Reflecting on iPhoto for iOS

  • Posted by Seth Merriam
  • April 3, 2012 12:08 PM PDT
  • 1 comment

Reviewing iPhoto for iOS has proven to be a difficult task for me. The reason, though, is fairly simple. Essentially the iOS iPhoto app has a simple, easy-to-use interface, offers a comprehensive set of functions, and does a nice job, but it isn’t anything new. I was expecting more from this app since, in my opinion, it is a latecomer to the mobile photo-editing software genre. That is not to say I was expecting to be able to edit a photo simply by shaking my phone, or manipulate the contrast by using the accelerometer, but I was expecting to find something I needed that I didn’t have. I wanted to find something that would make this distinctive and my ‘go-to’ app. Alas, I did not.

I will say that I do enjoy being able to touch a spot in a photo to edit it. For example I can touch a highlight and simply drag to make it a little darker, or modify the contrast.  I also enjoy knowing that it’s a non-destructive editing process. I’m the type who always wants to keep the original image and work on a copy. The process of getting images from my photo library does, however, seem a bit quirky. Yes it’s automatic, but it constantly makes me wait with an alert telling me that iPhoto is updating the [photo] library.

Another plus is that you can work with larger resolution photos (because with some photo-editing apps you can not). This means I’ll be able to import shots from my point and shoot camera and my iPhone images will be fine as well.  If, however, I want to use my Canon 5DMarkII - now the most used camera on flickr (see mashable article) - at its highest resolution (which I typically do) I will be out of luck. Its resolution is too much for the app. I’m told this will be true even when it’s running on the new iPad, but I have not personally tested that fact yet. So, again, there’s a fine line that iPhoto seems to be dancing on, which makes me uneasy, and unwilling to delete any of my other photo-editing apps.

So there’s my problem: my expectations were not met. After I realized that, I started to ponder if it was fair to rate an app based solely on my expectations. Sure, it is true that there is really nothing mind-blowing, but there is also nothing wrong with it. Yes it has weaknesses, but it has many strengths as well. My conclusion, though, is that I’m likely to still recommend that people either pay less and purchase something like photogene2, because it offers all the mobile editing functions I need, or pay more and get Adobe Photoshop Touch because, even though it has its own resolution issues, it has layering tools and editing functionality I want and that iPhoto does not have – such as masking – for those times when I’ll work on my iPad instead of my laptop.

Ergo, ultimately, because it’s what we’re all likely doing, I think it is OK to rate an app based on whether or not it met my expectations so long as those expectations are realistic and relative to other apps it competes against - and potentially could replace. And, with that as the rubric, sadly, while I do like the new iPhoto app, I don’t love it nor will it be my new go-to mobile photo-editing app.

1 comment
  • David Wicks and James Marko like this
  • Alicia Russell
    Alicia Russell I like the way you laid out both the features you like in the iPhoto app, and what is missing, and should perhaps be in the next version. Love the dog pictures!
    April 4, 2012