A few weeks back I talked about texting, which you should never do while driving. The apps I discussed were dedicated to helping you input text as efficiently as possible. One app even claimed to let you type a message accurately with one hand and with your eyes closed. ( I did this and it worked.)
The problem with the apps I discussed was that they are not integrated such that you can access their cool features from within, say iMessage. I would certainly like to see that happen. It would be absolutely fantastic if we can get a whole new class of apps aimed at enhancing the iOS user interface in ways that suit us, not just Apple. I'm hopeful that iOS 7 will allow such integration.
Inputting text is but one way to relay how we feel. Often a picture expressing our mood or state of mind enhances and even trumps what we say in words.
If I say to you in a text message that I'm angry you may understand my general state, but you most likely won't get the nuance, the subtle, but important differences between being merely miffed and being deep in head splitting rage. A picture, however, can convey that quite nicely.
Case and point:
See the difference? It's subtle, but effective.
There are several apps available that focus on that idea, using small drawings and photos to show whatever emotion or expression we'd like to convey. Unfortunately these emoticons, like the alternative keyboards I mentioned earlier, are not part of any messaging media, you have to paste these picts in. It's an inconvenience that may keep some from bothering, but there is a lot of fun to be had for those who don't mind the extra traps and swipes. I'm going to look at three such apps in this installment of Free on iTunes. Lets get to them.
Emoji New Style Free [11.2 MB, all iOS devices iOS 4.0 or later, Kun Yang]
I showed my friend, Karen, this app and now she punctuates almost ever text conversation with picts from it. Emoji New Style is a bit confusing if you try to read through the Apps Store posting. It looks like you'll get thousands of cute little emoticons that you can easily add to any message. That's not entirely true.
The app does two things; first, it helps you unlock the emoticons built into every iOS device. That process is easy and once done you don't need the app, the emoticons will always be available regardless of the app you use. You should know that the emoticons you've unlocked are only visible to other Apple devices, including computers. Messages that include them will appear garbled on non-Apple devices. (It's the reason they are not available by default.)
Secondly, the app offers 120 little pictures I'm going to call "emotipics". They are icon size graphics of cute characters in various poses and expressions. Select one, tap "Copy to Clipboard," go to your message window and paste. Cute is the best word to describe them.
What's nice about using emotipicts is that they are pictures and can be viewed by any device that can handle pictures sent via SMS/MMS.
If you want more emotipicts you can pay two bucks to upgrade and get more than 200 total.
Emoji New Style Free is definitely worth a look.
SMS Rage Faces [48 MB, all iOS devices iOS 4.3 or later, Robert Lemoine]
I'd seen the Rage Face characters around and thought they were interesting, but never really thought much else about them until I got this app. Now, I wanna slap a Rage Face at the end of every text I send and SMS Rage Face is the best app to get for that purpose.
It has a simple catalog interface to help you find the graphic that expresses just how you feel. Tap the graphic and it's copied to the clipboard. No extra message window to tap close. It even has a direct tap to iMessage. I like that.
And the number of items available is staggering, literally hundreds of weird, funny, disturbing emotipics.
Be warned, these are not intended for young kids. Some include foul language and adult situations.
If you can get beyond my warning then check out SMS Rage Faces.
Pimp My Text [19.9 MB, all iOS devices iOS 4.3 or later, MobGen]
Sometimes you just want to jazz up your text a bit, add some color, maybe a different font. On those occasions you can use Pimp My Text.
It's a simple app with an odd interface. There's a tiny box for you to input your message. It also provides easy access to the built in emojis. Once you've typed in what you want to say you can change the color of the text and background, choose from a fairly limited selection of fonts, even add background textures and text effects.
When you're done pimping out your message you then send it, the app opens iMessage for you.
As I said, it's simple, but it works. Give it a look.
And that's a wrap for this week. Check out this week's Free App of the Week, Sprinkle. It's a cute puzzler where you aim to dose flames.