There has to be a better way to stay in touch with your sweetheart than plain old text messages. Or at least that's the thinking behind Pair, a new social app that was made just for the two of you. Pair lets you share a private timeline of posts with your loved one, and includes features such as shared to-do lists and fun ThumbKisses. It's a neat idea, especially for those in a long-distance relationship, but how long will the honeymoon last with this app?
Simplicity is the essence of Pair, and this is true for its setup. We just entered our name, email, password and picked a photo. Since there's essentially no use for Pair without a partner, the next screen showed a blank field for an email address and an Invite button below. Pair suggests that you record an invitation video too, but this isn't a requirement. When our coworker -- whom we love platonically and invited solely for the purposes of testing the app -- accepted, we got a notification that confirmed our pairing.
Pair takes its design cues from other popular apps such as Facebook, so the interface looked instantly familiar. The main body of the app is a stream of messages, photos, videos, sketches and more that you share with your partner. It also contains a handy shortcut to FaceTime for video chats, in the form of a ring icon on the top right corner of the app.
At the bottom of theapp is a field for text messages and a plus sign (+) that let us add messages and other media to the timeline. A left slide-in panel reveals Dates, Shared Tasks, Moments and Settings.
Pair's most publicized feature is Thumbkiss, which offers a virtual, real-time connection to your partner. We tapped the icon that looked like a kiss mark and entered into a plain-screen environment, which only showed our partner's fingerprint when they touched the screen on their iPhone.
After touching the same spot as our partner and holding it for one second, both screens turned red and our phones vibrated. It's a unique idea and did make us feel connected to our partner the first time we used it, but after using it a few more times, the charm wore off. Ultimately, we felt like plain old messaging was a much more meaningful way to communicate with our partner.
On the main left-hand panel, Pair lets you enter important dates in your relationship, including anniversary, birthday and your partner's birthday. The app automatically sends reminders for these dates, so you'll never again incur the ire of your significant other for forgetting a special occasion. However, we would have appreciated the ability to add more dates apart from our anniversary and birthdays, like a first date.
Tapping on Shared Tasks let us view a list of shared to-do items. Each partner can add new items as needed and tick off the ones that are done, although we would have preferred that the app included a way to assign tasks or pin additional notes.
The Moments feature is a thumbnail gallery containing all the media that is shared with your paramour.
To add to the main timeline, we tapped on the plus symbol next to the text message field; this launches a menu of different types of media that Pair supports. We could send messages, add photos (the app even integrates with Camera+ for more filters and editing options), record a video or sketch a picture with our finger. The fourth icon, in the shape of a thought bubble, sent a push notification to our partner that we were thinking of them.
Other features include location sharing and live sketching. Location utilized our phone's GPS to detect our current whereabouts and dropped our pinpointed spot into the shared stream. Live sketching is a cool little feature that enables you to draw along with your partner; it worked smoothly and didn't stutter over Wi-Fi or 3G.
Since Pair is so lightweight, the app never slowed down, froze or became sluggish. Panels slid in and out with jaunty animation, and our taps always registered accurately.
It's like a social network for two. Pair takes some of the best features of apps such as Facebook and Twitter, and boils them down to let two lovers stay in touch, at least in spirit. We can think of plenty of additional features we wish the app would include in future iterations, including a full shared calendar and options to manage our to-do lists. But for a first version, Pair is an inventive app that will make your loved one seem that much nearer.