Couple is intended to be a private means of communication between two partners in an intimate relationship. After initially signing up, the user is prompted to send an email invite to their partner to download the app, and must wait for this to be accepted before they can begin using the app at all. If the partner does not respond immediately, they can also be given a “nudge” via SMS.
Once both partners are in to the app, they can begin using its various features. Its most straightforward aspect is a direct message thread between the two partners in the couple, and this allows for the exchanging of text, photo, video and audio messages as well as freehand sketched, an automated “I’m thinking of you” post and a screencap of the map location where the sender is. There are also two collaborative “interactive” features — Thumbkiss allows both participants to see where their partner is currently touching the screen, and overlapping causes both devices to vibrate; meanwhile, a Live Sketch option allows for, as the title suggests, collaboration on freehand drawings. A Facetime video chat can also be initiated at the tap of a button from the main screen.
Besides the messaging facility, Couple also provides a few additional features. A “Dates” function allows for easy recording of both partners’ birthdays and the couple’s anniversary, and custom important dates may also be added, either as one-offs or recurring events. A “Lists” function allows for the making of a collaborative To-Do list, good for shopping, and the “Moments” feature conveniently collects all of the sketches, photographs, videos and other media from the overall chat thread into one collection. From there, individual items can be saved to the device’s photo library, copied to the clipboard or deleted. The point in the conversation where the media item was posted can also be jumped to with the tap of a button in the middle of the screen, though the icon used for this doesn’t make it at all clear that this is its purpose.
One interesting point worth noting is that the name change from “Pair” to “Couple” has been very negatively received by the App Store reviewer community in both the U.S. and the U.K., with some reviewers even going so far as to review-bomb the app with one-star ratings because they dislike the new name that much. Many of these reviews note that they still like the app’s functionality, but that the name change is somehow a deal-breaker for them because it’s “less subtle.”
On the whole, bewildering name-change controversy aside, Couple is a well put together app that performs its functions well. Because it’s only focusing on the connection between two people, it’s quick to respond, easy to use and isn’t cluttered up with unnecessary features. The big question is how useful it actually is. While all the component features are fun to use and having them collected together in one place is undoubtedly handy, there’s relatively little here that can’t be done with other built-in or freely-available apps on iOS, making Couple more of a fun novelty rather than a truly useful app.
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