Yesterday, I tried to prepare for the visit to the Dr by looking for a new iPhone app for Aiden. Generally speaking, he only spends time on the iPhone during our morning cuddles, and mostly he just watches short YouTube clips. Most apps he has a very short attention span for.
By luck, I stumbled across the Toddler Teasers set of iPhone apps and gave the animals version a try. I was blown away. Aiden instantly understood what to do.
The apps are simple… audio prompts asks a series of quiz sets such as “Touch the dog” and “Point to the pig”, giving 3 or more options to choose from. The levels increase with success, adding more variables. Aiden whipped through them no problem, I was floored. When you get a right answer, the app cheers. A wrong answer prompts to continue trying.
After a pre-determined number of quizzes, there is a sticker page. Although he was a little slower to understand what to do there, he now knows. Today, I bought add-ons at $0.99 each for the alphabet, colours, foods, cars and numbers. There are more choices too. He had no problem with the colours or foods, which totally surprised me. He even knew some letters!
Totally loving this app. I had no idea that Aiden knew so much!! And he LOVES it – he laughs and smiles and cheers when he gets things right. Great to pull out in a pinch when waiting for food at a restaurant, in a doctor’s office, or to play together to learn in a different way (I found that my repetition of the questions increased his accuracy).
I’ve been using Camera+ for all of my photos lately from my iPhone. Even if you don’t like adding filters or changes to your iPhone photos, you’ll want to consider this app. The biggest plus, in my books, is simply the speed – the application launches, and takes photos, faster than the in-build iPhone camera application!
There are lots of features about why I consider this to be an ideal app for parents of small kids:
- Camera+ launches faster than the in-build camera
- You don’t need to wait for the photo to save before taking another photo (it background saves)
- You can set the camera to "burst" mode to capture many images in a row (great for a moving target like a toddler)
- You can save images or upload directly to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc
- You can save or upload single or multiple images
- There are many effects (FX) to choose from, as well as simple scene mode fixes and borders. And cropping!!
There are fancier features that make this app unique, like the touch exposure and focus, but even if you just use these basic features, you’ll never go back to the regular camera. Now, if only they did video too!!
I have tried several other photo applications for the iPhone including Hipstamatic, Instagram, QuadCamera, CameraBag, Darkroom, and more. Sometimes to get the effect or crop I wanted, I ended up using a couple of applications in a row. Very annoying. I don’t often add effects, but sometimes it’s nice to play around. I’ve decided I like apps that add effects after the photo is taken, so no potentially good photos are ruined by unexpected effects results.
I’ll use a few of my less-than-great images to demonstrate how I used Camera+ to make them into great images.
In particular, I was able to take an otherwise low-quality image (right) of Aiden and make it seem unique. By making the photo black & white, you couldn’t tell that we had on our “doing the laundry” sheets, which aren’t so white anymore, and I further enhanced the theme of “old man pajamas” by using an old-fashioned border.
The app is also fun for non-baby photos, as I demonstrated last night. While waiting for Aiden to fall asleep, I took a self portrait and got many positive comments. However, I can’t claim all the glory! Using the Camera+ Polarize FX and Vignette border, I was able to take a grainy low-light image that made me look kind of blah and turn it into something more glam:
Nothing compares to the SLR for clarity, but you can achieve some great shots with your iPhone given the right conditions. For inspiration, check out the Killer Photos with Your iPhone book co-authored by my friend, Kris Krug.