Developer: Bome Software GmbH & Co.KG
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
After the Beep! has a quality found in very few apps: it provides a set of features, then leaves it to you to dream up countless uses. The features seem straightforward at a glance. The user simply records a short message with his or her voice, “tweaks” the message with a variety of pre-set distortions and background noises, then sends the message off to friends through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, or even a clever direct-to-voicemail feature. Straightforward enough, right?
This is where After The Beep gets interesting. Some of the tweaks are obvious and benign, like the “Happy Birthday” theme, which will place your voice before a chorus of people singing the Happy Birthday song. You could use this tweak to send a friend a happy birthday message, for example.
But what about tweaks like “Airport” and “Work,” which will make it sound like you’re calling from an airport or a bustling office environment? These themes seem to be built for deception. If you need to trick your boss or significant other into believing you’re someplace other than the bar or couch, this app is for you.
After the Beep! is also great for pranksters. The “On the Run” theme is full of gunshots and sirens, and is sure to frighten or at least confuse and irritate your target, depending on how gullible they are.
Most of these uses are most effective when coupled with the straight-to-voicemail feature, but unfortunately each voicemail costs one credit, and the app only comes with ten free credits. More credits are available at a reasonable price as an in-app purchase, but more freebies would be a welcome addition. Those ten free voicemails will disappear before you know it, especially when a few deliveries fail thanks to unreliable carriers. (Though this, of course, is no fault of the developer.)
Apart from that limitation, After the Beep! is a fun, well-designed app. The three steps of the app—record, tweak, publish—are each represented by a tab at the bottom of the screen, and customizing the selected theme could not be easier. The buttons are large, and the layout is simple. After the Beep! is recommended for a wide range of users, from practical jokers to well wishers, and even those who would, every now and then, rather leave a message than have a full-blown conversation.