Cinch is the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch app for the Cinchcast.com web service. Cinchcast can be thought of as a social network built around user generated audio clips. The Cinch iOS app and in turn Cinchcast.com, form a free service that gives users the ability to record, upload and share audio while cultivating an audience through the Cinchast.com social network.
Created by Blogtalkradio and used by infamous new media journalist Robert Scoble, the Cinch iOS app was developed to make the features and functions of Cinchcast.com available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch iOS powered devices. Scoble has been quoted as saying, “I use Cinch to interview tech execs and innovators. It is the best way to record audio and share it with friends and audiences.” On the surface, the Cinch iOS app is straightforward and easy to use. When you dig a little deeper into the app, you will find that the simple features and functions of this app become very interesting when mixed with the app’s parent service, Cinchcast.com.
Read more to find out what makes the Cinch iOS app interesting, what it does right and how it could be improved.
What is Cinchcast?
Without Cinchcast.com, the Cinch iOS app is a simple audio recording tool. Similar to the default iOS recording app, a quick press of the record button is all that is needed to start using the app. Cinch’s capabilities however lie beyond simple audio recording. This app is a front-end for Cinchcast.com; to understand why Cinch is a valuable, interesting iOS app, it is important to understand the capabilities of Cinchcast.com.
With Cinchcast.com, users have the opportunity to record audio using the Cinch iOS app, the web based flash audio recorder, or by dialling a telephone number. Users create personal channels and can share audio with their friends using the Cinchcast.com social network, Facebook or Twitter. Users can embed their audio clips and the audio clips of their friends on websites and forums using a YouTube like embed code or an easy to use Cinchcast widget.
If Twitter and Flickr had a love child that talked a lot, that love child would be named Cinch. The Cinch iOS app extends Cinchcast.com onto iOS devices. From their devices, users can record new audio, tag it with detailed information, save it and share it with their audience.
Cinch Features and Functions
Well known blogger, Robert Scoble has a unique and entertaining style of interviewing. His interviews typically centre around Internet industry heavyweights, CEO’s and trailblazers. Accessing these people is difficult and often take place without formal preparation. This is an ideal usage case scenario for the Cinch iOS app. With nothing more than the iPhone we carry around every day, an interview can be conducted anywhere, at any time.
Beyond Scoble style interviews, the Cinch iOS app lends itself well to immediate events such as news and to passive events such as personal audio blogging. Imagine being in the middle of a hurricane and recording what you see or simply archiving your ideas and personal anecdotes on your daily commute to work. From breaking news to passive archiving, the services that Cinch is capable of facilitating are unique and very interesting.
Record Audio From Your iOS Device
Recording audio on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (with an attached microphone) is the most important feature of the Cinch app. With what may be an overly simplistic one-button interface, users can quickly and easily record audio. The iPhone 4 includes exceptionally high quality microphones, so if you’re lucky enough to have a new iPhone, you will receive the best quality recordings possible without the use of an external mic.
Add Detailed Information to Audio
After a recording is complete, users have the ability to add additional information to the audio clip. Starting with basic information such as the title, Cinch connects location data and importantly, a 140 character message that will be distributed to the Cinchcast social network.
Interact With the Cinchcast Social Network
This is the most powerful feature of the Cinch iOS app. After recording audio and adding extra information to describe what you have recorded, your message is broadcast across the Cinchcast network, with your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter. In addition, if the blog widget has been installed on your website, your message will be automatically published. Without this functionality or the audience that the Cinchcast network has access to, the Cinch iOS app is a simple audio recorder.
Listen to Audio on Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio
Archives of audio can be powerful and valuable. By using the Cinch iOS app to upload your audio to the Cinchcast.com web service, users create personal repositories of audio. These repositories can be organized into collections that become more valuable than they are independently.
What’s Wrong With Cinchcast?
Content is king online and it is difficult to find good quality content on Cinchast.com. Much of the audio presented on the network feels like self-help or marketing material. In the same vein, the Cinch iOS app does very little to help users create content that sounds good. It is difficult to create good quality audio recordings with Cinch. Variables such as the hardware device being used and the environment that the user is located in can not be controlled. However, helping users understand what good quality audio sounds like and how to create it would go a long way. Giving the Cinch community tools to rate the quality of a recording in addition to composing some basic “tips and tricks” documentation may begin to solve this serious issue.
Technically, while the Cinch app will run on the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, it only excels on the iPhone. The iPod Touch version requires an additional wired headset with an inline mic while the iPad version of the Cinch app is simply a scaled down version of the iPhone build. It’s nice that the app runs on the iPad, however a full iPad version that takes advantage of the entire screen would be a welcome addition.
Neither Cinchast.com nor the Cinch iOS app have a refined user interface. Both the app and the website are functional, but they both lack the polished graphics and thoughtful user interfaces that make good apps great. Notably, the embedable audio player that is used to make Cinch recordings available on a blog is not attractive and can not be customized. Cinch is currently being actively developed and as with any software in active development, style and user interface refinements are often one of the last things to be completed.
There are no audio editing controls. When I record a podcast or add audio to a blog post that I am writing, I find myself trimming the start and end of the audio. Leaving a few seconds of “dead air” both before and after an audio recording ensures that the recording software is running smoothly while avoiding the opening and closing taps and mouse clicks. Along with audio EQ controls, being able to trim, splice and edit audio using the Cinch app take this app from useful to invaluable.
Why You Should Use The Cinch App
Cinch is the easiest way to record audio on your iPhone and share it online. Cinch is designed to record audio, upload it to the web and share it with your audience. Together, the app and the web service do a very good job of this.
Audio that is recorded with the Cinch app is saved to the web and without any additional action, shared on Facebook and Twitter. After setting up both the Cinch app on your iOS device and configuring an account on Cinchapp.com, recording, uploading and sharing audio can be preformed in as little as 3 clicks.
You will expand your audience by using Cinch. If you believe in developing and fostering an online audience at all, this single fact should make using this free service an easy sale. Integrating a variety of forms of media increases engagement in content. It doesn’t matter what content you deliver or what message you are trying to convey, some people simply absorb audio better than video or text. Most people become engaged in content when audio and text are used together. This combined with the fact that Cinchcast.com has a growing, loyal community and you will not only expose your content to more people but you will increase the engagement of your existing users by supplementing audio.
Simply put, Cinch is free and reliable. While the app and the service in general have minor issues and improvements that could be made, this is an outstanding app for anyone who has ever (even casually) thought that they would make a good radio host or would like to broadcast snippets of audio in any form.