Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe
New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.
Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.
New group-messaging app Bindle tries to un-suck the group messaging experience. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Chris Toy was an Everquest geek in the early days, playing the addictive open-world video game somewhat obsessively.
It wasn’t slaying the monsters or leveling up that really motivated Toy, but the social aspects of the game.
“I was honestly pretty isolated,” the Hong Kong native told Cult of Mac by phone, “and talking to people via Everquest or World of Warcraft felt better than talking to real people.”
That’s when he realized that being able to text chat with other people wherever they were was the future of messaging, and perhaps even communication itself. Fast-forward to now, and Toy and a high-tech team living in San Francisco have created Bindle, a new group-messaging app designed to create this very same future.
New messaging app On Second Thought allows time to reconsider before a message reaches its destination. Screen grab: On Second Thought
Maci Peterson made a Christian man blush with a text message she sent to plan a first date.
“I wanted to know where to meet, D.C. or Maryland,” she told Cult of Mac. “So I typed, ‘Are you in DC or MD?’ and AutoCorrect changed it to, ‘Are you in D.C. or Me?’ I was so embarrassed.”
Peterson recovered and hopes she is on the verge of saving us all from stumbling fingers, drunken texts and the bewildering algorithms of AutoCorrect. Her new app, On Second Thought, launches this week for Android devices with a version for iPhone users due out early next year.
I’m feeling a bit Rocky Horror, here. Screenshots: Gina Pell/LOLy
Tired of being stuck with tiny little Emojis?
Well, the developer for new app LOLy has the solution: huge, animated emoticons that you can send to friends via text message, Facebook, or email. You can also just copy them and send along to any other text-accepting app, like Twitter, Kik, or Whatsapp.
The images are cute and fun to send, and once you’ve used the images included with the free LOLy app, you’ll want to grab a couple more packs for $0.99 each.
“I primarily designed this app for women with a focus on the 30s-50s demographic,” says app developer Gina Pell. “I had a hunch that most emoji were geared towards teens and lacked the sophistication, style, or wit that my friends or I would find interesting.”
Tons of new features make iOS 8’s Messages app more powerful than ever. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I’ve pretty much become a full-time texter these days, using Apple’s Messages app on my Mac and iPhone to send iMessages (to friends and contacts who use iOS or OS X) as well as regular text messages (to people outside the Apple ecosystem).
iOS 8 brings great new changes to the mobile version of the Messages app, some of which might not be immediately apparent. Here’s a look at the new features and how best to use them.
Sick of colliding with lampposts and the elderly whilst walking and texting? A new Apple patent for ‘Transparent Texting’ might be right up your alley, using your iPhone’s video camera to pipe through a live feed of what’s happening in the real world behind your Messages window.
Sarcasm doesn’t travel well over text message — and I can say that through bitter experience. I’ve probably come close to being slapped, dumped, kicked in the crotch, fired, and/or run over by a riding mower because of some sarcastic text I’ve sent that was misconstrued as mean when it was supposed to be hilarious.
Or so I’ve imagined; I have no real gauge, because in each instance I couldn’t actually see the reaction on the face of the recipient. At least one of the developers behind React Messenger must have faced the same problem, because they’ve come up with a solution that snaps and sends a quick, expressive selfie along with each text.
There was a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) last week which concluded that voice-to-text apps, like Siri, offer no benefit over standard texting. In fact, they say, reaction time nearly doubled when using these types of apps.
Adam Cheyer, one of the scientists that helped create Siri, however, begs to differ.