to work with their own daily routine. The app may also be set to work in one of seven different currencies.
AppySnap is a new mobile app-cum-social game for iOS devices, developed by Chiwawa Ltd. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and carries in-app purchases, all of which remove ads when acquired.
This actually isn’t the first time AppySnap has appeared on the App Store — it first came out back in 2011 as a “photo scavenger hunt” app that challenged players to complete various missions and earn virtual rewards. After a hiatus the team revamped the app completely and the service is back with a new look but the same photo-centric “gameplay” of its predecessor.
Essentially, AppySnap is an asynchronous social game in which players challenge one another to complete specific missions. Users may challenge any of their friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or connections they have made on Appysnap itself, but there is presently no apparent means of challenging a random stranger. This is presumably in an attempt to help prevent abuse of the system, but it would have been nice to have the option, particularly if you are the only person in your circle of friends using the app — there’s no means of actually starting a “game” until one of your friends from the other networks has actually registered for the service and started “playing.”
Handy Photo is a new iOS app from Adva Soft. It’s available now as a $1.99 download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.
Handy Photo positions itself as a semi-professional photo-editing solution for iOS, and the difference between this and the numerous low-quality, cheaply-produced, ad-supported free photography apps is apparent almost as soon as you start using it. This is a powerful piece of software, and with everything it’s capable of, $1.99 is a very reasonable price indeed.
Handy Photo caters to a wide variety of skill levels ranging from the Instagram enthusiast who just wants to apply grungy filters to their photos, to those who have experience with fine-tuning their images using an array of common adjustments. While Handy Photo does not provide the level of depth that, say, Photoshop does, its tools are powerful enough to have a very pronounced and positive effect on one’s image.
Using Handy Photo requires that the user first either take a picture with the camera or import an image. Depending on what hardware they are using, the software supports images of up to 36 megapixel resolution — this is only possible on the very latest iOS devices (i.e. iPhone 5, iPad 3 and iPad 4), however. Previous-generation hardware still fares respectably in the resolution stakes, however — the iPhone 4, 4S and 5th-generation iPod touch can handle images up to 10MP in size; the iPad 2 and iPad mini can work with images up to 15MP in size; and even the 3GS, 4th-generation iPod touch and first-generation iPad are catered to with support for resolutions up to 5MP.