2014 brought about a lot of great changes: Android Lollipop, iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and the public beta of Windows 10. Hopefully we will see each system used to its full advantage in 2015. With the many new features available to developers within those systems, we should say many creative apps pop up. Here is what I hope to see in 2015.
Many improvements have been added to iOS 8, but probably none more useful than widgets. For a long time, they were something many users wished for, while others worried they would clutter their screen. Fortunately, these widgets reside in the notification shade.
If you have ever used Android, you are likely very familiar with SwiftKey’s keyboard. For those unfamiliar, it is a predictive text keyboard that learns how you write and what you type most often. And it does so very quickly. After using it for some time, it can even correctly guess full sentences with only the first letter of the first word. Impressive, to say the least. As you can tell, I quite enjoy SwiftKey, so I was delighted to hear about its release for iOS 8.
“Let your inner artist run free, create beautiful photos and share your vision with the world. Now with the all new Fotor 4.0, you can enjoy an enhanced, faster user interface that’s amazingly easy to use while still providing new and exciting options to make your images even more incredible.”
Fotor Photo Editor is a cross-platform app that will help you edit and share your photos. This review covers the iPhone app, which has been redesigned for iOS 7.
Fotor feels right at home on iOS and follows all of the design standards of iOS 7. The app opens to its home screen, which gives access to edit mode, camera, photo box, and collage and settings. Each mode is easy to navigate between and it feels very cohesive and accessing the options in them feels very intuitive and cohesive. There are in-app purchases available, but these are made very clear, in a good way. They don’t appear as spammy like some apps, nor are they very distracting.
Fotor is loaded with features. You can take photos, edit, and share all from the app without needing to look elsewhere.
Fotor’s camera mode looks very similar to the built-in iOS camera. It features on screen zoom adjustment and several other settings by clicking the gear icon. This will let you take pictures using square, burst, timer and stabilizer modes. The only thing missing from the native camera was the panorama mode.
In case you would like to edit photos you have taken outside of Fotor, you can use the Photobox feature. This allows you to select photos to appear in Fotor’s gallery.
Edit mode is where Fotor’s features really shine. You are given a multitude of options to edit your photos, which range from subtle to drastic. By clicking Enhance, Fotor will automatically enhance your image. This can be tweaked by selecting low, medium or high. I preferred this to over only having a one-click auto-adjust.
The next button at the bottom lets you choose a scene for your photo, but these require an in-app purchase. You can select the options to see how they look without paying though.
If you are a heavy Instagram user, FX Effects will feel right at home to you. While similar to Instagram’s filters, I preferred these because many of the appear more natural rather than looking over-edited. Fotor gives you the option of several filters, with the ability to pay for more. They are divided into categories so you can easily find what you are looking for.
Adjust lets you make edits based on brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpen, vignette, temperature and tint. You should be able to find any tool you need here to enhance your image. Crop allows you to crop manually or select a predefined ratio.
Tilt-Shift allows you to adjust the depth of field based on the f-stop, so you can choose to make the background appear out of focus and draw attention to the foreground.
Other editing features include adding text, rotate, and borders.
After editing photos, you can return to the home screen to create a collage. This allows you to choose up to nine pictures with several options of layouts. Once you have chosen your images, you can adjust how they are cropped, change the border size, roundness and color.
Fotor is very smooth and taking photos is just as fast as the native camera app. My only annoyance while using the app was the request to purchase scenes each time I saved a photo. I didn’t mind the in-app purchase present in the edit mode because they were easily visible but not distracting; however, the pop-up quickly became frustrating.
There are several settings that let you tweak the app to your liking. I particular enjoy that you can choose to start Fotor at either the home screen or the camera. This is great because some users may use Fotor more for the camera, while others may want to just skip ahead to editing.
You can also adjust share and processing quality. These are separate options that allow you to choose whether you would like to save and share larger or smaller versions of the files. Users without much space on their phone will likely be very grateful for this option.
Fotor is a feature filled app for all types of users. It has many options for taking, editing and sharing photos without making you feel like you have to pay for the additional editing modes.
As primarily an Android user, I have to admit my jealously for Facebook ‘s latest creation. Paper is a beautiful newsreader with intuitive controls. You can choose to view stories from your Facebook feed as well as choose other topics you may be interested in. It’s easy to see that the Facebook app and site have grown bloated over time, but paper puts content on the forefront. You only see what you want to see.
When you first open the app, a tutorial appears that shows you how to navigate the app. During this, you can choose which topics you would like to see. If you want to add more, you can easily access these options from the settings panel.
The options include the newsfeed, sports, pop life, tech, photography, ideas, cute, headlines, funny and several others. Below is an example of the stories you might see in the photography section.
Apart from the intuitive new way to navigate your Facebook feed, which behaves much like Flipboard, you can find several of the features you would expect in a Facebook app: the ability to write new posts, like, comment and share posts, and look at groups you are a part of. You can use this app to completely replace the standard Facebook app, because Paper gives you the option to receive all notifications in it instead.
Bottom Line: Paper is an app worth checking out if you are tired of Facebook’s slow app and bloated features. It offers a refined alternative that focuses on content, not features.
“A habit building program which treats your life-like a Role Playing Game. Level up as you succeed, lose HP as you fail, earn money to buy weapons and armor.”
Do you love playing RPGs? Are you a bit of a procrastinator in real life but great at leveling up your characters? HabitRPG seeks to merge these two worlds. Funded by Kickstarter, it is an open-source website that allows you to create a character and level up by doing your daily tasks. It has come a long way since its release and is ready to help you conquer your daily goals.