Jesse Wojdylo asked an interesting question on Google+ this morning that I really hadn’t given much thought to previously: How do people prefer to send out Mother’s Day cards?

While the usual question centers around physical cards vs eCards, I actually realized that I’ve been getting the best of both worlds ever since Apple came out with its “Cards” app for iOS a couple of years ago.

As a technology person, physical cards have not only always seemed a bit “low-tech” for me, but also require me to actually do things in the real world such as going to a store and buying one, and then finding a postage stamp and actually getting it into a mailbox. For somebody who rarely has to deal with sending out physical mail, this is actually a more complicated process than it sounds – there have been times in the past that a card has actually sat on my desk for a week simply waiting for me to go to the post office to buy a stamp.
Further, physical cards have an impersonal component to them. You’re basically going to the Hallmark store and trying to choose from among a series of trite sayings written by some team of folks at a card company. It’s rare that I find a card that precisely expresses what I want to actually say, so I usually end up buying either a blank card or something very basic and then chicken-scratching my own thoughts in penmanship that only my mother can read.

eCards of course solve much of these issues, especially those you can customize. However, they lack much of the traditional sentiment associated with sending out an actual physical card that can be displayed on the mantle or hung on the Christmas tree.

Enter the Apple Cards app. This provides an elegant “hybrid” solution that provides the best of both worlds. I can choose from several general design templates and get a professional looking Letterpress card that I’m able to customize with my own photos and text. I then supply a mailing address and pay $5 to have the card printed and mailed directly to the recipient. In the end, my mother gets a very nice physical card that she can display and keep and I get to say exactly what I want to say while avoiding the logistical hassle of shopping for, deciding upon, and mailing out a physical card. The only slight downside is that delivery outside of the U.S. can take a couple of weeks, so a bit of advance planning is required if you want the card to arrive on time.