July has been a weird month Apple news wise. It seems like there’s no end to Apple Watch sales speculation. At this point, it’s like picking petals off of the did-they-fail/did-they-not flower. Apple did a good enough job of hiding Apple Watch numbers. The takeaway here is that it’s doing well.. by some measures. Oh and we also got new iPods. You see what I mean by weird.
Talking app wise, July did give us some great apps other than Apple Music and Beats 1. It doesn’t happen often when there’s a hot new social network launching and you have the front row seat to take in all the action. Let’s talk about that and other apps below.
1. Beme – Because what we need to be on social media is completely honest.
It’s not every day you get to see a new social network launch that’s probably going to be huge in the American teen space. Beme (pronounced “Beam” because of course it is) is an app by serial viral video creator and YouTuber Casey Neistat. He’s a pro user of every social network and he wasn’t satisfied with any of the current platforms. So he created his own. It’s a bit like Snapchat.
Users record 4-second clips that goes to all of their followers and can be viewed only once. What’s peculiar about Beme is how you shoot videos. It uses the proximity sensor to automatically record and send videos to your followers. So you don’t see what you record before sending it out. Viewers can tap the screen to send out selfies as reactions. It’s supposed to make social sharing more authentic.
I used a code Casey gave out on his vlog (yeah, I watch them daily, they’re good) to get in the app and I spent some time following people.
I’ve decided the app isn’t for me. At least in India, the reality isn’t pretty enough to be broadcasted without some much-needed editing. Plus, unlike Casey who’s always out doing things, I spend most of my time looking at screens. Doesn’t really make for an interesting viewing. But I thought Beme could be a platform for consumption for lazy people like me. We could follow people like Casey, Ben and others and curse ourselves for not going out enough. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s not even good for that. The 4 second clips are too short to get any context whatsoever. And unlike Snapchat Stories, there’s no chronology to it.
If you’re an American teen obsessed with sharing your live as is and viewing the same for others, Beme is for you. If you’re not, take Beme for a spin and decide for yourself.
2. eMail Widget – Archiving email has never been this easy.
Ok, let’s get back to productivity talk. Back to the comfort zone. Email, it sucks, right? Why else would we see at least 2 top rated email tools on Product Hunt every day and then news posts about the same tools on all major blogs later that day?
This one, though is pretty helpful. eMail Widget ($1.99) is a Notification Center widget for iPhone and iPad that puts 4 of your latest email from Gmail or Google Maps account front and center. You can tap any email to get options to archive it, trash it or star it. You only see the email subject, nothing else. Hit the Refresh button to get more email. It’s really simple.
Because the widget is accessible from literally everywhere in iOS, this is now the fastest way to deal with email. Have 2 minutes to kill? Archive some unnecessary emails you never were going to read in the first place.
3. iShows 2 – TV nerds, meet this nerdy TV tracker for iOS.
There’s no shortage of TV trackers for iOS and my favorite is TeeVee. But it’s now been one-upped by the feature rich and sometimes confusing to use iShows 2. It’s a 2.0 upgrade with a whole new UI. The app is free to use for tracking 4 shows. But if you’re serious about your tracking, you’ll need to pony up for the $3.99 upgrade.
iShows 2 takes a visual approach to TV show tracking. The Discover panel will let you view trending shows. Once you’ve added then, marking an episode as seen just requires a swipe in the TV show’s art. Tap on a show to view breakdown by seasons and episodes. While the app lets you sync TV shows and progress between devices via Trakt.tv, Federico Viticci over at MacStories notes that the sync system is complicated and broken. You need to add the same show manually on all your devices for it to work. There’s a lot of stuff going on with iShows. To know more about it, read Viticci’s review.
4. TodoMovies 4 – Movie nerds, meet this nerdy movie tracker for iOS.
Yup, it’s entertainment week here at TechPP. TodoMovies, another well-established movie tracker for iOS got an upgrade this week with a better UI and support for custom lists. The app makes it really easy to find new movies to watch and track their release. You can be notified about the release in your country.
To me, one of the best things about TodoMovies 4 is how easy it is to view the trailer for a movie. It doesn’t sould like much but you usually have to jump through hoops or multiple websites to view a trailer. In TodoMovies, you just tap the button and the trailer plays right there. Of course, the app only supports 1 trailer so if you’re the kind of person who wants to see the teaser, teaser trailer, red band trailer, official trailer and official trailer #2, this app might not be for you.
The app is free to use but a $2.99 upgrade removes ads and unlocks unlimited custom lists.
5. Microsoft Send – Have I told you how much email sucks yet?
File this under the surprisingly weird. Microsoft, of all people, is trying to make email sexy. Or at least not suck as much. Right now it only supports Microsoft’s services but hopefully they will expand the support.
What Microsoft Send does is it turn email threads into IM messages. So now replying to those work emails can be as easy as trolling your high school friends on WhatsApp. Now that I think of it, maybe this isn’t the best idea. Anyway, try it out for yourself. On if you’re deep in Microsoft’s ecosystem and use and iPhone. But if that’s not you, don’t worry, a similar alternative with a much wider support exists in MailTime.
From The Web – They did it better than I ever could.
Coda for iOS: I’m not a coder but looking at the feature set of Coda for iOS ($9.99) got me a bit excited. The powerful text editor will help you manager your web projects as well as let you SSH into another machine right from your iPhone! And it has a lot more feature. Just checkout the website. If you code on the go, this might just be what you’re looking for.
Prune: Prune ($3.99) is the new artistic and minimalist iOS game everyone’s going gaga about. They’re calling it the new Alto’s Adventure. Which means it’s the new new Mountain Valley. And let me tell you, that’s high praise. In Prume, all you have to do is grow and nurture a tree and keep it away from poisonous substances. I haven’t got around to it yet but if the trailer intrigues you, read some reviews and get started with it.
Huge Touchpress sale: Touchpress probably makes some of the best interactive iPad learning experiences/games. And they’re not just for kids. Till 31st you can grab the best games for a fraction of the original prices. 10 and 15 dollar games are going for 1 to 3 dollars. I’d say get Barefoot World Atlas, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, The Elements and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.