Update 12-21-12. Last week I wrote a blog post for the Cards greeting card app (by Apple). My experience working with this greeting card app was mostly pleasant, being easy to use, and I was excited to try out the process of creating real customized greeting cards that I could complete and have mailed right from my iPad. There was only one minor thing that drove me crazy while working in this app and it was the lack of a “Home” button to help me quickly navigate around in this app. On Friday (12-14-12), I created a family Christmas card and sent it to my mother as a test (using a photo taken with the iPhone and working from my iPad). After creating, “addressing” the card, and finalizing the mailing process, I just had to sit back and wait for Apple to do their magic. But the true test of this greeting card app’s value would be whether or not the card delivered within the stated time and did the overall quality meet expectations?
Things were looking good so far since I did receive a notification on my iPhone that the card was being delivered, as stated in Apple’s description. My mother received the card on Wednesday, well before the 5-7 business days. She brought the Christmas card over for examination. The envelope was of a fairly nice paper quality and came with a special Apple created stamp (a simple heart shaped paper airplane on a yellow background). I think a nicer touch would be to have been to have the stamp design match the occasion of the card being sent (balloons for birthdays, hearts for valentines — heck, why not use their own icons which specify the different card occasions found within the app). The card was addressed in a pleasing, black-inked cursive font (slightly faded with a digitally printed look). I was pleasantly surprised to find a translucent wax paper insert to protect the card — quite impressive — but the card itself? Not so much.
Yes, the raised/embossed bird design was nicely done on the front of the card, as was the row of tiny flowers on the inside. The message I created was correct and perfectly placed; this customization is a nice feature. The ability to create my own card saying and personalized message is probably my favorite feature in this real greeting card app. I was disappointed to see that my photo was printed on the card cover and not added as an additional insert or attachment. I knew the photo was going to be matte, but I didn’t expect this. The photo/card preview of the completed card product looked way better than it did on the mailed greeting card. And from the example ones I saw in the app, they looked like nice photo inserts/attachments and not printed “on the card” like my mother received.
So the printed photo quality is good but I wasn’t overly impressed. I think the thing that most bummed me out was that my expectation of “ultra premium cotton paper” was greater than what was sent. I’ve picked up printed cards at my local TJ Maxx or speciality shop with comparable or better paper quality. Don’t get me wrong, the card was nice quality, but just didn’t exude the high quality I was after for the $2.99 (that includes postage) per card. Having said all that, you have to take into consideration that this greeting card app gives you the convenience of time and ease of creation, freedom to personalize your own message and change up the standard card message, as well as have a real card mailed for you using the iPad’s technology, and right from the comfort of your home (using iPhone or iPad photos) — so it may be well worth it to you.
Cards (by Apple), a greeting card app, gives you the ease and convenience of quickly creating real customized greeting cards on your iPhone, iPod Touch — and now the iPad. Once you’ve created your high quality embossed letterpress cards, they are sent out for you through the US Postal Service, and delivered to friends and family all around the world — without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
Although most of us love the convenience of digital e-cards (because we can create and send virtual cards through email in a just a matter of minutes), there’s something special about holding a real card in your hands as you read it. Thanks to Apple’s Cards greeting card app, you get the best of both worlds. This Lifestyle application provides a variety of occasion templates to select from (now with 6 Holiday card templates) and allows you to customize the card and message text, add photos, and have it delivered in a personalized “handwritten” addressed envelope from you.
This greeting card app offers a variety of occasion templates to select from, with approximately 29 different design templates overall that have 2-3 variations of each design. The specific occasion categories span: Holiday, Thank You, Travel, Birthday, Baby, Love, Get Well, Mother’s Day, and Any. With the Cards greeting card app, you can opt to use their standard card message or add your own. Cards is easy to use, and has an ultra clean layout (typical of Apple) that gives nice in-depth (but easy to follow) directions upfront like: Cost, Learn More and Create. It’s in the Learn more area that you’ll find everything you need to know about how to use this app: About Cards, Create a Card, Send a Card, Ordering and Billing, and Terms and Conditions. Taps and swipes are all you need get around in this greeting card app. With a simple tap on the Create button, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own personalized e-card.
I love the simple occasion icons (that sit on the bottom navigation) signifying the different occasions (snowflake, smiley face, plane, birthday cake, baby carriage, heart, Band-Aid, and rose). Within each of these categories, within this greeting card app, are roughly 30+ template options, but before you get too excited, many are only slight variations of another template (ex: you’ll have the same design pattern where 1 template has no text on the front but the other does, or has room for 1 photo to be added in its template and the other has a 2 photo option) — which is why I say there are only approximately 29 design templates in this greeting card app.
The selection of cards seems somewhat basic and most come in soft pastel colors, which are nice, but it would be better to have additional color options to choose from within these pre-made templates, and more exciting card template options as well. From the card graphics shown within this greeting card app, these textured/embossed cards look to be of very nice quality. According to Apple, these cards are made with “ultra premium cotton paper.” I appreciate the concept of these beautifully embossed textured greeting cards that harken back to the days when delivered cards were a very special thing.
When creating your own card, there are 3 parts to work with: the outside/front, inside, and envelope. Some cards templates have no photo options. I had no problems adding a photo using my camera nor using photos from my camera roll. You can resize photos by pinching in and out, double taps restore image to original size or maximum zoom, and you can obviously use the same photo to test out different frames, and save to view and manipulate later — before determining your favorite. Most cards in this greeting card app have 1 or 2 photo cutouts, but a few have 3 photo cutouts to place your own pictures in. If you don’t care for the standard card message that comes with the card — change it.
The sayings are okay, but most lack zest in my opinion, so I added my own. One nice feature of this greeting card app is in the Travel category. If you allow the app to use your current location, the name of the place (city) wherever you’re at will display on the card/photo. I tested it out creating a card from the Travel category and it worked perfectly — and did list my correct city on the front message tag. I kind of like that. Another cool thing is that you can send multiple cards out at one time (up to 12) in 1 order, but still be able to personalize each. Speaking of personalizing, you can use your Contacts’ info to address your envelopes in a snap (to include their whole family on the address) or put the information in by hand.
The Cards greeting card app takes the hassle out shopping for a card, hunting for a stamp, and then getting it out in the mail. Cards is a free application, but the cost of creating and sending these quality cards through the US Postal Service will run you $2.99 for US addresses and $4.99 around the world. US delivery is 5-7 business days and International is 9-16 business days. However, there is a sales tax charge in addition for US addresses. A pretty cool feature in this e-card greeting card app is that any card sent within the US will come with specially designed Apple postage. And you’ll receive a notification on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad when your card has been delivered. If you have a handful of cards to send out, this greeting card app could be a great solution, but may not be practical for the big Christmas card list of family and friends you have — unless money is no object for you. I sent a specialized Christmas card to my mother as a test. I’ll let you know if it delivered within the specified time and the overall quality of the card itself, so stay tuned for results.
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