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Instagram Adds Video, thumbs nose up at Vine

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Apparently the folks at Instagram (Facebook) weren’t happy with Vine (Twitter) being so popular and they decided to add Video support to their popular photo sharing app. With the new 4.0 version of Instagram you can now post either pictures or up to 15 seconds of video with sound. Like some users I have mixed feelings about this. I think Instagram was doing pretty good at what it was already doing. Trying to be all things to all people rarely works. I would have almost rather seen them come up with a separate App for video so that people that want to post videos could do so and build a following of their videos. Nonetheless, it’s here and it’s probably here to stay. There are no surprises here in the interface. It works the way you would expect it to (very Vine like). You can switch from Camera to Video. You can hold down the record button to record continuously or do stop motion by tapping the button. I was a little surprised that you couldn’t choose an existing video on your camera roll though. This means you won’t be posting videos that you didn’t capture with your phone. That’s both good and bad. When recording your new Instavideo you can tap to focus. You can delete bad takes and once you have your masterpiece you can apply any one of 15 filters to it before posting. Thankfully since the videos can have sound you can turn OFF the autoplay feature in the preferences. Many will want to do that immediately. Nothing like scrolling through photos only to have a random video start blaring . It would be nice to have a pref to turn off videos period, but turning off autoplay will suffice. That means that I’ll only have to watch video that I actually want to watch by tapping to play them.

I like Instragram because it’s my one stop shop for posting pictures to social media. I simultaneously choose to post to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Email, Tumblr and Foursquare (with check-in). I’ve not seen any other app that does that. I never really got into Vine and I now I will be less inclined to. My friends are on Instagram and now I can see their videos too (If I choose) in the one spot.

Let the booty shaking videos commence (LOL, but it’s true. You know it will happen).

Instagram - Burbn, Inc.

Facebook App Gets A Speed Update (FINALLY)!

To say that the Facebook App on iOS was slow is like saying that the sun is hot. It started to lag so bad that I stopped using it. I started using the mobile web version instead. When I got a push notification and tapped on it I would see the Facebook App load and just sigh knowing that I’d have to wait a couple of minutes before I could see what it was that I was being notified about.

Why was it so slow?

Facebook is a big company with lots of cash! So why would such a high profile social networking company have such a bad App? Your guess is good as mine. I can only guess that it just wasn’t that important to the powers that be. Perhaps Mark doesn’t use an iPhone. If he did, I doubt that he would have allowed the experience to be so bad. The problem was that the original App wasn’t a native objective-c App (at least that’s my understanding) and this new one is.

Is it faster?

A first glance, YES! It is definitely faster than the previous version, but they would have to work pretty hard for it not to be. Is it fast? Well that’s a different question. While it is faster, I still don’t consider it to be “fast.” I would say that now it’s probably usable.

Any other new features?

Sadly no. I was disappointed to see that on the iPad there still isn’t much of an improvement. For example, Pages still don’t have Timeline support on the iPad. So with this update it seems that they spent all of their time on speed and I welcome that! It’s still kinda embarrasing for a company the size of Facebook not to support their own new features in their own App, but it is what it is.

This goes out to ALL of the social media sites that have Apps. Please make your Apps at least as functional as your website. It’s a shame that the mobile web version of your Apps offer more than your native Apps!

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10 iPhone Apps That I Can’t Live Without

I haven’t done this in a while and I’m always getting asked what Apps are “must haves” for new iPhone users. Usually I point them to our Top 100 List, but I thought it was time I shared with you my latest Top 10 Apps That I Can’t Live Without.

 

Instagram

I’m addicted. There I said it. I absolutely love Instagram, not as a replacement for my camera, or a place where I go to make “art”; but rather a really fun way to take, “filter” and share what’s going on with me at that moment with my friends.  There is a reason that it was Apple’s #1 App last year… If you’re on Instagram don’t forget to follow me @jlykins !

You can get Instagram for your iPhone for free from the iTunes store here: iTunes

 

Navigon

Navigon has made it into many of our lists over the past few years, and while we continually try out new navigation Apps, Navigon is by far our favorite over here at Best App Site. I use Navigon almost every single day. With it’s turn by turn Navigation, (new) street view, and awesome local search function, Navigon is the gold standard for iOS Navigation Apps.

You can get Navigon North America for $39.99 from the iTunes store here:iTunes

 

GasBuddy

While you’re out driving around with that new Navigation App you just bought, you will undoubtedly need some gas at some point. Make sure you find the cheapest prices around you by using GasBuddy from the website of the same name. Before there was the iPhone and the App, there was GasBuddy.com; a place where you could go to find the cheapest prices in town. Using crowd sourcing information, and location services GasBuddy can now find the cheapest prices near you, or near a destination of your desire.

You can get GasBuddy for your iPhone from the iTunes Store for free here: iTunes

 

Facebook

It seems like everyone is using Facebook these days, even big businesses. I access Facebook probably 50 times a day, and as such I want to be able to access it from my mobile phone with a semi-native App, meaning I don’t want to have to access it via mobile safari or other mobile browser. While we all know that there are some bugs and performance issues with the official Facebook App, it is by far the most full featured that I have found to date for iOS. If you’re on Facebook don’t forget to “like” the Best App Site Fan Page!

You can get Facebook for your iPhone from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

 

Chase

I love Chase Bank. I have been using them for a few years now. I also love the fact that I never have to go into the bank (unless I’m making a large withdraw). With the Chase App I can do all of the things that you would normally expect with a banking App, but I can also take pictures of my checks to deposit them! This saves me a trip to the bank and I appreciate that saved time.

You can get the Chase Mobile App from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

 

Nightstand Central

 

I long ago removed a “stand alone” alarm clock from my room. My iPhone is battery powered, auto updates for daylight savings time, and does more than my old alarm clock ever thought about! I like Nightstand central a lot because it has a ton of customizable features. backgrounds, alarms, songs, sleep timers, weather conditions, etc. You want it, this alarm clock App has it.

You can get Nightstand Central for your iPhone from the iTunes store for $1.99 here: iTunes

 

Dropbox

For those who don’t know, Dropbox is a cloud service for files that puts a local folder on your computer and automatically synchronizes that folder’s contents with the cloud. There are a ton of uses for it, and it’s free! If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, go here to sign up for one for free! Once you have a Dropbox account, and you’re putting your files there, make sure you can access them on the go from your iPhone with Dropbox for the iPhone. It’s an awesome App with a wonderful UI.

Get Dropbox for your iPhone from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

 

MLB.com At Bat 2012

I’m a huge baseball Fan; specifically my hometown team the Cincinnati Reds. I go to a bunch of games every year, and when I can’t make it to a game, I like to keep up with what’s going on. MLB.com At Bat 2012 does that for me! With At Bat 2012 I can watch real time what’s going on at the games and keep up with all of the scores around the league. It’s hands down the best way to follow your favorite MLB team from your iPhone!

You can get MLB.com for free from the iTunes store (there is an in App purchase for full use) here: iTunes

 

Pandora

If you don’t know about Pandora, you’re missing out. This free online radio plays stations customized by you. You select the artist, genre, song, etc. and it selects “like” songs to play. You give songs the thumbs up or thumbs down to tell Pandora what you think of it and the App learns your musical likes for that station and plays the music that you want to listen to.

Get Pandora for your iPhone for free from the iTunes store here: iTunes

 

645Pro

Last but not least we have 645Pro. I did full review on this App a few weeks ago where I told you how this is the only camera App that allows you to save your photos in uncompressed Tiff format. It has phenomenal camera controls built in that are at your finger tips, and selectable quality settings. This is my go to App when I want the best possible photos out of my iPhone. I would recommend it to anyone that likes to take good photos with their phone.

You can get 645Pro from the iTunes store for $2.99 here:iTunes
There you have it! The top 10 Apps that I use daily or almost daily and can’t live without! I would suggest getting each and every one as they are the best of the best!

iStatus

Post Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Status Updates with iStatus+

It's pretty easy to find Twitter and Facebook integration just about everywhere. iOS 5 even has Twitter integration built-in and I don't think there's a social media friendly App out there that can't post to both of these main stream social networks. However, there's a fairly big new kid on the block called Google+. Google+ started out as kind of a private/public beta. You could only get in if someone that was already in invited you. Now it's open to the public and its numbers are rising. I have almost as many Google+ followers (over 13,000) as I have Twitter followers and that's pretty impressive since the site has only been open to the public for a short time. With so many people now on Google+ I want to be able to post status updates to all 3 networks. Sadly there are very few options for going straight to Google+ 

iStatus+ does all three

There is an App that can post status updates to all three social networks at the same time. iStatus+ has a simple interface that allows you to log in to all three networks (and stay logged in). Once you log in you can pick and choose which of the networks to post to or do all three at once. It has native Google+ support in that it even brings up your Circles to choose from before you post. 

This is GREAT, but there is one major thing missing. While it's great to be able to post to all three at the same time, I'd also like to be able to post the same photo to all three at once. iStatus+ currently only does text. There's no photo posting to any of the networks from this App. Granted it would be a little more challenging to post photos to Facebook and Google+ because you'd have to have Album support, but it can't be impossible. The only other thing I'd like to see is the ability to post a status update to a Facebook Page. Currently the App can only post to your Wall.  It would also be great to have a native iPad version.

Other than that it works as advertised and is the first App that I've seen that can do all three networks. 

You can get iStatus+ for $0.99 here from the iTunes

facebook

Facebook for iPad. It’s here!

Facebook for iPad

It is here. After a long time coming, Facebook has finally released their native iPad app which comes as a universal bundle. If you are not familiar with the terms, this means that the current iPhone app is now updated to allow support for iPad. Just check for updates in iTunes and version 4.0 will include the iPad app and the updated iPhone app in one. Although there is a lot that has changed in the iPhone app, I’m focusing on the iPad app today.

Interface

While using a browser and the normal Facebook version has been OK, the interface of the new iPad app far exceeds what you previously have been able to get using any official or third-party solution. They have clearly spent a considerable amount of thinking when designing the interface because it looks gorgeous and functions really well. Facebook has always put out great interfaces on their mobile apps at launch but then been far to slow to update the app afterwards. Glad to see they are not disappointing when it comes to the interface. We’ll just have to wait and see about the updates, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

It Lacks Features…

First thing’s first. There are some good things. It has become very easy to access your different pages and groups from a nice navigation menu that slides out when you swipe your finger across the screen. Additionally, accessing photos as well as games has become very easy, something Facebook themselves are touting with this app. Unfortunately, the app clearly lacks features! As an example there is no sharing from the iPad app, only commenting and liking. There are other small features here and there that makes the iPad app (and the iPhone app too since it looks and functions the same) just a dumbed down version (albeit good-looking) of the website. It is unfortunate that they have decided to leave just a little bit out, instead of adding it too. After all, we are talking features that Facebook are highlighting well on the main site.

Conclusion

Facebook has come out with a great app and there is no reason not to get it and play with it. It far exceeds any other option in terms of looks and apart from opening the Facebook site in your browser, it beats the other options in functionality. It would be great if they tried to match the features found in the iPad app and on the site, especially given how many use the iPad as their “main Facebooking device”.

Facebook - Facebook, Inc.

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