Remember Delicious Library? The app is a digital pack rat's best friend, a beautiful way to organize and collect movies you've seen, albums you own, and books you've read. In its heyday the app inspired a generation of design-obsessed Mac developers, but it never found a home on iPhone, so various apps have sprouted up to fill the gap. Limelight for iPhone is the latest example, created by Everyme co-founder Oliver Cameron. Everyme, a mobile social network for your family and friends, didn't take off because its focus on mobile was too narrow — and Limelight, a collection of your favorite movies, goes even narrower. It's a social network built just for your circle of movie buff friends. You can add movies to your collection, see what movies friends have added, rate movies you've just seen, watch trailers, and view a list of films Nikolaj Colster-Waldau has starred in. Pick some upcoming movies you want to see, and Limelight will push you a notification when the movie hits theatres.
The app features a very meticulous fit and finish, from its poster-flip animation to its wood shelving. Limelight is a love letter to Delicious Library, which introduced the idea of placing digital media on digital shelves. "That app was one of the main reasons I got into writing software," says Cameron. "The main goal for this app was that each tap should have a reaction. Things should bounce. It should feel satisfactory when you add things to your library." To that extent Limelight is a success, though it's only on iPhones, and is admittedly limited in scope compared to feature-rich competitors like Recall and Todo Movies.
"The main goal for this app was that each tap should have a reaction."
"One of the things really missing from the app industry right now is extra level of polish," Cameron says. "The way Apple is going to go with iOS 7 is not necessarily making the UI flat. It's going to be more about making the UI really fluid." After spending a year building Everyme, Cameron longed to rejoin Apple's lively "indie" developer community, and to give the idea of a pocket-sized social network another shot. His new company, 9:42 AM is named after the moment Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone. "The thesis we have for 9:42 AM is to make simple apps that solve clear use cases," he says. "Every app has its purpose."
Limelight is designed to "do one thing well," but it stands out more for its design than for its functionality. It's simple to add movies and share your library with friends, but it's social networking aspect is limited to following others. There's no way to share a movie with a friend inside the app — there's only the ability to tweet a link or post it to Facebook. Limelight's discovery feature is also limited, providing an awkward selection of films inside broad categories like Adventure, Crime, and Family. Yet, thanks to a a clever and polished design, the app's a pleasure to use. Limelight is at its core a to-do list mashed up with a movie database, wrapped in a beautiful package — for Cameron and iOS design nerds, that should be enough.