messaging apps

Spike email app adds audio and video calls for macOS and iOS

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Spike email app adds audio and video calls right in your inbox.
Spike email app adds audio and video calls right in your inbox.
Photo: Spike

Popular email app Spike, which strips down emails to make them more like chats or test messages, just added audio and video calls. The update means Spike users can readily communicate in real time — and skip switching to Zoom, FaceTime or another videoconferencing app.

Keep your boss and creepy dates at bay with a second phone number [Deals]

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Get a second phone number for your Craigslist deals, Tinder dates, and other times when you prefer a little privacy.
Get a second phone number for your Craigslist deals, Tinder dates, and other times when you prefer a little privacy.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Even in the age of social media, our phones are one of the easiest ways for uninvited or unwanted contact. Privacy is hard to come by these days, so imagine being able to give your craigslist seller or Tinder date a phone number other than your real one. Or just having a dedicated line for work.

Escape emails and get work done with Slack [50 Essential iOS Apps #45]

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Slack iOS app on iPhone in front of computer
Slack helps you get work done by opening up direct lines of communication.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Slack Email can be a total productivity bottleneck. Following conversations between multiple participants gets confusing. The unfortunate result of all this email chaos? Important tasks get lost in long email chains.

Luckily for collaborators everywhere, messaging app Slack replaces the need for internal email, allowing for real-time productivity and communication for teams. Instead of redundant threads and signatures, Slack strips away the cruft of the email inbox. It turns your communication into what it was meant to be — a conversation.

iPhone app uses camera flash for Morse code messaging

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morsecode
You won't have to worry about emoji-filled messages!
Photo: Lim Peng Hoe

With their focus on colorful emojis, stickers, GIFs and pretty much anything else that could possibly lure lucrative teen users, today’s messaging apps are seemingly getting more and more alike with each “fresh” upgrade.

A recent app tries to shake up the formula a bit by bringing back a decidedly more retro form of messaging — Morse code. Here’s how it works, and why you should get it.

Snap Inc.’s IPO soars but will it ever make money?

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Spectacles are no longer a U.S. exclusive.
Spectacles are no longer a U.S. exclusive.
Photo: Snap, Inc.

The photo sharing and messaging app Snapchat is a hit with kids, but on Thursday its parent company was fun for investors who made it the day’s most heavily traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

Snap Inc. made its debut with shares priced at $17, but high investor demand quickly raised it to $24, putting the tech company’s value at close to $33 billion, according to reports.

iMessage may be about to cross the Android divide

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Your Android friends may soon get blue chat bubbles too.
Your Android friends may soon get blue chat bubbles too.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iMessage platform may soon be available on products that aren’t designed in Cupertino.

iMessage is set to get its first-ever app for Android, according to a new report citing a “source familiar with the company’s thinking.” If so, it sounds like it could spell trouble for Facebook Messenger and Google’s new messaging app, Allo.

Messaging app takes on Skype, WhatsApp with killer advertising

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SOMA wants to grow its users for security reasons.
SOMA wants to grow its users for security reasons.
Photo: SOMA

If you are unfamiliar with the messaging app SOMA, you will soon learn about them through a confrontational advertising campaign that implores people to give up on Skype, WhatsApp and Viber.

It’s for your own good, the company says.

SOMA Messenger encrypts data end-to-end and auto-deletes messages, its team declaring the app to be the most secure in the space. It also allows up to 500 people for group chats and up to four in group video or voice calls.

The secret messaging app getting millions of downloads

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SOMA Messenger is gaining popularity around the world for free and secure communication.
SOMA Messenger is gaining popularity around the world for free and secure communication.
Photo: Instanza Inc.

Harvard classmates Lei Guo and Oliver Hayen created what could have been just another messaging app. They knew they had something unique, as every app development team claims, so they put it in the hands of 2,000 people and hit launch.

Within 30 days, their app SOMA Messenger had 10 million users and has been growing since. They’d love to brag about who is using it, except they can’t because of security measures built into the app that prevents even them from knowing SOMA’s users.

Snapchat gets a bunch of awesome new video effects

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Snapchat just took the game to a new level.
Snapchat just took the game to a new level.
Photo: Snapchat

Videos on Snapchat are getting some new special effects today with a big update that adds ‘speed modifiers’ to the app’s toolset on both iOS and Android.

The new speed modifiers are basically video filters that allow snappers to add slo-mo, fast-forward, or rewind effects to a video. If you’re on an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus the update is even better, bringing 3D Touch support to the app for the first time.

BitTorrent’s new app is a secure alternative to iMessage and Snapchat

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You can replace iMessage and Snapchat with Bittorrent's new app. Photo: Bittorrent
You can replace iMessage and Snapchat with BitTorrent's new app. Photo: BitTorrent

BitTorrent’s not just a way to torrent anymore.

Released a couple years ago, BitTorrent Sync proved itself to be a great way to keep your files synced between machines without trusting a service like Dropbox with your data.

And now? BitTorrent Bleep, a serverless chat app, is here to show you you can do without Snapchat or iMessage.

Time-delay app buffers you against awkward texts

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New messaging app On Second Thought allows time to reconsider before a message reaches its destination. Screen grab: On Second Thought
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.

Look out, Snapchat — Facebook’s Slingshot catapults messaging to new heights

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post-284032-image-2027bc94bd8bd8341e819088f9ede21c-jpg

Facebook’s new Slingshot app takes aim at Snapchat by putting a new spin on photo-messaging. Instead of simply relying on disappearing pictures and videos, Slingshot promotes back-and-forth conversations.

How does it work? You must unlock “slings” you receive before you can look at them. You do this by sending your own sling to the sender. See how the just-released Slingshot app works in today’s quick-look video.

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How an Underappreciated iOS 7 Feature Will Change the World

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firechat

A curious download hit Apple’s App Store this week: a messaging app called FireChat.

It’s a new kind of app because it uses an iOS feature unavailable until version 7: the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. The app was developed by the crowdsourced connectivity provider Open Garden and this is their first iOS app.

The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?

But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection.

It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything. Here’s why.