As Apple starts to break out the functionality of the “Music” App, they have provided a New Apple Podcasts App. This makes it easy to go right to the Podcasts App, search, subscribe, and play the audio and video podcasts that you want without having to find them in the Music App. I downloaded this free App and was pleasantly surprised to see that two of my downloaded podcasts were there and ready to play. Like the iBooks App the App is designed to allow you to see your existing content or flip it over to see the “Catalog” of available podcasts. You can either stream an episode right in the App, download it for later viewing or subscribe so that future episodes are automatically downloaded.
The App is pretty basic, and does exactly what it describes. It’s a Universal App that works natively on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. I’d love to see a “genius” feature that would recommend new podcasts based on the ones that I’m already subscribed to.
The concept is simple and it's not a new one. There are a few different Apps on the App Store that let you turn your iDevice photos into printed post cards that can also be mailed to just about anyone. All you have to do is build the card in the App and the service takes care of the printing and mailing. Apple has entered this arena with custom greeting Cards. The Cards App is simple you start with a category and then once you pick the card you like from a given category you are three steps away from having a custom greeting card sent to a friend, colleague or family member. If the card you choose allows for a picture on the outside or inside you'll get to choose one of the pics on your iDevice. Then you can edit the text on the inside and lastly address the envelope before placing your order. Thankfully the App let's you pull address from your Contacts to speed up the process. These Letterpress cards run $2.99 and that's complete with envelope and postage.
Nice but it could be better
First off I'm a little surprised that this isn't a Universal App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. While it does work on all iOS devices it doesn't take advantage of the iPad's screen size. Portrait cards get no love in this App either. Everything is landscape. While landscape only cards aren't the end of the world, the designs are fairly basic too. Luckily some designs don't require a photo. While I love photos, not every card situation requires one. I'm also a bit surprised that Apple doesn't allow you to "sign" the card. After all you are on a touch device and a "handwritten" signature option would be a nice touch. Lastly, because the cards are mailed through the postal service as regular 1st Class Mail, you have no tracking info. Apple doesn't say where the cards are being mailed from, so you can't really guess about delivery times. Aside from these little things (I actually expected a little more from Apple), the App does work as advertised and it makes sending custom greeting cards pretty painless.
UPDATE – you do get a status Push Notification
I sent two cards out on two different days. The 1st one went out and got delivered yesterday and I had no idea about when it would be delivered. However, today low and behold I just got a push notification on my iPhone stating that the card arrived at the local post office and should be delivered today. Scratch that from my gripes
You can get Cards for Free here from the
As every year, Apple has decided to have their 12 Days of Christmas from today and on. Make sure you download their app and check it every day for new free stuff (music, apps etc.).
First out today is Coldplay's live-EP, recorded live (no kidding!) during the iTunes festival in London this summer. Nobody but Apple knows what is going to be available tomorrow, but don't forget to open the app tomorrow and find out.
NOTE: This app is only available for European stores and as an addition this year, Canada. If you use the US iTunes Store, this app is not available for you.
The Movie Trailers feature of Apple TV has been a long time favorite of mine. When friends come over we sometimes kill a little time just watching trailers and discussing upcoming movies. Before Apple TV you could also do this via the Apple QuickTime website. There are lots of ways to watch movie trailers, but one thing Apple has done well with this is the user interface and high quality nature of the trailers themselves with many streaming in HD. I always liked the Movie Poster way of seeing which trailers were available as well as doing searches. Apple has now brought this experience to iOS.
iTunes Movie Trailers on your iDevice
As you would expect Apple has done a good job with this App in that it looks very much like the Apple TV experience. You can scroll through the movie posters or do searches. Once you tap on a trailer you can choose to play it or in many cases see still photos in a gallery. Surprisingly the photos can be saved to your camera roll, tweeted or emailed. Beyond looking at trailers and stills the app goes further by giving you a calendar of movies that are about to hit theaters as well as what's already in theaters. You can save favorites of trailers and theaters.
This App just about does it all (almost). I'm not quite ready to give up Flixster just yet. There is no movie rating feature in Apple's App. While you can see Rotten Tomato ratings, you can't rate it yourself and share those ratings with friends. Also there is no way to buy movie tickets from within the App. I would very much like this to be the only App I need, but until Apple adds a couple more features I'll still need to keep at least one of my others. Other than that, iTunes Movie Trailers is a great App and there is no reason not to have it!
You can get iTunes Movie Trailers for Free here from the
One thing is for sure and that is Apple is aggressively removing all obstacles from people that just want to use an iDevice and may not even have a computer. With iOS 5 you can now setup and use an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch without ever having to sync it with a computer. You can download media directly to it as well as back it up to iCloud. So let's say you buy an iPad and an AirPort Base Station to be your wireless access point. If you didn't have a computer, how would you setup your new AirPort?
AirPort Utility for iOS
With the AirPort Utility App you can now not only setup your AirPort base station, but you can manage all of the settings going forward. The App is basic without many frills. Once you launch it it will identify any AirPort Base Stations in range. You can then access and change any of the settings. The App does what it claims to do and while the graphical interface is pretty plain for an Apple App, it works! It's a universal App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It does require iOS 5.
This is one more thing added to a growing list of things that I can do from my iDevices that I don't need my computer for anymore.
You can get the AirPort Utility for Free here from the