Simply Mac Blog

Archive for the ‘App Spotlights’ Category

Nov 201412

App Spotlight: Slow Fast Slow

by Shane Roberts

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Shooting slo-mo video has really taken off since the release of the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have continued that trend, by adding 240fps slo-mo options.  However, it’s nice to have more control over your slo-mo videos, dictating which parts of the video are super slo-mo and also which parts are accelarated. That’s where the app Slow Fast Slow comes into play.

Slow Fast Slow is a free app, for iPhone, which gives you great, but simple to use control over your slo-mo videos.

Basically, you import your videos into the app, and then you just manipulate the speed of your video with little white markers. Just move the markers along the time line, and to adjust the speed, move an individual marker up or down.

Here is the official description from the App Store on Slow Fast Slow:

Slow Fast Slow is an app for manipulating the speed of videos you shoot on your iPhone. It works especially well with slo-mo videos. Use the intuitive interactive timeline to slow down or speed up your videos. Additionally, you can add pitch control, as well as clip reversal.

• Import videos from your Photo Library. 
• 240 fps videos (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) can be slowed down to 1/16 speed, which is twice as slow as the built in camera app. 
• Pitch Control: Retain the correct audio pitch even when the video is sped up or slowed down. 
• Backwards playback. 
• Add and remove points to adjust the timeline. 
• Export videos in the original ratio or square. 
• Requires iOS 8.

It’s a FREE app and worth checking out if you love to take slo-mo videos! Click here to check it out on the App Store!

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Oct 201415

Top Apps to use with Health for iOS 8

by Shane Roberts

One of the many new features within iOS 8 is the Health app. Health is an app that will connect with other fitness/diet apps on your iPhone and give you a nice home for all of your data to be stored and interpreted. So, what apps are good to use with the Health app? Here are a couple to get the ball rolling down the road of fitness.

Simply Mac - Fitness Apps

My Fitness Pal (FREE) – click to download

This is the app I’ve used for almost a year, and has helped me lose a sizable amount of weight. My Fitness Pal is the best all around app for diet monitoring and calorie counting that I’ve seen. You can easily input your meals, snacks,  workouts and more to help you keep track of where you are in your daily progress of calorie consumption and burning. It will also track your steps, if you have an iPhone 5s or iPhone 6, and calculate that into your daily progress. Here’s a bit about the app from the App Store:


• Largest food database of any iPhone calorie counter – over 4,000,000 foods and growing daily
• Easiest and fastest food entry – remembers your favorites, add multiple foods at once, save and add entire meals, and more. THERE IS NO FASTER OR EASIER APP THAN MYFITNESSPAL.
• Fully syncs with the web, so you can log from your computer or your phone, whichever is more convenient. Plus your data is backed up online so you never lose it.
• Diet with your friends – add friends and easily track and support each other’s progress
• Comprehensive feature set – create your own custom foods and exercises, track all major nutrients, progress reports, customized goals based on your diet profile, and recipe calculator, with full support for metric and English units.
• IT WORKS – the success of our users shows that we can help you lose weight


• Add your meal summaries to HealthKit – You can now share meal data with HealthKit-connected apps every time you add food to your diary.
• Sync your weight with HealthKit – If you have an app that records your weight in HealthKit, we can automatically sync that with your MyFitnessPal account. Likewise, if you track your weight in MyFitnessPal we’ll keep your HealthKit data updated.
• Add exercises from other HealthKit apps to your diary – When you exercise with an app that saves workout data to HealthKit, we can adjust your daily calorie goal for you. 

It’s a seriously great app, check it out, it’s free and easy to use.

Instant Heart Rate

Instant Heart Rate ($1.99) – click here to download

Want to monitor your heart rate throughout the day or after a workout? The app Instant Heart Rate is one you should check out. All you do is place your finger on the camera lens, and it will record your pulse. It will capture the data and create trends, plus you can even create notes and see your progress over time. This is a great complimentary app to something like My Fitness Pal to track your heart rate after something like a workout.

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MotionX 24/7: Sleeptracker (99¢) – click here to download

The next step to monitor your health is to monitor your sleeping patterns, and MotionX 24/7 is an app that can do just that. In order to use this app, you’d really need to place it on your bed or in an armband while you slept, so it can track your movement to tell if you’re in a deep sleep or not. By tracking your sleep, it can help wake you up when you’re in a very light sleep, and you wake up more refreshed.

These three apps will store their data inside of the Health app. So once you open Health you can see the data from all three apps in one spot. The great thing about all these apps is the fact you don’t really have to buy anything else for the apps for function. There are other great apps out there that do similar things that require added accessories or wearables, but these will at least get you started down the right path.


Sep 201430

3rd Party Keyboards for your iPhone or iPad on iOS 8

by Shane Roberts

It’s been a long time coming, but finally 3rd party keyboards are available for iPhone and iPad. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of 3rd party keyboards, basically they allow you to type differently, or input different content. The keyboards are available on the App Store, some are free, some cost a dollar or so, and here are some that I’ve used thus far that are worth checking out.


Swype is one of the original 3rd party keyboards that has been available on other phones for a while. Conceptually, it’s rather straightforward. All you do to type is swipe from letter to letter to create the word you’re typing, and Swype recognizes which word you’re typing and enters it for you. Swype works really well, and is rather simple to use with a little bit of a learning curve. The cool thing with Swype, is that you can easily add words to its dictionary, if it doesn’t recognize whatever it is you’re trying to type. Swype is also more customizable with different skins that can be applied to the keyboard, and more to come. Swype has a couple bugs right now, but is a very good keyboard.

Swype is 99¢ and is a great option to consider. Check it out on the App Store by clicking here.


SwiftKey is a great 3rd party keyboard and is similar to Swype. You type the same way, but there are some minor differences with how it works. SwiftKey has a bit of a better predictive suggestion ability than Swype, in my opinion, but it’s not as customizable with just a couple keyboard themes. SwiftKey is much more of a straight forward ‘swipe to type’ keyboard, but it works very well. SwiftKey also employs something called ‘SwiftKey Cloud,’ which will basically let you take whatever settings, habits, whatever, from device to device as long as you’re logged in. Additional features will be coming to SwiftKey, just like Swype, in the coming weeks and months.

SwiftKey is FREE and is a great keyboard. Click here to see it in the App Store.

Riffsy GIF Keyboard

Who doesn’t love to send a good GIF to convey feelings or to make someone laugh. Well, Riffsy GIF keyboard is something you need to add to your keyboard options. Check out this video explaining it…

GIF Keyboard is also FREE and is a must have for people that love to share GIF’s. Click here to see the keyboard on the App Store.

There are other 3rd party keyboards on the App Store, go check them all out, because there are some with different colors, sizes, abilities, etc. All these keyboards work on both iPhone and iPad, all you need is iOS 8.

Aug 201419

Back to School Apps!

by Shane Roberts


Edmodo – iPhone/iPad – FREE

Here’s a cool app to check out, especially if you’re a teacher looking for new ways to keep track of students progress in the classroom. Here’s how the developers of the app describe it on the App Store:

Edmodo makes a teacher’s daily life easier by providing a safe and easy way for teachers and students to engage and collaborate for free, anytime, anywhere. 

Use Edmodo for:

• Secure classroom discussions
• Posting assignments
• Gradebook tracking
• File sharing and uploading

Key Features:

• Classroom activity feed
• Student progress tracker
• Educational resource library
• Professional learning networks

With over 35 million users, Edmodo is the largest, fastest growing social platform for education. Awarded the 2013 EdTech Digest Award for Best Product, Edmodo makes the idea of a paperless classroom a reality. 

Questions? Contact our award-winning Edmodo support team anytime at, using ‘iPad’ in the subject line. 

For more information:

Click here for the link to the App Store!


TouchCast – iPad – FREE

TouchCast is one of the coolest apps I’ve stumbled across in a long time. Want to do a video podcast on your iPad, but would like to incorporate other content? Maybe a browser for your views to see, or be able to write on the screen while you record? With TouchCast, you can do just that!

Here is the description from the App Store:

Video and the web are coming together. Experience both like never before with TouchCast: a new medium that looks like video, but feels more like the web.

A TouchCast is a video that is fully browsable, responsive, and alive. Webpages, images, and an assembly of video Apps (vApps) can be tapped for a two-way video experience.

It’s a TV studio in your hands. Create broadcast-quality videos with a built-in teleprompter, green screen, visual filters, sound effects, and titles. Watch TouchCasts from the app or online at 

Our Mission is to bring the wonder of the web to video and usher in a new age of expression. Anyone can easily create professional-quality videos that finally behave like the rest of the web.

Explore videos, express yourself and engage viewers in a whole new way.  We invite you to try TouchCast and help define this new medium. 

Please let us know you’re feedback as we strive to improve the experience, including what features you would like to see in future versions.

Check out the app on the App Store here!


AP Stylebook 2014 – iPhone/iPad – $24.99

If you are a journalism major, or want to do any writing in general, the AP Stylebook will be a necessity. Now, instead of trying to find the book in a crowded book store, you can download the app on the App Store!

The Associated Press Stylebook is an essential tool for writers, editors, students and public relations professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, with dedicated sections on sports, business, food, fashion, religion, punctuation and social media. 

- Dozens of new and updated entries for 2014, Pronunciation Guide, and a new religion chapter 
- Keep your notes from the 2013 version. The 2014 version can import 2013 notes, entries and favorites. (Requires AP Stylebook 2013 v1.2) 
- New features including iCloud sync, and improved user interface and search

Available as a universal app for iPhone, iPad, and iTouch users.

What’s New
- Numerous improvements to user interface, navigation and search functionality
- About 200 new and updated entries for 2014 plus a new religion chapter that pulls together existing entries from the Stylebook with new and revised guidance
- Use iCloud to backup and sync entries and favorites across devices
- Hundreds of entries in the Pronunciation Guide include both phonetic spelling and audio
- Generate a random entry to build your style knowledge

Here is the link to the App Store for the AP Stylebook app.

Aug 201408

1Password on sale, again!

by Shane Roberts


The best password management app, 1Password, is once again on sale, for both iOS and Mac OS. AgileBit, the developer of 1Password, is really promoting and trying to get 1Password into the wild before the release of both iOS 8 and Yosemite. Mainly the iOS version, since some major updates are coming down the pipe.

For a limited time 1Password for iOS will be $9.99 (normally $17.99) and the Mac version is $34.99 (normally $49.99). What makes this deal even better is that AgileBit is going to offer the update to the iOS 8 version of 1Password free! Normally they charge for every major release of the app. The iOS 8 version of 1Password is going to work much more like the Mac version, especially with the new features that are built into iOS 8. Currently in the iOS version of 1Password, you have to jump from app-to-app to utilize it. In iOS 8, with iOS 8 extensions, you’ll be able to use the features of 1Password without leaving the app, and even be able to use Touch ID!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with 1Password, click here to see more about the app itself.

So if you’re tired of coming up and managing a thousand different passwords, go get 1Password now while it’s on sale!

Click for the iOS version.

Click for the Mac OS version.

Here is an example of how 1Password will work in iOS 8:

Aug 201404

Shazam debuts on Mac!

by Shane Roberts

One of the most popular apps on the App Store for iPhone since day one has been Shazam. The ability to identify songs just by letting your phone listen was world bending back then, and frankly still is in a lot of ways. If you’re not familiar with Shazam, all you do is open the app (or in iOS 8 ask Siri), press the listen button on the screen, and the app will identify the song that is playing while giving you a link to iTunes to buy. It’s very impressive, and it has identified every song I’ve ever asked it to without a hitch. Well, for those of us that work in an office, or an in a environment where audio is all around us, it would be great if our computers could identify the audio without needing to ask. That’s where the new Shazam app for Mac will help you out!

Shazam for Mac

You just open up the app, let it run in the background and it will identify the music around you as it plays. Once it identifies a song, if you click on it you’ll be able to download and buy the song from iTunes.

Shazam for Mac

Here is the official app summary from the App Store:

Download Shazam, and bring the magic home. The app you’ve come to rely on as your go-to music expert has been given a major upgrade for your Mac. Catch the music and TV playing around you without ever digging a phone out of your pocket. Go nuts, match it all. 

Shazam runs quietly behind the scenes, but springs to life when it finds a song you should know about, creating a playlist as it goes. You can now effortlessly find it, share it, and buy it. Now that’s magic.

1. Operates magically in the background, ready to name that tune at a moment’s notice.

2. Instant, seamless access to all the music that makes up the world around you.

3. One-click access to lyrics, music videos or to buy tracks on iTunes.

4. Discover like never before, share like always. 

If you’d like to download the Shazam app for your Mac, here is the link! 

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