Remember Apple’s .Mac electronic iCards? Sadly, there’s no equivalent Apple app for the iPhone — but third-party solutions are available. That means if you’re truly pressed for time this holiday season, you can send holiday cards while you’re riding the bus, waiting in line at the store, or — well, anywhere that you can use your iPhone.
Here are two solid apps for creating electronic holiday cards, both of them free in the App Store:
Red Stamp has plenty of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Holiday templates with bold, contemporary designs. Some templates require adding your own photo or photos, but quite a few are all-graphics designs — just edit the greeting text, and you’re ready to go.
While Red Stamp offers a pay-per-card print-and-mail service, sending your Red stamp card by email or text message (or publishing it on Facebook or Twitter) is free. The email option was astonishingly easy — as soon as I began typing an address, it offered options from my Contacts.
Bill Atkinson PhotoCard – Postcards. (Alert! This 208 MB download means you’ll want to be using a good wifi connection.) With PhotoCard we come full circle, because Atkinson’s stunning landscapes and nature photography formed the core of Apple’s original iCards collection in 2001.
This app is works best if you have your own holiday photo (or a holiday image you’ve created in a layout program and placed into an album, Camera Roll, or Photo Stream in the iPhone). That’s because the in-app photo offerings includes only one seasonal image (the great shot of fir trees, which I used to create the card you see below) — though it does offer some nice holiday-themed stamps.
The Photocard app includes a thorough user guide and, unlike Red Stamp, Photocard provides you with excellent control over typefaces and font size. Like Red Stamp, it gives you immediate access to your Contacts for easy addressing.
Note: Photocard also lets you record a voice message (represented on your card by an attractive caption bubble). It’s a great feature in theory, but in practice I found the delivery of the message was less than intuitive for the recipient. If you want to add a voice message, I suggest you send a card to yourself first to see if you like the presentation.