Editors' Note: The download button opens the iTunes App Store, where you may continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed with an active iTunes account in order to download and install the software. This download may not be available in some countries.
Among the announcements when Apple released iOS 5, a couple of downloadable apps became available at the iTunes App Store. One of them, Cards, lets you create fold-in-the-middle greeting cards on your iPhone, then Apple sends them on real paper via snail mail. While other services have done this in the past, Apple's method is very intuitive with several designs to choose from, and the cost is about what it would be to go buy a greeting card in a store.
Immediately upon launch, you're given an intuitive interface for selecting the exterior of your card. Across the bottom of the screen you can choose from icons to show cards for traveling, birthdays, holidays, and a few others, or you can select all to look at every design. There are a lot of good design choices here, but we think it could have been better with more customization options--perhaps that's something that will come in future updates. To be fair, Apple says the reason the designs are limited is because the Cards are letterpress (debossed on a Heidelberg press), which explains some of the borders and designs that you cannot change. Once you've settled on a design, you can customize with your own pictures from your photo library and edit what it says on the outside of the card.
Across the top of the interface are buttons for Outside, Inside, and Envelope. From here you touch inside to customize the greeting. Apple has several premade greetings that are appropriate for each type of card, but you also can replace the text with your own words or make smaller tweaks to the text inside if Apple's greeting is close to what you want. Again, you get limited options for design customization on the inside as well, so whatever borders and fonts that come with your chosen design are what you get.
Finally, you can touch the Envelope button, or touch the envelope on the screen to switch to envelope view. From here, you can fill in the recipient's address and your return address, then send your card. The service costs $2.99 to send your card in the U.S. and $4.99 internationally.
Other smart additions to Cards are helpful as well. Once a card is made the Cards app saves it to your iPhone so you can send the same card to multiple addresses (like holiday cards, for example). Also, on the day your card is delivered, you will receive a notification on your phone so you'll know it got to the recipient.
Overall, we think Apple's Cards is a fun and easy way to send someone a nice greeting. With a few more card styles to choose from and more design customization options for the outside and inside of the cards (specifically borders and fonts), we think this app would be worthy of a 5-star rating.
The Cards app from Apple lets you create and mail beautifully crafted, real greeting cards personalized with your own text and photos right from your iPhone or iPod touch, and now from your iPad too. Cards 2.0 takes advantage of the iPads additional screen real estate, making it even easier to customize cards with your own photos and text. Just choose one of your photos and with a fewtaps and swipes, an elegant thank you note or wish-you-were-here card is on its way to any mailbox in the world. Choose from dozens of designs, including six new holiday themes, then customize your card with a personal message and photo. You can evensend multiple cards at once by selecting up to 12recipients, personalizing each card, and sending them off as a single order to be mailed individually to your friends and family perfect for the upcoming holidays.Custom letterpress cards Cards combine a centuries-old letterpress technique with your digital text and photos Each card is crafted from 100 percent cotton paper and imprinted with an elegant debossed design Choose from dozens of designs for eight occasions: Holiday, Thank You, Get Well, Baby, Birthday, Love, Travel andMothers Day Customize the placeholder text for any occasion, such as an anniversary or graduation Add up to 3 photos to your card or send one with just textLocation integration If you select one of the Travel designs, your card automatically displays the name of your current location Choose a photo with GPS data, and the card shows the name of the place where the photo was takenPrepaid postage included U.S. customers can send a card within the U.S. for $2.99 including postage Send a card anywhere else in the world for $4.99 including postage Select addresses from your Contacts and easily personalize them from Mr. Johnny Appleseed to The Appleseed Family, for example To place your order, simply enter your Apple ID password In the U.S., your card will include our own Apple-designed postageDelivery notification Cards mailed to U.S. addresses make use of the United States Postal Service Intelligent Mail barcode On the day your card is to be delivered, youll receive a notification on your iPhone or iPod touchCard history All your cards are automatically saved and can be viewed in a history list You can resend any card to another recipient perfect for when you have a lot of friends to thank or you want to spread the word about the newest member of your familyTotal order price includes postage.For orders with a U.S. billing address, sales tax will be added to the order price.For orders with a non-U.S. billing address, the order price will include applicable VAT.
What's new in this version:
Universal app with native support for iPad Six beautiful new letterpress holiday card designs New layouts support up to 3 photos on a single card Mail customized cards to up to 12 recipients in the same order Images in iPhoto can be shared directly to Cards Automatic image sharpening improves print quality Enhanced Card History view on iPad Improvements to address verification Improvements to the checkout process