App Review: CardPointers

CardPointers is one of those apps that solves a problem that you may not realize you have. If you have more than 1 credit card then you definitely have the same problem. The basic premise is to display the variety of credit card reward options for each of your cards in a way that helps you save the most money. It is an extremely well done implementation of a confusing concept into a relatively simple app. Another key feature of CardPointers is that it will display most of the information about the cards like foreign transaction fees and annual fees, which can be helpful as you plan your finances or a trip abroad.

Dark Mode!!

Dark Mode!!

The regular mode…not dark…

The regular mode…not dark…

Built by Emmanuel Crouvisier, CardPointers takes advantage of many of the new features introduced with iOS 13 and Watch OS6. It has Dark Mode, Sign In with Apple, independent watch app and much more. As a quick aside, this was also my first opportunity to use Sign In With Apple. It was super easy and makes me feel much better than using facebook, twitter, or google for signing in to random websites.

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I loaded up my cards to see what it would say. I already knew most of the highlights of the few cards that I had but was fuzzy on some of the details. Adding the cards is very easy because you aren't logging into anything. You just indicate what card you have and if CardPointers has it in its system then it can be added to your profile. I have not added a card that wasn't already in the system yet since it had all of my cards that have rewards.

Once you have your credit cards loaded you look at your profile and see a list of cards. The magic is when you look at each category and CardPointers will show you which is the best to use in which category. There are a lot more categories than the typical groceries and gas. The list includes airlines, cable/satellite, car rentals, department stores, drug store, entertainment, gas, home improvement, hotels, office supply store, online shopping, restaurant, supermarket, telephone, utilities and then an everywhere else category (at the time of writing). For most of the categories the list of cards is the same because they each only have a few things they are good at.

My only issue with the order of the cards is the Apple Card, which I've already relayed to Emmanual. The Apple Card gives you 2% back if you use Apple Pay, but that is a big 'if' and can vary wildly depending on where you live. I can use it a lot of places like most grocery stores and drugstores, sometimes in fast food restaurants but not always, and I don't think I can for things like the cable bill so I'm stuck with only 1% back on that one. So if there was an option to choose a different card over Apple Card in the UI that could help.

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The Apple watch app is great as well. New this year in Watch OS 6 you can build standalone apps. The watch is a great interface for using CardPointers in real life. The entire app is available for use on the Apple Watch. You are standing in line and realize that you are not sure what card you should use. Using the watch app is easy and intuitive, in just a few taps you can see which card gives you the best deal.

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The next best way to use CardPointers is with Siri. Each category can be set up as a Siri Shortcut and you can ask you phone 'Best Grocery Store Card' or whatever you set up as a command and it will tell you.

CardPointers is a really good app, well built, and very useful.


Links in the article:
Emmanuel's Twitter
Get CardPointers

Apple Arcade Released Early for iPhone

Umm... Apple just released Apple Arcade three days early? Just for iPhone and the iPad, Apple TV, and Mac are coming later it says, I assume that means when they were originally supposed to release September 19th. But everything else is as they promised, free trial for 1 month and then $4.99 per month for the family.

Screenshot from the first loading screen that seems to be in every Apple Arcade game.

Screenshot from the first loading screen that seems to be in every Apple Arcade game.

I believe Apple Arcade is only supposed to be on iOS 13, that means only people on the developer or public beta program can get it since iOS 13 isn't out until September 19th as well.

I will report back as I play a few games, I haven't had a chance in between ending a late day of work, discovering Apple Arcade was released, and going to bed. Good night.

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Apple's September 2019 Event

Apple held their annual event to release new iPhones yesterday. They announced phones that we new about from leaks the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. They also announced a new iPad, new Apple Watches and the reales dates and cost of their new TV and Gaming services.

As a more-than-casual but not professional Apple fan I enjoyed the keynote. I was able to watch the first hour of the 1 hour and 45 minute keynote. They seemed to do a good job with the diversity of their presenters, the game demos were not too boring, they highlighted why we would want to buy each product, and they definitely made meaningful upgrades in a number of areas. Features like the always on watch face for the Series 5, the ultra-wide camera, the free year of Apple TV+ when you buy a new Apple product, and many more were impressive and also able to not be totally ruined by leakers and rumor sites.

Despite an overall positive keynote there are plenty of people who have been negative about Apple's announcement. Some seem to think a company shouldn't announce things apparently. Others think Apple should have put 5G in their phone despite there being no 5G in the US yet and in a few years it would probably only be in a few cities at the most. Some people were snippy that Apple's invitation said 'By Innovation Only' and they think Apple didn't innovate enough this year.

I don't mind if people like the Google Pixel more than an iPhone or that Apple's attempt at certain features like social networks leave a lot to be desired. But automatic negativity about a company's annual announcements that makes them billions of dollars is an interesting take. The headlines seem mostly for the clickbait and not an actual analysis of the situation.

Not A Good Look

Jason Fried’s tweet here speaks for itself:

The ability to buy an ad with your competitor’s name to get priority makes google a lot of money, but is a crappy way of doing business.


The Best iOS 13 Feature and the Worst iOS UI

Out of all the new iOS 13 features I think my favorite is 'Silence Unknown Callers', which sends all phone calls that are not contacts in your phone to voicemail, but more importantly, they don't ring. It smartly won't block a recent number you called, like if you called a doctor's office and they are calling you back. It also says it will not block a number from siri suggestions though I have not seen either of these in practice.

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NetNewsWire 5.0

RSS readers are back!

If you are on a mac computer then you need to drop everything you are doing and go download NetNewsWire 5.0.

There is a long story of the original creator, Brent Simmons, getting the rights back because Black Pixel were amazingly generous. They gave Brent back the rights to the name for nothing. That is amazing.

Brent has released NetNewsWire 5.0 as a free, open-source app. So, there is no cost to go try it. I have been using it for a little while and it is great so far. There is talk of an iOS app, which would be great, but it doesn't need one to still be great. Until then I am using Reeder and syncing with Feedbin.

So go download NetNewsWire 5.0 immediately here, do not pass go and do not collect $200.

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