Ikonica is another simple & nifty little tool that I came across earlier this week. It’s a fantastic app and a must-have for anyone who designs and develops iOS apps. Ikonica makes previewing iOS app icons on the actual device very easy.
Ikonica consists of a Universal iOS app and a companion Mac app. In the iOS app, you can choose any image from the local camera roll and see how the icon would look on the device. It automatically resizes the icon with rounded corners and as you see a preview, you can swipe the background to see how the icon would look on different backgrounds. You can also customize the background as well as change app’s name under the icon by adding a text of your own. The Mac app sits in the menubar and waits for you to drag and drop image files onto it. So if you’re designing the icon on the Mac, you can simply drag the file and instantly preview it wirelessly on iOS device.
My favorite thing about Ikonica is its use of bright colors and its deliciously gorgeous iOS and Mac app icons. You have to see them. Ikonica’s iOS app costs $3.99 on the App Store while the companion Mac app is Free on the Mac App Store.
Drops First Aid is a beautifully designed iPhone app, part of the Drops learning platform by Dynamisk Helse from Norway. The app guides and teaches you about the steps & checks that need to be undertaken in an emergency situation and does so in a very simple, easy and straightforward way. The app has been designed & developed by the talented folks at Tight.
There are no long articles to read, no 30-minute videos to sit through or no boring instructions. Drops presents simple, brief & precise summaries that teach you exactly what you need to know about the basics. There are five scenarios to learn about —
- Unconscious Person
- Foreign object stuck in throat
- First person at the accident scene
- Internal Bleeding
Tapping on each scenario slides down the remaining cells to reveal immediate summary of steps to undertake. There’s an option to Play Through the scenario that lets you view videos & follow along step by step. The videos are professionally shot with great lighting specifically for the app using Red cameras, and they look great. You can view exactly what steps you can carry out and how to do them. Alternatively, you can read concise instructions in the text form as well. These steps may prove to be immensely useful should you find yourself in such a scenario.
The app has a very beautiful UI and a nice, elegant color scheme. It’s spiffy and works great. There’s an option to remind you again in 30 days to learn again, so you’re always up to date with the instructions. Drops First Aid is just $1.99 on the App Store.
When it comes to quality music apps, iOS leads the pack by an extremely large margin. The iPad in particular with its beautiful and responsive screen, makes for a perfect touch instrument in addition to a processor for audio given its power. When I got an iPod touch 2nd generation, I bought an app called Bebot because I read Jordan Rudess used it. That was my first real music app on iOS. Today the wealth of options available is mindblowing. There are full fledged workstations like Cubasis as well. I love apps that don’t just try and simulate traditional instruments. Chordion by Olympia Noise Co is a beautiful music creation app.
On first look it reminded me of the Star Trek PADD with its colours. Chordion is simple to use and it caters to anyone who just wants to play around with an app and create some music and even musicians looking to get more out of it. The main interface is split up into 3 main sections. The right side has a keyboard that will only have the notes related to the chord played on the left. The left side has hexagonal buttons indicated chords which play either as a chord or as an arpeggio depending on the settings. Both the keyboard and the chord buttons are related to each other so even pressing random buttons will not create something out of tune. The top of the screen is split up into the playback controls that start the drum beat and the left side with controls and other options. The customization options are enough to please almost anyone. You can pick how many chords are displayed, what scale is used, create custom beats and even adjust the reverb among other things for the drum beat. Chordion supports MIDI as well which is a huge plus for many people. As of version 1.2 it supports Audiobus as well which is more or less essential for any new music app on iOS. Chordion lets you create good music easily and with Audiobus you can send the stuff you play in real time to Garageband or even Cubasis.
Chordion is an amazing music application. I wish more music apps worked well for experienced people and people new to an instrument or music in general. Chordion also reminds me of Figure in how easy it makes composing something. Apps like this make me love my iPad even more. Chordion for iPad is available on the App Store for $3.99 and is well worth it.
As someone who watches a lot of movies, I have been loving these new movie apps coming out on the App Store. So far, we have seen TodoMovies 2, the app that boasts a ridiculously good design and a powerful feature-set. It has become my favorite app to explore and manage the movies I want to watch and have watched. There was also ‘Watched’ app that offers a much simpler and elegant experience for managing your movies. Today, another major player enters this market. Limelight, by 9:42 AM is beautiful way to browse, explore & organize your movie library.
9:42 AM is the duo of designer Marcelo Marfil (who we have featured here in our Artist Profile series) & developer Oliver Cameron (also known for Everyme). If you haven’t already figured it out, 9:42 AM is named so because it was when Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007. Limelight is their first app that makes its debut on the App Store today.
Considering Marcelo’s extensive experience, it’s no surprise that Limelight is so gorgeously designed. Your movie library is presented on wooden shelves with the movie posters neatly arranged in threes for you. You can swipe between three sections — To Watch, Watched & Following. Tapping on a movie brings the poster up front & flips around to display the movie’s meta data. You can view the movie trailer is a custom designed video player that also lets you Airplay. The controls are not cluttered like in the default app and they look great. You can view information like the movie’s rating, genre tags & overview on the same screen. Swiping right to left takes you to the Contributors screen that lists all major cast & crew members for that movie. There’s a third tab that lists Similar movies. A little glyph at the top right lets you mark a movie as watched/unwatched, share it with your friends or remove it from your library. Alternatively, you can also bring up these options by tapping and holding down a movie on your library shelves. Movies you have already watched can also be rated.
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We’re nearly halfway into 2013 and the App boom is still on. Everyone wants an app or a responsive website because the rise of mobile continues. Almost everyone has an app idea and a concept. Matthew Panzarino has a great post up on The Next Web on the rise of the App Director. An app idea is useless if only you can see it and people you work with are left clueless. Everything seems to work in your head but getting that point across to someone else isn’t very easy. A director works with scenes and actors and an app designer or entrepreneur needs something great to get a concept across to someone else. This is where Briefs by MartianCraft comes in.
I’ve used a few wireframing tools like Livewires for iPad, the iPhone app POP and even Paper by 53 which is the simplest to sketch something in. Briefs is on a whole other level. It is so much more. While other tools for the same subject are usually standalone applications that do a few things correctly, Briefs takes care of everything. Rob Rhyne has gone through hell with getting the App approved for a few years now. Briefs was finally released on the Mac App Store and there’s even an iOS companion app called Briefscase.
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