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Cards

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CNET Editors' review

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.

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