There’s no shortage of online services designed to help you plan events and remind you of special occasions. Indeed, while there are a myriad of calendar apps and social networks designed to do just that, TimeAppsule for iOS is taking a slightly different approach by letting you send time-locked content to friends up to a year in advance.
How it works
First up, you’ll need to create an account which takes seconds, then you can create your first virtual capsule. There’s a range of pre-set themes, including Birthday, Congratulations, Get Well Soon and Surprise.
Once you’ve chosen from around a dozen designs for each category, you can then type a short message, include a photo, and a video of up to 15 seconds in length.
Now, you can also pin a location, which could be useful if you’re asking the recipient to be at a certain place at a certain time (e.g. a birthday surprise). Once you’re done, you select an email address, an opening date/time and a greeting message.
The message can be set for anything up to a year in advance and, although the recipient will be notified about the capsule as soon as it’s sent, it can’t be opened until the specified time. All they’ll see is capsule and a clock counting down.
So far so good, right? Indeed, it is a very simple idea, one that could prove to be a hit, except for a few issues. Firstly, when the message is sent by email, all the recipient gets is an invite to download the TimeAppsule app to view the content – it would be much better if the content was accessible sans mobile app, perhaps through a Web app, with a reminder pinned automatically in their Google Calendar.
An Android app wouldn’t go amiss either, while it would also be nice if you could create your own custom designs for the capsules.
However, the main issue for me is that there’s no clear indication that this is a subscription-based service until you’ve downloaded the app and actually start using it.
Indeed, the description in the App Store juxtaposes the service against traditional mail by proclaiming “…there are no postage costs…”. But there really should be a clear warning pre-download that after your first week’s use, it will cost you $0.99 for unlimited 24-hour access, with a tiered pricing structure going through 1 month ($5.99), 3 months ($13.99) and up to $28.99 for a whole year.
Still, the idea is nice and it will be interesting to see if this takes off in any way. But I think the pricing structure will need to be rethought, and made more transparent too.