Handy new app turns Notification Center into messaging machine

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Select a pre-written message and send it straight from Notification Center.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

“I’m leaving” is a message I probably send way too often, but not as often as “I’m here.” It’s just become routine whenever I’m making plans or picking someone up. It’s not necessarily a burden, but it’d be a nice luxury to be able to quickly send friends these repeat messages automatically to save a little bit of time. You’re smart so I bet you know where I’m going with this.

Yes, Written is a new app for iPhone that lets you write out five of your most commonly used phrases and save them for easy access in Notification Center. Then when you pull down the Today view from the top, you see the Written widget with your five messages. Tap one to send it along to your favorite contacts. It works with the Messages app and even WhatsApp.

Microsoft leaks its brand new chat app for iPhone

Flow will work alongside Microsoft Outlook.
Flow will work alongside Microsoft Outlook.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Microsoft has inadvertently leaked plans to release a new chat app for iPhone called Flow, which will allow users to have “rapid email conversations.” The service will be a part of Outlook, but it will focus on quick communication with “no subject lines, salutations, or signatures.”

These are the best messaging apps on iOS

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Cult of Mac runs on Slack. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
It's an iOS messaging shootout! Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I recently watched The Lady try to convince a friend of ours to download WhatsApp. The friend is moving to the United Kingdom, and we want to stay in touch. Our friend tried to say that email would do the job, but we all know that will never work.

Our friend doesn’t want WhatsApp (maybe because it’s owned by Facebook), and she doesn’t own an iPhone, so iMessage is out. Thankfully, there are plenty of free and good alternatives. Some are more secure, some have more features, and none of them is owned by Facebook.

Let’s take a look at what’s available and how these very different messaging apps compare on a number of key features.

Instagram plans to strike down Snapchat with ‘Bolt’

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Instagram has accidentally leaked that it’s planning to launch a thunder strike against Snapchat with a new “one tap photo messaging” app of its own called Bolt.

A banner announcing the new messaging app was accidentally posted for some users on Android to see last night, but was taken down about 15 minutes after it appeared. The Free link button on the banner directed users to the Google Play Store, but the page was not available.

La-la is a musical messaging app that lets you chat with song snippets

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So long as we live in a world where WhatsApp can be bought for $19 billion and even an ultra-simple novelty app like Yo manages to scrape together $1 million in venture funding, people are going to go right on creating messaging apps.

One of the latest is La-La Messenger, which promises users the possibility of conducting entire conversations out of song snippets. A greeting, for instance, might be “Hello” by Lionel Richie, while “the world is a dark place if this is the future of communication” could be Sean Paul’s “Gimme the Light.”