Cards (iOS App)

Cards is one of the lesser quality Apple iOS apps (think MobileMe Gallery rather than Keynote).  The premise is simple: you create a greeting card on your iOS device (just like you would in iPhoto) and through in-app purchasing you pay for it to be printed and sent (anywhere in the world) – unlike in iPhoto where you’d have to order many and they’d be sent to you to then send on.

Aspects of the app are good – the templates are very customisable and generally nice, and it’s a pretty simple process to create a card.  The pricing ($6.50 including postage) is extremely reasonable considering the cost of a decent (not customised) card elsewhere.

However, there are considerable flaws: the purchasing is odd – it doesn’t use the standard in-app purchasing system (I can’t understand why not), so you’re prompted for more information than simply your App Store password; the App is bizarrely iPhone/iPod resolution only (nearly the same interface would work perfectly well on an iPad, where you’ve got access to all your high-quality photos via Photo Stream anyway); and the cards take forever to arrive.

The latter is the most significant flaw, of course.  In a few cases (e.g. “thank you” cards) it doesn’t matter how long the card takes to arrive; in most cases (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, …) timing is actually very important.  We sent a card while visiting the Auckland Museum at the end of the school holidays, and it took over a week to arrive; one has apparently been sent to us (around the same time) and has yet to arrive.  The “shipping notification” email arrives days before the card does, indicating that the problem isn’t in the printing, but in the delivery (presumably they are being printed in Australia and there’s some sort of international shipping delay causing issues).

It’s likely that this is a problem specific to New Zealand (and perhaps isolated other countries).  Unfortunately, that does mean that it’s less likely that it’ll be quickly fixed.  We’ll probably try this again in a couple of weeks, and see if the speed has improved – if not, then the app is only useable in rare circumstances, which is unfortunate, because we’d likely otherwise use it quite frequently.

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One response to this post.

  1. We finally got one of these. Interestingly the stamp wasn’t franked, so I couldn’t tell when it was sent (but it took at least two weeks to arrive), but said it was a $0.98 *US* stamp. If they are sending these all from the US, rather from various countries around the world, like with the iPhoto printing, then it’s no wonder it’s so slow.

    http://ircalc.usps.gov gives $0.98 as the price for “First-Class Mail® International Letter” postage. The next-cheapest option is delivery in 6-10 business days, and is $13.95. So whatever “First-Class” means, it clearly must be more than 6-10 business days.

    So this really is just unusable outside of the US, unless you’re willing to have your card delivered at some unpredictable date weeks in the future.

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