Remember those yearbook sections where students were voted most likely to succeed or best-looking couple? If the smartphone market were a yearbook, apparently Apple's iPhone would be voted most social.
There's something about music that brings us together. From drum circles to the original Napster, our favorite songs somehow sound better when we share them with other people. Even when we're rocking out to our iPods, we want our friends to know what we're listening to, endlessly tweeting and posting updates to our Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Nwplyng looks to clean up our social feeds with a whole new way to share. Despite its name (Now Playing minus the vowels), it isn't another digital jukebox. Instead, Nwplyng wants to be your favorite app for sharing and discovering new songs by turning the process into something of a competition.
There's a trend these days toward smart calendars. No longer is it enough to just keep track of our appointments; apps like Tempo and Horizon combine our important dates with weather forecasts, contacts, and emails, and even Apple is getting into the act with directions and traffic reports in iOS 7. On the surface, Cal – the first in a planned suite of productivity apps from the creators of Any.Do – seems too simple to compete with this new class of calendar. But while it won't blow you away with powerful features, its slick interface and attention to detail show that smarts aren't just about artificial intelligence.
When it comes to photo-centric social networks, some may shy away from the Facebook-owned Instagram if they prefer a quieter environment for sharing images. But what if you could dial out the noise and actually tame the Instagram experience instead? That’s the premise behind Gramatica for Instagram, a $0.99 app that serves up a handful of features currently overlooked by the photo sharing service. Want to quickly switch between multiple accounts? Prefer to filter out certain tags, photos, or even entire users? Gramatica has your back.
We've seen so many slick and beautifully manicured iPhone apps over the years that it's rare to be wowed by a newcomer. However, Vine does just that when you first pop it open, immediately launching a brief shared video clip without hesitation. And assuming you have a half-decent Wi-Fi or cellular signal going, it simply doesn't stop as you scroll down the feed, with each subsequent six-seconds-or-less clip loading quickly and without prompt, giving you a very small window into the life of whoever was on the other side of that iPhone. Finally, somebody nailed the Instagram-for-video concept. Granted, that "somebody" is Twitter.
Digisocial is the latest free iPhone app with ambitions to become its own mobile social network. Instantly familiar in design to anyone who’s used Instagram or Path, Digisocial adds the ability to send and receive HD-quality voice messages, and even record audio to accompany uploaded images. It’s a clever idea that mostly works as promised – the app is fast and responsive at sending text or voice messages, and it’s quite entertaining the first few times you use it. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think Digisocial is just one announcement away from obsolescence, should an existing rival decide to incorporate the same concept.
In case you haven't heard, MySpace is back and they've got Justin Timberlake! No, don't check the calendar, it's not the first of April and this is no joke. The "new" MySpace is here, but it remains to be seen what that will mean for users.
Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Apple may be tapping into its vast mountain of cash with an eye toward buying The Fancy, a social commerce site that rivals Pinterest and has the backing of Twitter and Facebook co-founders.
Checking in to a location within moments of stepping foot through the door has become such a familiar part of the iPhone experience that it's almost instinctual for many users. For me, though, that Foursquare familiarity turned to disinterest some time back, as I stopped caring about the points-based grind and whether or not I was still the virtual mayor of the ratty mini-mart down the block. Foursquare's recent 5.0 version reboot seems an attempt not only to pull back lapsed users, but also expand its reach and compete with myriad other social discovery apps.
If you simply can’t get enough of social networking apps, you’ll be overjoyed with Mobli, which hit the App Store over the weekend. Billed as “a new real-time visual media platform,” its founders are calling it “what Twitter should have been.”