Apple(s aapl) highlighted three of its own apps that will arrive Oct. 12: an updated Camera app, Cards, and Find My Friends. We had heard about some of the updates to Camera during this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but Cards and Find My Friends are new, somewhat curious additions with lots of potential.
Camera. The best part of the new Camera app is you can access it right from the lock screen. A close second is the ability to use the top volume button as a shutter. These should help you take quicker and better pictures. Not having to unlock your phone and tap the Camera could be the difference to taking a funny picture of your kid, or taking a picture of where your kid used to be. Using the volume button should reduce camera shake from haphazardly stabbing the on-screen button to capture an image.
You can also show a grid while taking your photo to help you take a straight image, and lock in the exposure and focus. I’m really looking forward to the exposure lock to take photos like this on my iPhone. My iPhone isn’t my best camera, but it’s the camera I always have with me, and I’m looking forward to these improvements.
Cards. I found Cards to be a curious lead-off for the iOS portion, as well as a head-scratcher for its inclusion at all. Cards is a free download, has 21 different designs for letterpress cards, and it will cost you $2.99 to have them mailed in the U.S. or $4.99 anywhere else. While I’m cynical about this service’s chances at success, I think it’s a great way to easily send travel postcards with a custom note right from your iPhone, especially when paired with the new Camera app.
Find my Friends. My first reaction to Find My Friends was a sarcastic, “So, now you can tell if your husband really is where he says he is.” The reality is, I could have used this feature a couple of weeks ago. A contractor was having trouble finding my house and I couldn’t help him based on his description of his surroundings. If we both had iPhones and Find My Friends, it would have really helped out. Apple has given Disneyland as place where it could come in handy, and that’s a good example. Apple also seems to have kept privacy in mind by allowing you to go off the grid and decide whom you will share your location with using simple touch-based controls.