21 Nov Improve Your iOS 7 Experience With These 5 Apps
By now, users of Apple’s updated mobile OS, iOS 7 would have been exploring the new interface for a while now, getting used to the new flat design and the new features.
Many developers have had to redesign and update their apps to provide the best possible experience for users on iOS 7. Some of these apps have been redesigned so well, that they either offer a much better experience to users than some of the native iOS 7 apps, or extend these apps so they are much more functional.
To see how you can improve your experience using iOS 7, check out these iOS 7 optimised apps below!
While the Do Not Disturb feature was actually included in the iOS 6 release, iOS 7 built upon this functionality by allowing you to not only schedule periods of time to block calls and messages, but also to block particular contacts or numbers.
Call Bliss aims to take this one step further, by allowing users to set location-based preferences.The app uses location services to determine where you are, and based on your preferences, will automatically turn call blocking on or off. The app will also automatically update which contacts to allow and which ones to block, which takes one thing off from a very busy mind. To demonstrate, when at work you can limit the calls to your spouse, children and colleagues, but as soon as you step out to lunch all other calls are allowed. You can also create a list for callers that are “always allowed”, that will let callers in this group contact you anywhere and any time.
For the times when you just don’t want to be disturbed from unknown callers or telemarketers, you can activate the “Blacklist Mode” to barr any calls from these contacts coming through, while allowing all other contacts through. “Suppress All Mode” acts like the Do Not Disturb feature in iOS, by preventing all calls from coming through.
So, if you need a smarter dialer app that lets you work uninterrupted without missing calls from important people, Call Bliss is for you!
Apple’s Reminders app is a great native solution to jog your memory. It provides location and time based prompts, creating a much more dynamic and relevant reminder experience. However, where Reminders falls short, is the list management, by offering tiny checkboxes that don’t quite give you that real sense of accomplishment when getting things done.
Clear aims to address the shortfalls of the Reminders app, by providing a great To-Do app completely redesigned for iOS 7.
Its design is colourful and minimalistic, which relies on simple gesture controls to create a great experience for users. To cross something off of your list, simply swipe, pulling down creates a task and pinching a list closes it.
When viewing your lists and related tasks, Clear has slightly different experiences for the iPhone and iPad. On the iPhone, the view will only show you a single list of lists or tasks. However, on the iPad, Clear makes the most of the bigger screen real estate by splitting the main window into two columns: on the left your master list of lists (e.g. Personal, Work, Shopping etc), on the right the list of tasks associated to the selected list. The larger screen helps you stay organised and gives you more context when viewing a list.
The app makes use of iCloud, to enable users to sync their lists and tasks between iOS devices and your Mac. You can also email lists, with recipients able to view the list in plain text within the body of the email or add the list to Clear on their own iOS device.
So, for better list and task management, Clear is a great app optimised for the iOS 7 experience.
Another organisational tool, Fantastical takes aim at Apple’s Calendar app to provide you with a great voice controlled day to day planner.
While Apple’s Calendar achieves what any standard calendar app should, the scheduling is not all that dynamic.
Fantastical brings Siri-like functionality into appointment scheduling and reminders. The app uses natural language processing to add events (including recurring events) and alerts to your calendar, so you don’t have to follow a particular script for the app to work. Just say something like “Networking Lunch With Stephen On Tuesday at 11am” and the app will add your appointment. For events with an address, Fantastical will display a map, showing you where to go. The app also makes it easy to get in touch with invitees, allows users to quickly call, email or message invitees with updates or additional information.
To get an overview of your schedule for the week, you can access a week view of your calendar by simply turning your iPhone sideways. For an overview of your day (or individual days of the week), the app also offers a DayTicker view, a great way to view a schedule that allows users to slide through the days of the week rather than having to open the day from the month view. The DayTicker and the event list are connected, meaning whenever you add an event, simply swipe the list and the DayTicker will be updated.
The reminder functionality is quite full featured too, as it is integrated seamlessly with the native iOS Reminder app. You can add, edit and manage your reminders, in addition to setting location and time based parameters for your reminders.
Any links contained in the reminder or the event can optionally be opened up in Google Chrome, and directions can also be optionally opened up in Google Maps. You can also search the app for particular events using keywords such as “lunch”, so you don’t have to trawl through your calendar to find a particular event.
Another voice control centric app, Rev tackles the Voice Memo category.
The native Voice Memo app on iOS 7 is great for casual use, being straightforward and easy to use. However, for those that like to use Voice Memos extensively, it can become a frustrating user experience, with the app’s recordings synced through iTunes instead of the phone’s OS and the files generated being quite large. The large size of the files means that they cannot be emailed, which is major drawback for most users.
While Rev also provides a simple interface, which makes it easy to record voice memos, it also gives users some extra features that help them get the most out of Voice Memos. The app allows you to continue recording in the background if other apps are open or if the phone has gone to sleep, ensuring you don’t miss a thing. The app also pauses the recording for any incoming calls and other interruptions, handy for the busy professional.
Once you’ve completed the recording, you can trim the recordings to ensure that any unnecessary information is kept out. You can also append more audio to your recordings should you feel the need to add something extra. If you need to locate a particular voice recording quickly, you can search for it by name, location or date.
Perhaps the best feature of the app, is the push-button voice-to-text service, which uploads the file to a remote transcriptionist, who types up the file with 98% accuracy within 48 hours. While the transcription costs $1 a minute, the accuracy and speed of the transcription process make it worth while. To add a time stamp and verbatim services will cost 25 cents per minute extra. Once complete, the text files are both emailed to the user and linked to the recording in the app, which makes it super easy to access and share your voice memos.
When it comes time to save or share the recording, you can set the app to automatically store the recordings with Dropbox, as well as being able open the files with Evernote, Google Drive, and Box.net (however, you must have those apps installed on your phone). You can download the recordings onto your computer as well via iTunes File Sharing and recordings can be sent to other via email directly from the app.
Certainly not a newcomer to the note taking and organisation arena, Evernote have redesigned their iOS app to get the most out of iOS 7. If you need something more than just a simple note taking app (such as the native Notes app), Evernote is a great alternative.
The home screen of the app has been completely redesigned, with the design of the update notifications similar to that used in iOS7. Following in the footsteps of the iOS 7 redesign, the designers of Evernote have also done away with the skeuomorphic design elements such as real looking folders, opting instead for a flat, simple interface.
As with previous versions of the Evernote app, you can create and edit text notes, to- dos and task lists as well as being able to sync all of your notes across all of your devices (i.e. smartphone, tablet, computer). Both notes and files can also be saved, synced and shared, via email or through Facebook or Twitter. You can also record voice or audio notes, and save tweets. In terms of organising all of your content, Evernote allows you to categorise your notes using tags or file them away in notebooks.
So what’s new for iOS 7? Notes can now be added to images and PDFs with new, clean markup tools, in addition to making use of the AirDrop technology included in the iOS 7 update, which makes it easy to share notes instantly with people close to the user.
Upgrading to premium allows users to take notebooks offline to access them whenever they need to, as well as allowing others to edit your notebooks and protecting your app with a PIN.
If you have any other great apps that have been optimised for iOS 7, share them with us in the comments below!