Posts Tagged ‘Feature’

7-Minute Workouts? There Are (Many) Apps for That!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

uovo 7 minute workout iconA couple of months ago I read a New York Times article on the 7-Minute Workout and how it appears that even very short (but intense) workouts can be as physically beneficial as longer workouts. The New York Times refers to an article in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal that advocates an intense 7-minute regimen of exercises that alternately targets the major muscle groups of your upper body and legs with short breaks in between. Using just your body weight, a chair, and a wall, you can lose body fat, improve your overall fitness, and more according to recent research.

These seven minutes aren’t meant to be pleasant but they apparently can be very effective. But staying on track during this short but intense workout can be a challenge and developers saw fit to give you the guidance and motivation you needed to get through them with iPhone apps. There are a bunch of 7-minute workout apps in the App Store now and a few of the paid ones just went free recently.

The main screens of each app described below, in order

Ivory Consulting’s 7 Minute Workout – With Voice Prompts debuted in the App Store just last week at $.99 and its price just dropped to free yesterday. It will guide you vocally through all of the exercises with 20-second and 10-second countdown notices and announcements of the next exercise you need to complete. It includes links to videos showing each exercise but doesn’t include any text descriptions. It has basic calendar and reminder functions to track your workout completion over the past 30 days and remind you to do the workout again tomorrow.

It’s not clear if these apps will remain free for good or if these are only temporary price drops so act quickly if this 7-minute workout phenomenon has piqued your interest. Out of these three apps, I’ll be keeping UOVO’S The 7 Minute Workout on my iPhone since it has the best vocal countdowns, which are important to me with intense, maximum effort exercises like these.

Before you try this or any type of workout, please see your doctor to make sure you’re physically able to do these without injuring yourself. And if you’re in an area suffering through the current heat wave, stay cool!

Mail Premium Handwritten Cards with ‘Felt Cards’ for iPad

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

While digital cards are certainly quick and easy to create and send, they don’t quite do it for me when it comes to thanking someone formally or congratulating someone on the birth of a baby. For these events, a physical card printed on heavy cardstock graced with my (not-so-great) handwriting feels most appropriate. But getting to a store to find just the right card in a timely manner is not something I’m good at. Fortunately, Colorado-based Felt has an easy solution if you have an iPad in the form of an app, Felt Cards.

Felt Cards offers you a virtual catalog of greeting cards for a variety of situations from birthdays to graduations as well as some general cards that can be used for anything. You craft the message inside and even address the virtual envelope with your own handwriting (you can use your finger though I’d recommend a stylus to get the best results). Felt prints the card and envelope and drops it in the mail for you for just $3.99.


Click to enlarge

As I write this post, there over 40 cards available to choose from though there are still several Mother’s Day cards in the selection (Mother’s Day is celebrated later in the year in other countries but it’s already passed in the US, which is currently the only country where Felt cards can be sent) and there are duplicates of others, oddly.

Once you choose a card by tapping on it, you’re presented with a view of the card’s interior. On the left is a slide-out menu with a few pen and color choices plus a virtual eraser. A wrist protector can be slid up from the bottom of the screen so you can rest your hand on the iPad as you write without making any stray marks. After you’ve finished writing your message, you address the envelope next using the same set of virtual tools.

Here’s a promo video showing Felt Cards in action:

Once your card is ready, you go through a checkout process to pay for your card with a credit card and create a Felt account to save your payment details for later use.

I used Felt Cards to send a card to a friend and the process was easy and straightforward. I would have preferred to pay via in-app purchase rather than entering my credit card details or needing to create yet another single-use account, though. The folks at Felt were kind enough to mail me a sample card so I could see the print quality in advance. Felt uses Mohawk card stock and a kraft paper envelope and both felt substantial and not at all cheap, which is perfect. And the $3.99 price tag is comparable to what you’d pay to buy a nice greeting card in a store. Felt Cards is definitely going to stay on my iPad so I can send personalized cards for any occasion without needing to get to a store or hunt down a stamp.

  • Lifestyle

    Felt Cards

    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (159)
    Version:
    2.0
    iOS iPad

    Write and send real, handwritten cards and photos in the real mail—all from your iPad. Now introducing Storyframes for iPad, just in time for the Holidays. A whole new way to share your story...

‘Clever Lotto’ for iPhone Keeps You on Top of Powerball and Mega Millions

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Though the recent record-setting Powerball jackpot of nearly $600 million has been won by some incredibly lucky person in Florida, another jackpot is already building. And if you’re a regular player or you only buy a ticket when the jackpots are big, Formigas’s Clever Lotto for iPhone will keep your numbers straight and alert you when there’s a significant pile of money to be won.

Clever Lotto focuses on the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries available in the US. The app will show you the current jackpots for each lottery and the most recent winning numbers. You can also keep track of your own tickets by entering the numbers you’ve played and if you win, Clever Lotto will even send you a push notification to you alert you.

Clever Lotto shows you the total amount you’ve spent on tickets, how much you’ve won, and other assorted statistics as well. It even shows you statistics about the winning lottery numbers, displaying how often each number has been drawn over time if that’s something you like to consider as you make your ticket selections.

I’m the type of person who buys a lottery ticket only when the jackpot is large enough to make the evening news (I try to play one set of the same numbers each time and let the computer pick the rest) but Clever Lotto has still been useful for me, a once-in-a-blue-moon player. If you missed trying your luck with this last jackpot and don’t want to miss the next big one, Clever Lotto is worth a download. It’s $2.99 but if it helps you win thousands or millions in the lottery, it’s totally worth it, right? All you need is a dollar $2.99 and a dream and all that jazz.

  • Utilities

    Clever Lotto - Mega Millions...

    Last Changed:
    14 months ago
    Rating:
    5.00 (26)
    Version:
    1.2
    iOS iPhone

    “Tons of lottery news and information right at your fingertips...” » ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ tapscape.com « “Clever Lotto is easily worth its price of entry.” » ★ ★ ★ ★...

‘Lost Photos’ Extracts Pictures from Your Email Inbox

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I have tons of photos that were emailed me to me over the years from friends and family and I’ve never done anything constructive with them. Yes, I looked at them when they were first sent to me and ooohed and aaahed accordingly but I inevitably forgot about them and they’ve remained in the picture purgatory that is my email inbox. Going through the thousands of emails in my personal inbox to find them would take forever and it’s not even on any of my ever-expanding to do lists. Thankfully, Space Inch has an easy solution with Lost Photos for Mac, a utility that will hunt down all the pictures in your email accounts and extract them for your viewing and organizing pleasure.

Lost Photos logs into your email account (it works with the major email services like Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, and others and Space Inch promises your log-in information is not saved anywhere and is transmitted securely) and combs through your emails one by one to pull out pictures. The pictures found are shown in a slider view within Lost Photos and you can choose to post any on Facebook, Twitter, or send them via email. Once the search is complete, which took about 20 minutes for the 3,000+ emails in my iCloud account inbox, you can also elect to import all of the photos into iPhoto. If you’d rather not do that, all of these extracted pictures are placed in a new folder in your Photos folder so you can browse through them in one place at your leisure.

Lost Photos is free to download and will extract the first 100 photos for free. To get unlimited photo extraction functionality, you’ll need to pay $2.99 via in-app purchase.

Looking through the extracted pictures found by Lost Photos was like taking a short trip down memory lane. I found pictures that I’d completely forgotten about from past trips and events that I really should have made an effort to save when I first received them and it was really nice to get them all in one place.

Lost Photos was a bit too thorough in at least one respect, though. It pulls every single image from your emails, including those in email signatures. These email signature images, which are usually company logos, are pretty much useless to me and I wish there was a setting to ignore them (there is a setting to skip pictures smaller than 8 KB but some still sneak through). At any rate, if you can deal with the chaff that comes with the wheat, it’s still worth getting all of those long lost pictures that have accumulated in your inbox in one place.

  • Photography

    Lost Photos

    Last Changed:
    8 months ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (93)
    Version:
    2.0
    Mac OS

    Ever sent images via email? Find the lost ones with the Lost Photos. It's a simple and wonderful app that helps you find photos buried deep in your email, so you never lose the memories again. Get it...

Go Back in Time to the Early Days of Mac OS with ‘Classic Note’ for iPhone

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

If you’re a long-time Mac user and remember the early days of the Macintosh operating system with fondness, you can get a dose of history on your modern iPhone with Classic Note, a notes app that debuted in the App Store last week.

Classic Note replicates the look of the early versions (from the 1980s and 1990s) of Mac OS, complete with the Chicago font designed by Susan Kare, pixelated everything, and a stark black and white interface.

As a notes app, it’s very simple with no bells or whistles whatsoever. The first line of a note is used as its title, which is visible in the main view. Within a note, you can enter whatever text you’d like though URLs entered or pasted are not clickable. You can’t paste or attach any pictures to your notes to gussy them up, nor can you change the order of your notes.

Classic Note is in the App Store’s Entertainment category rather than the Productivity category, a selection that feels right given its limited functionality compared to other more “serious” notes apps.

Click to enlarge

Classic Note does have a few other tricks up its sleeve in the Tools menu. There’s a basic calculator so you can do some number crunching without needing to switch to another app. A Fortune function gives you a random quote or adage, like a virtual fortune cookie. The last item in the Tools menu is Wrangler, a simple game of sorts in which you need to “catch” Clarus the DogCow, another Susan Kare design element from the early days of Mac OS. However, no amount of tapping or dragging to try to catch Clarus actually resulted in an increase in my score, so I have no idea how to play this game.

Classic Note is for the iPhone only though an iPad version is in the works according to a tweet by its developer, David Green.

If you need a notes app that syncs across multiple devices or is accessible on your computer, you’ll want to go with a more robust option like Clear (my review) or Paperless. If you don’t need much in the way of functionality and want a little reminder of days gone by, Classic Note is a charming choice.

  • Entertainment

    Classic Note

    Last Changed:
    12 weeks ago
    Rating:
    5.00 (51)
    Version:
    1.3
    iOS iPhone

    Take your notes like it's 1985. Classic Notes puts the days of one-button mice and 3.5" floppy disks in your pocket, without breaking your back.

Get a Free App Each Week Through ‘Starbucks’ for iPhone

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Starbucks expanded its “Pick of the Week” program to iOS apps in 2011, offering cards with download codes in its stores for patrons to get paid apps for free. As reported by CNET, Starbucks is now offering the ability to download the Pick of the Week app directly through its Starbucks iPhone app or through the Starbucks Digital Network, the free Wi-Fi network available in its stores.

In the iPhone app, you can now see the Pick of the Week app in the Messages section. Within that message is a download button that will generate a free redemption code for you behind the scenes and take you right to the App Store app to download the current week’s offering. Once you enter your iTunes password to complete the redemption, your download will begin.

This week’s Pick of the Week is Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars for iPhone, which is a nice start to kick off the expansion of Starbucks’s partnership with Apple. Even if you don’t frequent Starbucks, it’s totally worth it to download Starbucks for iPhone and join the the company’s loyalty program (which is free) just so you can receive the messages and get the Pick of the Week app each week.

  • Food & Drink

    Starbucks

    Last Changed:
    2 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (4980)
    Version:
    3.2
    iOS iPhone

    The Starbucks® app for iPhone® is the quickest, easiest way to pay for your coffee—no wallet necessary. The app is completely redesigned with an improved interface, a more personal dashboard...

Get Your Taxes Done with ‘TurboTax 2012’ for Mac

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Last week, I highlighted Intuit’s TurboTax SnapTax for iPhone, a free app you can use to complete your tax returns quickly and easily for those with basic tax filing needs. But if your tax situation is more complex, you’ll want to check out Intuit’s desktop app, TurboTax 2012, for Mac instead.

TurboTax 2012 is a full-featured tax preparation app that will walk you through everything you’ll need to submit your federal and state tax returns electronically or by mail. It can’t import your information from your W-2 or other forms using your Mac’s camera like the iPhone version can but it covers far more scenarios includes error checking and tax return maximizing features.

TurboTax 2012 debuted in the Mac App Store in January and is free to download and use and you only pay (via in-app purchase) when you’ve completed your taxes and need to file them. The app’s description states that filing a federal return starts at $29.99 and there are other options to cover more extensive filing needs.

The recent Mac App Store reviews for TurboTax 2012 are pretty negative on the in-app purchase scheme here, with the primary theme in these focusing on the need to pay for each tax return you complete. So if you normally file returns for friends or other family members, know that this Mac App Store version will require you to pay for each of them separately, which isn’t explicitly described in the app description.

  • Finance

    TurboTax 2012

    Last Changed:
    19 months ago
    Rating:
    2.50 (165)
    Version:
    1.0.9
    Mac OS

    Keep more of your hard earned money with TurboTax. We guarantee you’ll get every dollar you deserve. We’ll do the math, and we’ll fill out all the tax forms for you. Try it for free – pay...

File Your Taxes with ‘TurboTax SnapTax’ for iPhone

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The deadline for filing income taxes in the US is almost here and if you normally wait until the last minute, you should know that there’s a super easy way to get it all done with just your iPhone and an app: Intuit’s TurboTax SnapTax.

SnapTax first debuted in the App Store in time for the 2011 tax season and it’s received several updates since then. The app allows you to use the iPhone’s camera to take pictures of your W-2 and a few other common forms, extracting the information from them so you don’t need to enter much manually. Beyond this, you answer a few additional questions and then verify all of your information.

Here’s Intuit’s promo video for SnapTax – the narrator is way too chipper to be talking about a tax app and it doesn’t show too much of the app itself but it should at least give you decent idea of how it works:

SnapTax gives you a running estimate as you enter information of your tax refund or the amount you owe the government. Once you’re done, you can file your taxes right through the app. Downloading SnapTax is free but it will cost you $24.99 via in-app purchase to file your federal and state returns through the app.

Note that SnapTax is really meant for those with fairly basic tax filing needs. If you own a home, earned more than $100,000 in 2012, or earned income from other sources beyond your job or bank interest, you’ll need to file your taxes another way. If you can use SnapTax, you can be pretty confident it will be easy and accurate if its overall 5-star rating from over 9,000 users in the App Store is any indication.

  • Finance

    TurboTax SnapTax - Complete and...

    Last Changed:
    7 months ago
    Rating:
    5.00 (21)
    Version:
    3.7
    iOS iPhone

    Snap It. Tap It. Done. Get your taxes done right and e-file securely in as few as 10 minutes.* You don't have to be a tax expert. We do all the hard work for you and you get your biggest tax refund,...

Tired of Endless Runners? Check Out Verticus, an Endless Faller

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Endless runners are about as common in the iPhone and iPad space as third-person, cover-based shooters are in the console world. There’s a lot and most feel derivative. That’s why when Verticus came along, it sorta grabbed me. It’s an endless runner, except instead of running you’re playing a character who’s falling. That doesn’t sound like much, but the sense of speed, momentum, and the different perspectives that come with this conceit are a welcome change of pace for a clotted genre.

Plus, there’s the feel of Verticus, which is pretty unique. As you fall, you navigate a 3D column of air, gently gliding around hazards that shoot up towards you. The speed at which you fall feels pretty fast, which is a nice contrast to the more slow, calculated kind of movements you’ll need to do in order to avoid hazards. The amount of scenery you chew as you do this is a nice bonus. You start in the air, move into the heart of some sort of sci-fi mega city, and then travel into the craggy, molten core of the planet.

The hazards are mines for the most part — immovable objects that blow up or freeze you if you bang into them. Later, you’ll run into enemies that fire lasers. As you fall, you’ll need to collect the purple currency that appears at random intervals. With this currency, you can buy upgrades like cooler suits, more health, and even guns for shooting those aforementioned moving mines. It takes awhile to collect enough coins for the higher-tiered upgrades, so you’ll be playing for awhile if the action ends up clicking with you.

Here’s another neat thing: Stan Lee, the dude who co-created the Hulk, Spider-Man, and dozens of other comic book heroes, worlds, plots, and villains in the Marvel universe, is plastered all over Verticus. His name, voice, and image are all prominent. He’s the narrator as well as several characters. It’s hard to miss him.

The connection goes a bit deeper than just a name on a logo. In some ways, the rest of Verticus’s constituent parts feel like a love letter to the campy Marvel comics Lee had a hand in. There’s plenty of overdone narration and over-the-top voice-acting, and the game stars a fairly unremarkable hero. That is to say, he’s more human than a hero — or at least, that’s the impression that I get.

Verticus is tough; it’s a hard game to beat. But it’s just as hard to put down. Give it a look if you’re in the market for another kind of endless game and are pretty tired of the legions of Temple Run derivatives out there.

Also, if you want a better deal, throw this up on your Wish List. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been off and on sale. There was even a period when it was free.

  • Games

    Verticus

    Last Changed:
    23 months ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (740)
    Version:
    1.1.2
    iOS Universal

    ☆ Named a Best iPhone and iPad Game of 2012 by TouchArcade (Endless Runner category) ☆ ☆ Second Place, Best Lead Character - 148 Apps' 2012 Best App Ever Awards ☆ Stan Lee, the legendary...


Brad Nicholson is a full-time editor at TouchArcade and has been published at other gaming-centric web sites like Giant Bomb and MTV Multiplayer. When he’s not writing about games, he’s usually at the gym lifting heavy things. He’s cool with typing in ALL CAPS.

‘Gift Plan’ for iPhone Keeps Your Present Ideas in Order

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The holiday shopping season is now in full force and if you’re buying a lot of gifts for a lot of different people, you can get help keeping track of everything with Gift Plan by Glasshouse Apps. Gift Plan is an app that will let you track all of your important occasions and holidays and the people in your life you need to buy gifts for.

Gift Plan’s key interface elements are presented in four tabs: a calendar, gift ideas, occasions, and a shopping list. The calendar tab shows you a month view and tapping on a date shows you all of the people you’ve tagged as a gift recipient for the selected occasion in the area below.

The Ideas tab is where you make up your gift shopping list, allowing you to quickly jot down something you see in a store or come across online, complete with snapping a photo of it, or copying and pasting a URL into the Notes field. If you already have a recipient in mind, you can “assign” it to a specific person or leave it unassigned to hold on to it as a general gift idea.

The Occasions tab is where you define all of those gift-buying-worthy occasions, like holidays and anniversaries. The Shopping tab shows all of the items you’ve marked as “to buy” in your Ideas list and provides a handy total in the top right corner so you know how much money you’re about to spend if you buy everything on your list.

You don’t have to do birthday and people entry manually – Gift Plan can import people (and their birthdays, if you’ve saved them) from your iPhone’s Contact list or from your Facebook friends list. For each person saved, you can even enter their likes/dislikes and clothing sizes. When it comes to getting reminders about upcoming occasions, you can get push notifications up to three weeks in advance to give you enough lead time to get to a store to get your shopping on.

Here’s a demo video prepared by Glasshouse Apps– it’s a couple of years old now but still shows the main features still present in the current version of Gift Plan:

There are a couple of things about Gift Plan that could be improved. While I love the calendar view to give me a visual representation that is the most meaningful to me when I need to do something by a certain date, I wish that the area below would automatically show the recipients for the next occasion on the calendar. As it stands, Gift Plan doesn’t make good use of the entire screen by showing me absolutely nothing below the month view unless I tap on an occasion date. And adding gift ideas takes a lot of tapping on a lot virtual buttons and different screens and looking at an app like Clear makes me believe that there could be a much more fluid and streamlined way to do this.

With all of its features to manage multiple gift-giving occasions and a large number of gift recipients, Gift Plan might be overkill if you’re looking for an app to help with just your Christmas shopping but at only $2.99, it’s likely to be one of the cheapest things you’ll buy within the next few weeks and can help you stay sane as the holiday shopping madness season continues.

  • Productivity

    Gift Plan

    Last Changed:
    6 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.00 (331)
    Version:
    1.8.6
    iOS iPhone

    Perfect for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day... Gift Plan is the app for every occasion! If you're like most people, there have been many occasions when you've been stuck for...