Earthlapse, a new universal iOS app from the developers of Magic Window, offers incredible views of Earth that few folks, other than the space faring, are likely to see. From the oceans of Mongolia to the Aurora Borealis in the Western United States, the app serves up time-lapse photography provided by NASA, to let us explore our world from an exciting new perspective.
The app has eight images, fewer than I’d like, but each stunning with the illusion of fluidity. A swipe of a finger lets you journey backwards or forwards in time as you adjust the view.
Earthlapse provides brief descriptions of each of the views in the menu, which sits at the bottom of the screen in either orientation. Other options include having the app take a photo of a favorite view – which it saves to the camera roll – or it can show a local forecast for the city of your choosing and has a clock. The app also comes equipped with eight ambient soundtracks that enhance the out-of-this-world experience.
As nice a package as it is, there’s a lot the developers could do to improve the user experience. The app would benefit from additional views and by smoothing the animation, which can be choppy even on the latest generation of iOS devices.
The biggest oversight, however, is an alarm function for the clock. Like Magic Window, Earthlaspse looks best on iPad; it’s the type of app you use to impress your friends and looks best in a docking station. The soothing sounds and ability to dim the view make this an ideal night time companion, but only if you don’t rely on your device to wake you up.
Still, for $0.99 Earthlaspe has a lot of features and frankly just the views alone are worth the price of admission. For anyone whose imagination has taken them beyond Earth’s atmosphere, it’s money well spent.