Category Apps

Callism Makes Your Phone a Phone Again

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It’s always great when a third-party app replaces a bad stock Apple app. Mailbox killed Mail, Drafts shamed Notes, Google destroyed Maps, et cetera, et cetera. And now there’s another one for the list – this time for the phone: Callism.

I know what you’re thinking. “I never call people anyway.” But that’s Callism’s point. It simplifies an already infrequent task. Most people find themselves calling only a handful of people, and the process of scrolling through a list of contacts feels redundant. Callism learns from your habits and puts that handful of people at the top of your list. That in itself should be enough to trump the first-party phone app.

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Clear, the App with Timeless Design

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Back in the iOS 6 days (man, remember those days?, there were a few apps that might foreshadow what was to come in the fabled “flat” iOS 7 redesign. One of the most prevalent was a to-do list app called Clear. It was gorgeous – simple color gradients, bold typography, and dead obvious gestures that made the app a delight to use. In the context of the rest of the OS’s awkward linen textures and embossed buttons, Clear stood out as the indisputable way of the future.

So now that we’ve arrived at this less-skeumorphic landscape, how does Clear hold up? Better than ever. In fact, it didn’t take much to return the app to its lead among other iOS 7 redesigns. With the just released Clear+, the typography was lightened, a few UI elements were added, and iCloud syncing was introduced to support a new iPad version.

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Instapaper’s Fresh New Direction

Instapaper Redesign GIF

The app Instapaper‘s been around for a while. Its creator, Marco Arment, introduced it as the first read-it-later service back in 2008. As just a web product, users installed the Instapaper bookmarklet to save articles for reading in their browser. When the iPad came out in 2010, however, things changed and Instapaper became a product all about reading articles on the go. Eventually Arment’s many other projects became a hindrance to Instapaper, and he decided to sell it in hopes of keeping the product fresh.

That brings us to today. The company Arment sold it to, Betaworks, is fresh off their wonderful revamp of Digg; and has been steeping Instapaper in their labs for the past couple months. After a quick testing period, Betaworks released their redesigned web component to the public last week. Kind of like the service’s beginning, Instapaper‘s getting a fresh start in the browser. And taking a look at this redesign, it appears the future’s really shaping up well for the old favorite.

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Blackbar: Not Your _______ iOS Game

Blackbar - An game for iOS

If you don’t know Neven Mrgan, you should. By day he’s a designer at Panic, Inc. where he works on their famous “shockingly good” software such as Coda and Transmit. But by night, Mrgan works in collaboration with others on projects for iOS. Mrgan’s previous game, The Incident, was as much aesthetic as it was fun to play. It nailed an 8-bit look and sound reminiscent of vintage arcade games, combined with a gameplay style that can only be described as the hellish opposite of Tetris.

Mrgan’s latest game, however, is a bit simpler. In Blackbar, the player reads mail. Mhmm. Mail. But the twist lies in that each new piece of mail has large redacted chunks of text – and it’s up to you to figure out what those words are. Unlike most iOS games, Blackbar figured out how to tell a story by simply playing the game. The further you get in your mail, the more aware you become of the dystopian society you and your correspondent live in.

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Hollow icons? A hollow argument.

Hollow icons? Hollow argument

Two days ago a story was published on Medium by a designer named Aubrey Johnson titled Hollow Icons. The story was about “why the practice of creating or using hollow/thin line icons in a user interface is, generally, not a great idea”, specifically the impending change of iconography with iOS7. This theory rubbed me the wrong way, for a few reasons.

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Classic card game Hearts gets a modern (and minimalist) update

Hearts app by aeliox for iOS

I couldn’t tell you the last time I played the old card game Hearts. I remember having a lot of fun playing it as a kid, as it’s a simple (but quite strategic) game of avoiding certain cards which give you points The more points you have, the more you’re losing. Now San Diego designer Keiran Flanigan, who designs under the pseudonym aeliox, has recreated Hearts as a beautifully minimal iOS app.

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Isometric, An App That Helps You Create Geometric Art

Isometric App for iOS

Came across this new app for iOS called Isometric, which is enables you to create some pretty rad geometric art (I made the piece above in about 20 minutes). A 60-degree rhombus is the basis for everything, which means it’s easy to end up with an interesting pattern. You also can save out the images with a “filter” over the top which ends up making your image look like a printed piece or like it’s on a folded poster, etc. You can see a gallery of examples over on the Made With Isometric Tumblr as well, which gives a good idea of the diversity of patterns you can make.

Isometric, An App That Helps You Create Geometric Art

Instagram Receives A Proper Logo, Refining Their Already Strong Branding

New Instagram Logo by Mackey Saturday

Old Instagram Logo

Since Instagram’s release a little under two years ago (it’s only been TWO YEARS) it’s blown up to an unbelievable scale, serving millions of photos everyday. And while the apps features have continued to grow, there was one spot that hadn’t gotten any love since the apps release: the Instagram logo. That problem has now been remedied though thanks to the work of Mackey Saturday.

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