By Jason Snell
May 31, 2017 5:30 PM PT
By Request: My last two apps
Subscriber Gary asks: What are the last two iOS apps you bought, why, and did they do what you hoped they did?
Fun question, Gary! Here are the two most recent apps in my Purchased history:
Caséta Wireless, free. Not much of an app, I’ll admit, but a window into a new product I bought recently that I’m excited about: Lutron’s Caseta Wireless line of smart-home accessories, most specifically HomeKit and Alexa compatible light switches.
I’ve been toying with smart light bulbs for a while now, but most of my house is full of regular bulbs of various kinds, and I don’t really want to replace them with Wi-Fi bulbs. What I really want is a light switch smart enough to do what I tell it to do, and control the bulbs already in place. The Caséta Wireless line does that, and the other day I swapped out an existing dimmer switch in my living room for one of these connected switches.
The result: I can now tell Alexa or Siri to dim the lights in the living room. I can use my iPhone. I can set a rule that turns the living-room lights off at 11:30 whether we’re out there or not (because sometimes we forget to do it). There’s even a wireless remote that lets us adjust the lights from the couch. Pretty great—and a solution to a real problem, which was my wife asking me to dim the lights just after I had sat down on the couch to watch some television in the evening.
The Lutron app itself isn’t much, but it did let me set up the switch and remote, and lets me configure groups of lights and add schedules. Once everything’s set up, I can basically control all this stuff via the Home app (or even the Home section of Control Center), so over time I don’t anticipate I’ll use it much. But we’ll use that light switch every day.
Korvpressor, $8. Forgive the podcast nerdiness here, but I do actually edit podcasts on iOS from time to time, using the excellent app Ferrite Recording Studio. Earlier this month we took a family trip to Seattle and I didn’t bother to take a Mac with me—I edited The Incomparable 352 on the plane using Ferrite, and recorded and edited the Doctor Who Flashcast about “Oxygen” using only my portable recorder equipped with FlashAir card and Ferrite.
When I edit podcasts on the Mac, I use third-party plug-ins to improve the audio, most notably by using compression—basically, a method by which the volume of an audio track is smoothed out, so quieter parts get louder and louder parts get quieter. Unfortunately, I was getting frustrated with the built-in compressor offered by Ferrite. Fortunately, beginning with iOS 9, Apple now allows app developers on iOS to use the same Audio Units technology used to create audio plug-ins for macOS, and Ferrite supports Audio Units.
So I hit the App Store and found Korvpressor, an odd sausage-themed(!) bit of software that works well inside of Ferrite and offers a very simple, adjustible compression interface. There’s a standalone app, of course—that’s the only way to deploy software on iOS, really—but I don’t anticipate ever using it. Instead, I’m using the Korvpressor plug-in inside of Ferrite. It really works!
Look at you, iOS. You’re getting so big.