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Imprint Brings Effortless Shopping to iOS

Imprint for iOS is designed to make shopping easy and enjoyable, which is a good thing because I can't stand shopping, especially for clothes. I'd much rather order clothes online and have them show up on my doorstep than go to the mall. The trouble is, clothes shopping on the web is usually a mixed bag. Many sites do a poor job of describing and photographing what they sell, making it hard to know what you're ordering, which leads to returns. Other sites have overly complex and tedious checkout processes, requiring what sometimes feels like page after page data entry that fails if you don't enter information exactly as the site expects.

Need, which offers hand-picked collections of clothing, accessories, and other items like coffee and books, is different. I've been a customer of Need since Matt Alexander launched it in late 2013. Through a combination of excellent photography, quality writing, and attention to customer service, Need has provided a superior shopping experience on the web from the beginning.

Today, Need relaunched and rebranded its website as Imprint and released a companion iOS app by the same name. Imprint for iOS is a delight to use. Imprint's browsing and shopping experience is faster, easier, and more fluid than other iOS shopping apps, exhibiting the same degree of care and attention to detail that has made me a happy customer of its predecessor, Need, from the beginning.

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Intuitive Image Annotations with ‘This’ for iOS

On many occasions, I've searched throughout the App Store to find the right app for annotating photos with simple labels. Although I trudged through pages and pages of information, I just couldn't find an app that did exactly what I needed – until today.

This is an absurdly easy way to add information to photos and send them away. Featured as one of the Best New Apps in the App Store, it caught my eye because of its slick design; after playing with its intuitive features, its gorgeous design is of the least importance.

The Steps

This's functionality comes in three steps: 1) Select the photo 2) Add labels 3) Share. Eventually, this simplicity becomes second-nature, but the subtasks in those steps deserve an explanation. If any of this becomes confusing or you need to see more examples, head into the tutorial for a guide.

Selecting the Photo

By tapping on the camera icon in the lower left, This will provide options for images to work with. Here is where you'll find the tutorial and examples of pre-existing images and their labels. All of these are editable, so feel free to tinker around to get the hang of the app's capabilities.

Photos can be pulled from either the device's photo library, camera, or clipboard. Unfortunately, there's only the option of choosing from the Photos app – I'm hoping to see other document providers be integrated in future versions.

Once selected, the image will be displayed for labeling.

Adding Labels

For the part of the photo that you'd like to label, tap on or close to the section and This will automatically provide a label and custom line length. By selecting the (This) label, you can insert the applicable information within the text box. If the text is more than a couple of words, This will push the information down a line.

The default arrowhead is a filled-in circle, but This offers the option to alternate between six other choices: arrow, open circle, X, heart, and none. All of these can be used to say different things in context, so they are all great inclusions. In addition to the solid line, there is also a dotted line for referring to a location.

To keep your labels readable, This will auto-adjust the color of text between white and black. It's also possible to change the color and size manually by selecting the light green semicircle at the bottom of the screen; you can choose between black and white for the color and extra small, small, medium, and large for the size.

If a mistake is made in the placing of a label, dragging either the text or arrowhead will move the respective piece around the photo. To delete a label, hold the text until a red X appears and then release.

Sharing

When you've completed your work, tapping the share icon will bring up options to send to Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, as well to save to Photos, copy, Open In..., Mail, and print.

Sharing within This is the biggest sign that the app is in version 1.0; saving to a document provider takes more taps than necessary. The most frustrating part, however, is that there is no saving in-app, meaning that if you don't finish labeling before starting a new project, it will immediately wipe out your work. Along these lines, a lack of native saving also forces the user to save to Photos and reopen within This to continue work on a photo – albeit without the ability to change the labels created in the previous version.

Wrap-Up

When I saw This in the App Store, I was excited to see a supposed solution to my labeling problem. After using it, it has exceeded all my expectations and has given me a quick way to mark a photo and send it off.

Remember, though, that This is a 1.0 product and may have bugs or lack desired features. Even so, developer Tinrocket has built a specialized tool that you'll want to have in a pinch. With its continued development, I'm excited to see This be refined and crafted into an all-star app.

This can be purchased as a Universal app for $1.99.


Track Your Water Consumption with WaterMinder

Drinking water consistently has never been a habit I've been able to master. The benefits are obvious, of course, but I've always fallen back on picking up a soda as my drink of choice.

After spending time with WaterMinder, I'm beginning to feel a conflict – as much as I love soda, I now have a motivation to drink water more frequently. By providing me with a visible goal to reach, WaterMinder has already challenged my habits.

The Goal

WaterMinder's goal is to, quite simply, help you drink water. Similarly to how the Activity app aims to provide movement goals based on height, weight, and general activity lifestyle, WaterMinder calculates and presents you with a specific ounce count for the amount of water you should drink every day. By reminding you at certain intervals (I'll get to that a little more in a bit), the ultimate goal is to fill up a meter, a completion of the goal.

iPhone/iPad App

Although the app runs on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, the iPhone version of WaterMinder is the hub where you'll customize the experience. After a simple setup and explanation process, you'll need to give WaterMinder access to some health information stored on the phone. By doing this, your water intake will be logged in both Health and WaterMinder; additionally, the app will copy over your general information in order to calculate your daily desired water intake.

Logging water and the history tab.

Logging water and the history tab.

Once formed, your journey with WaterMinder is fairly straightforward – when you've consumed water, you'll log it. By default, the app comes with three sizes of cups (WaterMinder specifically says "cup sizes," but I'm not too sure about this phrasing...): 8 oz., 14 oz., and 17 oz. As you drink more water, your number percentage will fill up, covering the graphic blue.

In addition, a history tab includes your water intake history, such as times you've logged and what sizes you've consumed. The time frame for this can be changed between today, week, month, and year, so you're able to get a big picture idea of how your water consumption habits have fared.

Achievements and settings.

Achievements and settings.

The "Achievements" section contains fifteen badges that can be awarded by completing various tasks. For example, after you log your first drink, you'll receive an achievement. Completionists may find this appealing, but it didn't do much for me.

Reminders and custom containers.

Reminders and custom containers.

Finally, a wide variety of settings can be customized to create the optimal user experience. While I'll include a screenshot above, I want to point out two that are vital to the usage of WaterMinder: Reminders and Cups.

In the Reminders settings (which is within the notifications section), you're able to tell WaterMinder when you'd like to be nudged to log your water intake. By flipping switches for reminders ranging from 12:30 AM to 11 PM, you can set a schedule for when you'd like WaterMinder to ping you. There is also the option to add custom reminders at the times of your choosing.

With cups, it's easy to add a custom container by entering in its ounce count. By doing this, you can tailor the values to meet various water bottles you may use. This is a great inclusion and one that prevents people from having to calculate every time they want to add an amount that is not included by default.

By default, WaterMinder will display a badge on the app icon that shows how many ounces of water you've drank so far during the day. On supported devices, pressing on the icon allows you to log preset amounts without entering the app.

Apple Watch App

WaterMinder on the Apple Watch does not try to be a full-fledged app; rather, it is a, ahem, watered-down version of the iPhone app. Included is your water consumption information, the logging history for the past two weeks, and the achievements mentioned above. You're also able to add water to the day's amount from the Apple Watch, which is often times quicker than entering it from your iPhone.

WaterMinder's glance is, unfortunately, fairly useless – it shows how much time is left in the day and how many more ounces of water until the goal is reached. By the time you swipe up and find the glance, it's just as quick as opening the app.

However, a much better inclusion is that of a complication, which is manifested through WaterMinder's ring on the watch face. Although it's simple, it's an easy way to see how close to the goal you are.

Wrap-Up

Owners of multiple iOS devices will be pleased to know that WaterMinder will sync its data and keep it updated. While I was slightly concerned that this was not the case when I had to enter my information on the iPad, the data caught up quickly.

My one complaint with WaterMinder is that it is always portrait on the iPad. I'd like to see the app redesigned so that it could run in landscape; removing my keyboard, flipping the device, and entering in data is not an optimal experience.

WaterMinder is a mature app that knows exactly what its purpose is. By recognizing this, it doesn't provide an unnecessary amount of features that cause confusion. WaterMinder is a one-trick pony, but it does its trick so well that I can't imagine ever tracking my water with anything else.

WaterMinder can be purchased in the App Store as a Universal app for $1.99.


Arq 5 Brings Significant New Features and a Major Licensing Improvement

Arq Screenshot

Arq Screenshot

For years, Arq Backup has been often overlooked when talking about backup solutions for the Mac, despite the fact that it is one of the easiest and most flexible options, as well as the most configurable. If you are really concerned about the privacy and security of your backups, you should take a close look at Arq.

Today marks the release of version 5 of Arq, a little over 6 years since its first official release, and it contains many awesome new features, but one significant change that I want to highlight right up front is this: Arq v5 moves from a per computer license to a per user license. That means that instead of having to buy a new license for each Mac you own, one license covers them all. This makes Arq a much more affordable option for people who use multiple Macs. It also means this is the time to take a closer look at what Arq offers.

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With Version 1.1 and an iPad App, I’m Switching to Airmail

When I first covered Airmail for iPhone, I noted how the vision of an email client for power users on iOS was only halfway there due to the lack of an iPad app and a variety of glitches and technical issues. Airmail showed that it was possible to build an email app for power users on mobile devices – asking for a fair price in the process – but I couldn't switch to it as my full-time client yet.

That's changing with today's update to Airmail for iOS, which I've been using as my only email client on the iPhone and iPad for the past several weeks. In addition to an iPad app – which mostly follows in the footsteps of its iPhone counterpart in terms of UI and navigation choices – Airmail 1.1 brings powerful new features such as saved searches, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for send later and read receipts, and more.

While the majority of "modern" email clients are focused on reinventing email with new display options for the inbox and novel interfaces, Airmail wants to redefine how much control you're given over your email on iOS. Which is to say – Airmail is the most powerful email app for iOS out there right now, treating iPhone and iPad users with the same respect and attention other developers would only show for their Mac apps.

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Find Local Movie Showtimes with Snapseat

As established companies with deep pockets fill the App Store, small developers often struggle with entering a genre with existing competitors. For the app to succeed at all, it must be far more compelling the alternatives, often requiring competitive and standout pricing.

Snapseat, an app for finding showtimes and information about movies, is very similar to Fandango, which poses a question: what makes it different?

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Activity++ Review

After creating the wildly useful Sleep++ and Pedometer++, iOS veteran David Smith has returned with Activity++. Smith's newest venture is set on improving what's already been done with activity tracking for the Apple Watch. Along with its $2.99 price tag, Activity++ is a bold move in the progression of solid apps from Smith and one that, rather unsurprisingly, looks to be a great step forward.

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Record Your Mind with Thoughtful

Tim Cook, during his discussion of privacy at Apple's latest media event, called the iPhone an "extension of ourselves." As one might imagine, such a claim is based around the amount of our personal information we put into our phones: credit card information, personal thoughts, and other sensitive data we wouldn't want others to have access to.

Thoughtful, a self-described "thought tracker," is the epitome of that extension. It's an app that, for the sake of self-improvement, you'll put personal thoughts into – and, through some helpful features, will attempt to promote better habits.

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See the World With Streets 3

I almost didn't get this review finished. While I should have been writing, I found myself wandering the globe with the help of Streets 3, a browser for Google Street View from FutureTap. I started at a remote church on the coast of Iceland, stumbled into a pub in London, and then made stops in Kings Park in Perth, El Calafate, Argentina, and finally, Plaza Navona in Rome. From the remotest location to the biggest cities, Streets' panoramas were gorgeously detailed and easy to navigate.

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