October 14, 2009
Shape Services' IM+ v3.4 has finally found its way out of Apple's review process and into the App Store. The long-awaited update contains a handful of new and interesting features, including speech recognition, but surprisingly it's the new icon that's causing a bit of a stir. IM+ is a full-featured chat app for the iPhone and iPod touch that includes support for tons of services, including Facebook chat, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber, MySPaceIM, Twitter, and Skype. The app also supports Push Notifications for all of its supported services. But that's just the tip of the ice burg for this full-featured app, as it also features the ability to send photos, videos, geo-locations, voice messages as MP3 files, and so much more. Shape Services chose to cram even more features into their all-in-one chat app in v3.4. IM+ now includes speech recognition, animated emoticons, the ability to copy text from chat bubbles, and a new icon. The Speech Recognition feature can be activated via the More tab and then go to Settings. In Settings you will find a Speech Recognition tab that when tapped will bring you to a menu where you can purchase the feature for $.99 per month. We've only had a short time to mess around with this new feature, but it does appear to work fairly well. At times you will have to go back and edit some of the text, but that can be expected. It can also take a decent amount of time to convert your speech to text, depending on if you are using Wi-Fi or 3G. The new Speech Recognition feature will absolutely not be utilized by everyone, considering it is an in-app purchase, but the new icon can be seen by everyone and apparently that's a problem. The new icon features the IM+ logo without any other colors or borders, so you simply see the icon and its reflection. Some users are upset that this takes away from their app page's uniformity. What do you think? New icon aside, the updated IM+ is worth a look if you are interested in speech recognition in your chat app, just be aware that it's going to cost you. IM+ v3.4 is now available in the App Store for $9.99.