Version Reviewed: 1.4
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
You can’t help but feel a charging iPhone could be put to more use. The enormous battery indicator Apple slapped on there is nice to look at but it only tells you one thing. For those of you who feel the time your iPhone spends out of action could be put to better use, Wired Frame could be worth a look.
At first glance, the app is visually pleasing enough (although I wouldn’t say it was up to Apple’s standards) and displays the time, weather and date at the top as well as your RSS and Twitter messages down at the bottom. When tapped, they bring up a few more details and the option to open the link in the Safari browser. It’s a simple enough layout and suits its purpose well. If you wish to change the information being shown, you simply swipe your finger to scroll through on the section you wish to change. The main thing I initially noticed here was that the app took a long time to load, some ten seconds at times, which for an app you want to load quickly to view information is a big turn off.
To bring up the settings, you simply double tap in the centre which brings up a new menu of ‘Settings’ and ‘Save Picture’. ‘Save Picture’ simply saves the current background image to your camera roll, a useful feature if you’ve set your background as interesting pictures from Flickr and want to save the photo. Tapping ‘Settings’, unsurprisingly, brings up the apps settings.
There are plenty of ways to customise the app, such things as the speed your information scrolls across the screen, the font you wish to use, the clock format and how long till the phone auto-locks are all customisable from the settings screen. For most purposes, the basic customisation was sufficient to get the app working as I’d like but I was surprised to see a lack of an analogue clock and the choices of font were quite sparse. It would have also been nice to have the ability to expand the RSS and Twitter panel to fill the screen and display as a list as I personally find ticker-tape style information to be counter productive as you are forced to wait for the information you want to scroll around.
Following this, you have the ability to log-in to Twitter and Flickr. There are no additional options for Twitter which was a shame, it would have been nice to be given the ability to display the public feed rather than your own or just your replies, for example. Flickr, however, offers up many options, namely displaying your own photos, a user-defined tag or those deemed ‘Interesting’ by Flickr. It would be nice if the developers added in a couple of other photo hosting sites to the mix as to give some choice (namely Photobucket and MobileMe) but I felt the Flickr integration was sufficient for its purpose. Following this you can add RSS and Photo-RSS feeds which entails simply typing in your desired RSS feed, nice and simply. The RSS pane also comes with a few pre-defined feeds (such as Engadget and TechCrunch) which was appreciated in getting started.
As far as stability is concerned, it was quite good however when I first logged into Flickr the app crashed but seemed fine on subsequent log-ins. Similarly, now and again, the app does seem to go extremely slow (when there was no network connection, it simply stalled rather than using cached information) and sometimes your taps and swipes are ignored by the interface.
Considered as an app on its own, Wired Frame is pretty good. It does what it sets out to do but falls short due to some stability issues and the occasional bout of unresponsiveness. My big problem with Wired Frame, and any similar app, is that due to the limitations of the SDK, it’s not possible to integrate it into the iPhone by any means so to use the app, it needs to be launched every time. Ideally, the app would automatically launch after a sync or when on charge. I appreciate that this isn’t the developer’s fault but it makes the actual usable value of the app almost zero. If you don’t mind launching the app every time and want something to display on your iPhone’s screen when docked, Wired Frame does a decent good job but as a paid app, I can’t help but feel there isn’t enough here to justify actually paying for it.