The next wave of fitness trackers will do a lot more than count your steps, mold raw data, and present it all for you in a pretty chart for you to glance at and forget about. If Jawbone Up is any indication, these wearables will use the subtle power of suggestion to help us live healthier lives, too.
Today, Jawbone is rolling out a new, slightly tongue-in-cheek but sleek app to help manage our caffeine intake. It is called Up Coffee.
Its premise is simple enough: You log your coffee, tea, and energy drink consumption in the app, which will tell you where you fall on a spectrum from “Wired” to “Sleep Ready.” If you have a fitness band, it will make correlations, and tell you when it might be wise to stop your intake if you’re hoping to sleep at a reasonable hour that night. “After tracking both caffeine intake and sleep for 10 days, Up Coffee can tell you things like the amount of sleep you lose on average for every 100mg of caffeine you ingest,” the company says.
Hoping to replicate its headphones success in the streaming market, Beats is positioning its service—which will take on the likes of Spotify, Google, Apple, and others—as the one that understands users’ emotions, offering the best of human curation and computer algorithm.
I find a lot of “interactive music apps” intimidating, because while they may have clever interfaces, the limiting factor on their output is always my own complete lack of musical intuition. I wouldn’t expect that jangling on the keys of a piano would sound decent if I didn’t know what I was doing; why should a music app be any different? That’s what makes Scott Snibbe’s latest app, Synthetica (made in collaboration with the independent rock and roll band Metric), so delightfully surprising. It really is pretty hard to make sucky music with this thing.
Sharecare, the Atlanta-based digital platform for expert health information, is trying to help consumers take the guesswork out of at-home diagnoses with AskMD, a free, iOS 7-exclusive app out today. The app takes you through a highly personalized, step-by-step consultation that narrows down your possible health conditions to the best possible matches for you.
Peretti foresees a future for the app that includes additional apps-within-the-app, as well. “Chels-emojis are in the works,” she says, excited. “I use emojis heavily in life, and I think a lot of people do. There are a number that are frustratingly absent—you know how there’s kind of a generic white man and a generic white woman? I just want to put a generic black man and a generic black woman. I want to put some similar things to what’s in the filters—like a bear, and a wolf—and I’ve noticed things that are missing from the vegetables, such as a radish.”
The founders of YouTube have released a new video app called MixBit. On first glance, it might seem MixBit is in direct competition with Vine or Instagram Video, but if it’s actually very different.
Instead of merely being able to share, view, and comment on videos from the stream or from people you follow on the service, MixBit allows you to add to and remix content uploaded by other users or yourself. Remixed videos can be up to an hour long.
A New App Will Let You Share Your Leftovers With Strangers
Startups have made it so much easier for peer-to-peer buying and bartering these days. Need a place to stay? Swap houses. Want to fill out your wardrobe? Swap clothing. And coming soon is Leftover Swap, a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers.
This is either ingenius or cringe-worthy, depending on your penchant for other people’s unfinished meals.
"It’s obviously not for everybody," says Leftover Swap co-founder Dan Newman. “But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there’s people who love the idea."
The challenged asked developers and designers tobuild a new kind of retail experience on top of Target’s e-commerce platform, going from a plan to a product in just 90 days. The winner?Social shopping app called Divvy, brought home the $75,000 grand prize.
Built by Team Pilot, Divvy is meant to make shopping more efficient- especially in a group setting. With features that make it easier to split bills, share copies of receipts, maintain shared transaction history, and earn rewards points, Divvy ultimately aims to lead to less trips to the store, less time wasted shopping, and a more transparent budget/expenditure situation for a family, group, or team.
Imagine a family out and about their daily activities. One family member decides to take a trip to Target. She can add other family members or friends to the shopping list, allowing them to contribute items. The family member at Target collects and buys the items, and the other family members or friends can settle up in-app, right away, along with receiving a copy of the itemized receipt and appropriately distributed rewards points.
Team Pilot was able to complete the app to such a degree that work is already underway to release it to the public under the official Target brand. It will be Target’s fourth mobile application.
"One of the most important things to remember is that these companies don’t happen over night. They’re not an over-night success story, as I think a lot of people view certain companies. It’s really about finding what works and iterating your product."
—Danielle Abes, director of Qwiki, a video-sharing app that turns pictures and videos from events you’ve captured on your iPhone into brief, sharable movies.