Did You Find My Message?

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Over the past few years there have been countless messaging apps that enable users to reach out to friends over new mediums in fun and useful ways. Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are the most successful, but they aren’t even relatively fun compared to this new app.

Traces is an app where you send messages that can only be retrieved by your friends when they get to a specific location. So, when you are sending a message you pick a place where the receiver has to go within a time limit that you set in order to open it. It’s like a scavenger hunt, but with messages. Traces lets you share messages, videos, and even songs. The only downside is that the app is currently only available in the UK where it is in beta – but they are planning on bringing it to the US soon, so for now we just have to hang in there.

What Sparks our Fire: A fun new way to message our friends

Where would you place a Trace?

Upgrade Your Contacts

Humin

It’s no secret that most of Apple’s native apps are lacking in features and there are third party apps that function much better. The one app that I previously saw no need to improve was my Contacts app. It simply does a great job of saving my contact’s phone numbers and email addresses in a simple format. Well, after downloading Humin I now can see how much I’ve been missing out on.

Humin does much more than keep track of how to contact the people you know, it reminds you how you know people, helps you remember them, and can even help you contact them. When adding a new contact into the app, by just entering a phone number or email address, it will automatically add a photo, where and when you added the contact, and where they work. While these features may appear intrusive, Humin guarantees that they are only taking the minimum amount of data onto their servers, so majority of it they will never have access to. Swiping over a contacts picture allows you to call them right from the app, or it can take you to your text message conversation with them, allowing you to use this app to fully replace the green phone app.

This app redefines what a contacts app can do by bringing your contacts into the 21st century, far away from the days of keeping a rolodex on your desk.

What Sparks our Fire: Apps that help us out.

Are you ready to improve your contacts app?

Go Explore

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There are countless apps out there that offer great location-based services. Yelp and the recently redesigned Foursquare are two of the best out there when you are looking for something to do nearby. But one of the giants has entered the market and is poised to take them down.

Google announced a new feature for its Google Maps app for iOS and Android that allows you to explore your area. The feature offers you suggestions on what to do based on your location, the weather, and time of day. For example, by just tapping the explore button while at my desk in the morning, it suggests the best nearby coffee shops, but when I check it before I leave work it recommends restaurants, bars, and movie theaters instead. When it’s raining out, you can be sure it won’t recommend that you go to the nearest outdoor swimming pool. If you aren’t looking for something right now, you can easily just enter the time of day that you are looking to go and explore.

What Sparks our Fire: An easy way to explore your city.

What do you think of Google tackling the nearby recommendation category with this update?

How Do You Unlock Your Phone?

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The days of using a button or passcode to unlock your phone appear to be long gone. The simple “slide to unlock” feature that Apple released with the first iPhone in 2007 is already outdated. New Apple and Samsung phones are placing emphasis on new technology that allows you to use your fingerprint to securely unlock your phone. The folks at Motorola with their partners at VivaLnk agree that their unlock feature needed an overhaul, but it’s not exactly the same as what Apple and Samsung are doing.

Owners of the Moto X phone can now use temporary tattoos to unlock their phone. All you need to do is place the back of your phone over the tattoo to simply and quickly unlock your phone. Users no longer need to worry about password protecting their phone and taking the time to enter it. Is this more useful than a fingerprint scanner? Probably not, but it is a great attempt by Motorola to differentiate its offering from the competition. The tattoo is the size of a nickel, lasts for five days, and connects to your phone by using near field communication technology.

What Sparks our Fire: Seeing Motorola attempting to differentiate itself from the big guns of mobile technology.

Would you use a tattoo to unlock your phone?

Pick an Apple

In what seems to be a yearly tradition, the tech world has forgotten about the iPhone 5s and instead is focusing on the new iteration of Apple hardware. What will it look like? How fast will it be? Will Siri be able to teach me how to love again?

All these questions and more are being asked as the new screens for the iPhone 6 begin production. According to reports, 4.7-inch screens will begin production next month, while 5.5-inch screens may be delayed. This production ramp-up is purported to signify the release of a new iPhone this fall. New, larger screens are the clearest signification of an entirely redesigned iPhone, closer to the appearance of the iPad Air and the new iTouch, which is to say larger sceens, smaller bevels, rounded edges, and a look completely different from the 5s. A concept for the new hardware can be seen below.

iPhoneAir

 Mashable refers to it as the “iPhone Air”.

What Sparks Our Fire: Speculation on the new iPhone is a hobby for most of the internet. Regardless of how correct they are, the new generation of iPhone is likely to be artistic, refined, and minimalist.

What do you think the new iPhone will look like?