Two Apps for Tuesday
Time for a Vine
Last month, the Twitter-owned Vine app claimed the number one free Apple iOS app spot. Today, the iOS-exclusive app still sits pretty at number four. It took six months for the video sharing app to get there, but given its popularity especially on Twitter, this app has staying power (it hasn’t even migrated to other platforms yet, like Android or Windows Mobile). So, what is it?
Think Instagram for videos. The Vine app allows you to take six-second videos and post them to a Twitter-like social network where you can share, view or search via hashtags. Each video loops automatically so you can let them run while you keep scrolling through the app options. Taking videos is literally as easy as pressing record. If Instagram lets everyone be a photographer, Vine makes everybody with an iPhone a video editor.
This is another app perfect for Millennials like me, who (according to every article I read about my generation) are increasingly subject to technology-induced attention problems. To be honest, I rarely watch entire YouTube videos longer than a minute (two, tops), preferring to fast forward to get to the end. Vine takes care of the attention problem. In fact, the six-second time limit has led to some really cool videos. People are finding inventive ways to take advantage of the looping feature to capture a viewer’s attention in that small window of time.
Can brands capture their audience’s attention in this new format? Believe it or not- they’re already trying. I’ve seen Twitter accounts of my favorite sports teams posting Vines of players’ pre-game warm ups. Vine challenged musicians specifically to get creative in incorporating the app into their social media habits. And, as part of its promotional campaign, The Wolverine film released a teaser as a Vine to build hype for its theatrical release. It’ll be interesting to see where users and marketers take this app from here. I, for one, am going to go try and find that Bigfoot.
iTrack: Self Tracking Apps
By Cassandra Bremer
Lately, I’ve had this running joke about checking the analytics on my life—I use my iPhone, iPad and PC (totally not cool enough to have a MacBook) to track everything from my calorie intake to my workout and sleep habits. The Huffington Post suggests I am not alone. While Nike+ is my all-time favorite self-tracking app, I’ve recently discovered and become addicted to Sleep Cycle.
Released in 2009, the Maciek Drejak Labs iOS app acts as a bio-analytic-based alarm clock that wakes users up in their lightest sleep state. As the app explains (and if you know anything about the science of sleep), people move between different stages of sleep throughout the night: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). The best/deepest sleep—the literal dream land—is REM sleep. NREM is a lighter part of the cycle that people are in most of the night. Ever wake up in the middle of a dream? Not too fun, because when woken up from an REM sleep state, people are disoriented and consequently feel less rested.
Sorry for that lesson—but education is important for Sleep Cycle appreciation.
So here’s where the app comes in. During the night (through the incredible touch sensor technology), Sleep Cycle monitors your movement and determines which sleep phase your body is in. Users program the app with the approximate time they would like to wake up, and Sleep Cycle eases the user out of sleep during the lightest phase. In short, the Sleep Cycle app simulates the user’s process of waking up naturally. I can personally attest to feeling better rested since using the app. And—as for checking the analytics on my life—Sleep Cycle charts sleep phases, time spent in bed and sleep quality. I now have the numbers to back up my ROS (return on sleep). The Sleep Cycle app may be an “oldie,” but it’s a “goodie.”