With iOS 10, Apple opened up its doors to third party applications and a lot of customization on the app. It was looking to rival the standards set by apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The new version isn’t here in all its glory yet though. iOS 10 is still a few days away presuming it launches alongside its hardware counterpart, the iPhone 7. There’s a new contender on the block though. It’s called Amity. And it looks a hell of a lot like iMessage and Facebook Messenger. But the thing is, it’s far more intimate and personal.
The first thing you’ll notice about the app is that it works differently. There are a whole lot of drag and drop options and just more you can do with the app than on other messenger apps; or at least the app allows easier access to options than its distant cousins out there.
You can send photos, links, videos, voice message and emojis inside the app itself. You don’t have to switch screens. And Amity offers a series of custom emojis and stickers so you don’t have to install special keyboards. Another cool feature is called “Memories”. It’s an archive of the videos, photos, links, articles etc. that you’ve sent to each other over the length of your conversation. You can look at them any time you want and reminisce. This is a really cool feature that is present on Facebook in groups where you can look up files and photos uploaded to it but there isn’t anything like it on the Messenger or iMessage app.
Another personal feature is called “postcards” which allows you to send your location to your contact along with crowd sourced photos and other information taken from Foursquare. You can”high five” a friend by sending an emoji and he can return the favour by tapping that emoji. There’s also “nudge”, which uses the vibration on your friend’s phone to physically nudge him/her while the screen shakes.
You can request different things from your friends like photos and videos or locations too. You simply send them the request and a timer starts on their end. They can choose to respond and when they click your message it opens up the camera or the video camera or the in built maps to respond to you immediately.
The most personal of all is “Live mode”. This triggers itself when two people join the same chat on the same screen. This allows for some features like live gestures and emojis and emoji bursts. You can choose an emoji and drag it on to the screen where it explodes in to dozens.
Apple’s upgraded iMessage app was a surprise to Amity CEO and co-founder Johnny Cheng. He was relying on the new and fresh look of the Amity app to floor customers but now he has to compete with one of the biggest tech companies out there. It’s in a little trouble since it’s crashing on the iOS 10 developer build but apps do that on betas.
The app is available on iOS and Android.