If you’re familiar with Launch Center Pro, the iPhone and iPad app we’ve covered that enables powerful automation on iOS, then you may recognize Contrast’s new iPhone app debuting today called Contact Center. While its name sounds like it could be an alternative address book, it’s actually a simpler, easier to learn version of Launch Center Pro focused on staying in touch with your favorite contacts.
Contrast describes Contact Center as allowing you to “automatically paste your clipboard into an email or message, jump right to a contact in WhatsApp, automatically paste your clipboard into an email or message” and more; below we’ll take a look at the new app.
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Right out of the gate, Contact Center tries to be more approachable and user friendly than its more advanced counterpart. The on-boarding process takes you through a tutorial describing ways to use Contact Center then allows you to select a few favorites from your contacts list to get started; if you skip the tutorial, it can later be accessed from the Introduction section in the Settings screen.
Selecting these contacts will populate your main screen with folders for each one allowing you to quickly communicate with them in various ways. Each folder comes pre-populated with buttons which allow you to quickly send a photo message to your contact from your camera, type out a text message, send a GIF from images sourced with Giphy, send a saved text message, and more.
Each folder also offers six additional tiles for adding new actions as well, and you can remove pre-populated actions within a folder if you decide you want to change things.
For contract folders on your main screen, Contact Center seems to treat those as a unified group with options to group message or group email your contacts in those groups. Like some of what is offered in Launch Center Pro, Control Center offers some pretty neat tools like sending GIF images pulled from Giphy.com.
For me, some of the tasks available in Contact Center like dialing a number or searching a contact are more accessible in the default Phone app, but I can see the benefit of setting up Contact Center for someone or even a more savvy user taking advantage of it to be the starting place for all communications rather than deciding to open Messages, Contacts, Phone, or FaceTime.
Parts of Contact Center still resemble the customizable spirit of Launch Center Pro, maybe a little too much for something targeted for less savvy users, but it’s a major step in the right direction toward bringing the benefits of Launch Center Pro to more users without as steep of a learning curve.
The URL schemes aren’t exposed and much of the app is good to go out of the box (which the nice tutorial for picking contacts at the start), but the vast customization options still feel a little on the technical side. There’s no doubt, though, that Contact Center is more user friendly with its existing limits and focus.
The pricing model for Contact Center also makes it more accessible for more users. Launch Center Pro for iPhone is usually priced at $4.99 and the App Store doesn’t support free trials so you have to need to pay before you can see if Launch Center Pro is right for you.
With Contact Center, which is in a bit of a gray area between Launch Center Pro Lite and a totally different app, the price to use the app is free with the option to remove ads which creates more tiles with a $2.99 in-app purchase.
If you haven’t tried Launch Center Pro or found it a little too wonky, it’s worth giving Control Center for a spin considering it’s free.