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iOS App of the Week: PDFpen Scan+

updated 01:48 pm EDT, Fri September 27, 2013

Scan+ brings OCR to iOS 7

Earlier this week PDFpen launched a new iOS app that can be used to turn images of documents into searchable PDF files by using OCR. Scan+ can scan documents directly from the device's camera, or alternative be used to scan images stored in the photo library. Multiple images can also be combined into a single multi-page document and quickly sent to a number of cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive.

The app's homepage provides a list of scanned documents, which can be organized by scan date or name, as well as shortcuts for accessing the camera and photo library. From here users can also connect to a number of external storage sources to access documents or images.

Opening the camera tool brings up a small oddity, while the rest of the app has been styled for iOS 7, the camera app still uses the camera interface from iOS 6. Of course this is only a minor cosmetic issue and doesn't affect the app's performance, but just feels somewhat out of place. The app includes an automatic edge detection feature that works quite well when using paper documents against a dark background, but users are always given the option to adjust the selection with draggable corner-control points.

The actual OCR functionality was relatively reliable, however results largely depend on the quality of the image being scanned. We tested the app with images taken with both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5s and had somewhat mixed results, however a screenshot of text from the iPhone 5s screen resulted in a perfect transcription. If you can get a clear image the OCR won't have any issues, and even if there are a few mistakes correcting these will almost always be faster than typing out the entire document. Unfortunately the OCR is still limited in function and in its current form is unable to recognize multi-column pages. Each column can be added to a PDF individually of course, but this can be a tedious process to do for every page.

Scan+ also features iCloud integration for syncing with other PDFPen apps, such as PDFpen for iPad. Documents can be scanned on an iPhone and easily be transferred over to another devices for reading or adding annotations.

PDFpen Scan+ is available at an introductory price of $5 in the App Store and requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6 or 7.

Other notable apps released this week include Diptic PDQ, SlowCam, and djay 2 for iPhone

Diptic PDQ (short for Pretty Dang Quick) is an evolution of Peak Systems' original app that can be used to create photo collages. The app provides users with 35 different collage layouts, each which can be customized by tweaking the inner frame lines and colors. The interface has been totally overhauled to match the style of iOS 7 and support for exporting images in a high resolution is included.

Meanwhile, SlowCam is a video capture app that brings slow motion video to the iPhone 4 and up. While the result will depends on the device's camera capabilities, the app can apply a slow motion effect by simply tapping and holding a "Slow Motion" button while recording. Unlike the iPhone 5s built in slowmo feature, SlowCam can also apply the effect to more than one section of the video.

Finally, djay 2 for iPhone received an update this week that has been fully optimized for the new 64-bit A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s. Along with improved speeds, A7 support has also allowed developers to add a 5s exclusive Harmonic Match feature that can create harmonic mashups by transposing songs in real-time to match their key with another song.

by MacNN Staff



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