iOS App of the Week: Apple's Clips

Apple Clips

Before I ever owned an iOS device I knew how to use one. I instantly knew how to navigate my first iPhone from simply seeing my friends with their devices and by watching Apple commercials. Apple's easy to use UI and apps are what helped the iPhone and iPad become the most popular mobile devices available today. Unfortunately there is no sign of that innovation in Apple's newest app Clips. Like Facebook and others, Apple has tried to copy the huge success of Snapchat by releasing an easy to use video creation tool, and it's a bit confusing at first glance.

The idea behind Clips is to give casual users a way to create and edit interesting videos to share on social media. iPhone and iPad owners can film new clips within the app or import videos or photos from their library. They can then stitch together these clips to create one long video and add a variety of effects, text and even background music. The app uses what Apple calls "Live Titles" so users can film using filters like "Noir". You can pre-select a Live Tile to use that filter or effect instead of adding it to a video later. This is what makes the app confusing at first. It's kind of just natural to want to hit the big red "Hold to Record" button to make your video. With the Snapchat app you either snap a photo or shoot a video then use the tools to edit. With Clips you have to navigate a bunch of tiles to utilize different effects while recording, but you can also add other effects, like background music, after you have recorded and saved your clip.

Hold to Record

Clips includes a voice option that automatically adds captions as you speak. I'm not sure why anyone would need both audio and text unless they are creating videos for a deaf person. The feature can be fun to play with but it seems to be the focus of the app and kind of pointless.

You can also insert different graphics into your videos. These are also confusing at first. It took me a minute or two to figure out what they were meant for, and I kept trying to record over them like you do with the other tiles. Basically the idea of the app is to record several little square videos that you can edit together to make one long video. You can use the different graphics or photos from your library as intros or little cut screens to break up your clips.

The official App Store description says it only takes a "few taps" to create a video to share with family and friends, but you will be tapping a lot of icons and tiles in confusion when you first open Clips. I'm not saying you have to be a rocket scientist to use the app, but it's not like Snapchat which is quick, easy and fun to play around with. Clips feels more like a third-party app from a developer who wants to show off its voice to text technology than an Apple product.

Clips also provides a very limited number of filters and effects at launch, but I'm assuming more will be added as more people get acclimated to the app. As of right now the user reviews are mostly positive and Clips has a solid 4-star rating on the App Store.

iPod touch, iPhone and iPad users running iOS 10.3 or later can download Clips for free.