Developer: Daniel Baumbach
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
iAm is an inspirational app designed to provide users with a guide for spiritual meditation and contemplation. The app uses stunning photography and more than 200 quotes from recognized authorities around the globe.
Artist Dan Baumbach shares his collection of nature photography and it is the primary reason to buy this app. The photos emote a stillness that can quiet a restless soul and nudge users toward serenity. The images really are lovely, so much so that I was surprised to find that they all came from the same artist. It's amazing that so much beauty can come from one person.
The quotes are meant to go hand-in-hand with the photos as prompts for thoughtful meditation. From great minds and books such as Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Kahil Gilbran, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Saint Teresa of Avila, Voltaire, The Upanishads, and Aritstotle — nearly 60 authors in total.
A pop-up bar has icons for finding out more information about the authors. What I liked about this feature is that iAm goes beyond wikipedia to present "the best" resource available for each author. Some links go to wikipedia, but others link to specialized sources that present a richer learning experience.
It's very interesting to learn more about the various schools of thought represented in iAm.
The pop-up bar is also used to scroll through quotes. Unfortunately, this part of iAm is a bit clunky. There is no clear indication of where or how to tap to bring up the toolbar, so I found it often took 3-4 tries to display the tools. It would be much easier to just swipe to the next quote or even shake to display the next page. (Though I think "shaking" is on the verge of becoming an overused parlor trick.)
The other problem I have with iAm is that while the photos are gorgeous, the rest of the design and layout is just ho-hum. There's no correlation between the images and the rest of the app. A better font choice (something with a serif) and color-coordinated background colors would add some much-needed polish. Also, I'd like to see more of the images. The ability to zoom in on the photos, or at least make them full screen, would go a long way towards helping me find inner peace.
If, while browsing, you find a photo that brings you a step closer to peace and happiness, iAm makes it easy to spread the love. Any photo/quote combination can be emailed to a friend. It would be nice if there was a way to save a record of emailed pages or mark some as favorites.
Between layout and feature set, iAm definitely has "first-generation" feel. However, if you like photography, this app is worth a download just for the pictures. And, if it gets enough downloads, maybe the developer will polish up the rough edges in a future update.