Tag Archives: Apple

Ready or Not, Here Comes iOS7 and iPhone 5C/S

Tomorrow Apple will be releasing the next operating system for your iPhone and iPad. I’ve been doing some testing with iOS7 and am still not sure what I think of it. I will say that the new icons are rather kid-ish (at least some of them). Bright and vibrant colors. It really feels like a big change from all the prior iOS versions. There will be a number of new things for the camera and photos app.

photos_ios7

Now, should you upgrade tomorrow as soon as you can? I personally suggest you don’t. Some app developers will take awhile to get their apps running with the new operating system. If you want all your apps to keep running with no problems you shouldn’t upgrade. I’ve got about 280 updates waiting on my iPhone. A LOT of apps are getting updated in the next week. Be patient and wait to make sure all your ‘important’ apps are working under iOS7.

If you do plan to update there is one thing that is worth doing: backup your iPhone/iPad. That can either be done via iCloud or on your Mac. Here are some basic instructions, or instructions by Apple.

With the new iOS, some apps will be updating to take advantage of new features available to developers. Camera+ will be getting updated to version 4 tomorrow. Life In LoFi has a sneak preview. Photogene was updated to v4 the other day and it included iOS7 support and some great new features! Both of those a great apps ready for iOS7.

iphone5s

Along with iOS7, Apple will also be releasing two new iPhones. The iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5C has a camera equivalent to the current iPhone 5. If you have an older iPhone you’ll be happy. I love camera in my iPhone 5. However, as with all things, technology moves forward. The iPhone 5S is the top end new toy out there. The sensor on this one is much larger so it will be able to get really high quality photos (including a new flash system). You’ll also be able to do slow-motion videos and burst capture of stills. John Gruber summarized his thoughts on Daring Fireball.

Between iOS and iPhones, a lot will be new in the few days/weeks. The Apple servers will probably be overloaded and downloads will be slow. From the sound of it the iPhone 5S will be almost impossible to get right away. Be patient. Eventually you’ll get what you want. Hopefully 🙂

Essentials: Photography 101, According to Apple

Apple tends to feature a variety of apps every week ranging from Productivity to Education, Games to Movie Making. This week they are featuring photography.

For novice shutterbugs and photography fanatics alike, there’s more to a great picture than simply taking it. Our handpicked selection of apps will guid you through the entire process, from snapping an interesting subject to editing it with filters and complex tools, then finding the perfect way to share it with friends and followers.

As with any selection of apps, there are always different opinions. Here is what Apple selected in the Shoot, Edit, and Share categories for both the iPhone and iPad.
Photo Essentials by Apple logo

For the iPhone

Shoot:

  • VSCO Cam
  • Analog Camera
  • Hipstamatic
  • Blux Camera Pro
  • ProCam

I haven’t tried VSCO Cam yet, but I can’t argue with any of the others. I have to wonder how Camera+ could be left out of the list for shooting. Or for more specialized shots, you would have to include Show Shutter and one of the HDR tools such as Pro HDR. That is all that pops in to my head right now (there is one that lets you do live black and white with filters applied…but I just can’t find it. Too many apps!). I’ll be honest, 90% of the time I just use the built in camera when I am shooting photos.

Edit:

  • Snapseed
  • Facetune
  • Over
  • Fuzel Pro
  • iPhoto

This is where limiting the list to five items is extremely difficult. Snapseed tends to be an easy choice lately. If they would add the ability to zoom in to the image as you are doing your edits that would drastically improve the app. I briefly played with Over, but I don’t place text or artwork on my photos very often (the app did seem pretty nice). I’ve played with iPhoto, but it seems to crash about 25% of the time I use it. I find it a bit frustrating. I also find the user interface a bit non-intuitive. It’s interesting how different people like different interfaces.

So, there are so many others that could be listed here. Camera+ isn’t a true editor, but it is rather powerful, especially with the most recent update where multiple filters can be applied. PhotoToaster and Photogene are both superb editors (I think I’m leaning more towards PhotoToaster lately). I’m sure people could name many others. For specialized looks or tools in the editing there are apps such as Percolator, Popsicolor, Glaze, Touch Retouch and Image Blender (to name just a few) that never leave my iPhone. Afterlight has been sitting in the #1 spot lately in Photo Apps. I haven’t tried it, but one of these days I’ll give it a shot. I have a feeling editing is the category that would get the widest array of answers.

Share:

  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Flickr
  • Facebook
  • Ink Cards

Not much to say here. There are a number of apps that let you send a card from the app. And 500px was left off the list. Since Instagram and Facebook seem to dominate, many will never get past those. I’ve been on Flickr for years so I use that app the most.

For the iPad
Shoot:

  • Blux Camera for iPad
  • Camera+ for iPad
  • ProCam XL
  • PureShot
  • Polamatic for iPad

I can’t argue with any of these. I’ve discovered that I tend to never use my iPad to shoot photos. I’ve used these (other than PureShot) and they are all nice apps.

Edit:

  • Snapseed
  • Over
  • Adobe Photoshop Touch
  • Halftone 2
  • iPhoto

Similar to the list on the iPhone, it is hard to limit this to just five apps. Apple listed Halftone 2 which is a really nice app, but it opens the list up to other specialized apps such as Tangled FX. Editing on the iPad is a great experience when apps make good use of the screen real estate. Camera+ and PhotoToaster pop in to my mind. I enjoy both on the iPad. Especially PhotoToaster.

Share:

  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Ink Cards
  • KeepShot
  • PicFrame

I tend to share a bit less from my iPad than my iPhone so I don’t have as much experience on this set of apps. And as I said, I primarily use Flickr. Their app is only for the iPhone, so I use FlickrStackr for Flickr on my iPad. Memorability is a relatively new app that is great for sharing and I think it would be a good one for Apple to include the next time they make this list.

So, what do you think of the choice Apple made? Good, bad, or ugly? It’s hard to argue with a list of just five items since there are so many apps that individuals feel are THE app they must have. I currently have hundreds of photo apps on my iOS devices and I’m starting to lose track of things. One of these days in the not to distant future I’m going to zap my apps and start from scratch. I’ll be sure to keep track of which apps I feel are mandatory on my iPhone and iPad. Soon…


PS: Sorry I didn’t link to all these apps, but my fingers would get tired of copy/pasting. Hopefully you can search in iTunes 🙂

iPhone for Photos Every Day

Apple tends to have some of the best commercials out there. This one makes you feel good and simply states that the iPhone takes more pictures than anything else every day.

The iPhone really does seem to dominate in terms of sheer numbers of photos that get uploaded to the web. Currently the top 3 cameras on Flickr are all iPhones. Looks like the iPhone 5 is about to overtake the iPhone 4S. I’m sure the next iPhone is just around the corner, and the latest rumor is a 12 megapixel camera. Of course, megapixels is not always the most important thing, but it always sounds good in print.

Most common cameras on Flickr

Graph of most common cameras on Flickr.

Panorama Feature Added to iOS 6

The iPhone 5 was announced yesterday along with the new operating system called iOS 6. The new iOS will be released on Wednesday, but some developers have started using it to get their apps ready to run on it.

Apple discussed the new panorama feature during their presentation yesterday.

Panorama feature in iOS 6

iPhone is the most popular camera in the world. For good reason. Photos look so stunning, it’s hard to believe they were taken with a mobile phone. And everything that made the iSight camera in iPhone 4S the world’s favorite is now on iPhone 5 — and then some. The new panorama feature lets you capture everything from a family reunion group photo to a jaw-dropping shot of the Grand Canyon. With one smooth motion you can shoot up to an impressive 240 degrees. The gyroscope, A6 chip, and Camera app work together to create one seamless, high-resolution panorama up to 28 megapixels.

This feature will also work on older iPhones. When you have the camera app open, you tap the Options button and then tap on the Panorama button that you see. After that you just rotate around and keep a cute little arrow along a line in the middle. It’s really simple.

I took this shot at lunchtime with the glaring sun up in the sky. I haven’t done a lot of testing to see how quickly you can spin, but this one was done in just a few seconds. Click on the image to see it on Flickr (full resolution has been uploaded).

C-Ville Pavillion

When you update to iOS 6 (available next week) you’ll get to make nifty shots like this one. The size of the shots are really large, and depend a bit on how straight you kept the camera. The images turn out to be around 10800 x 2430 pixels on my iPhone 4s during my testing. This type of image has problems with items that are close to the camera, since it has a problem aligning/splicing these things together (example is when you stand next to a fence or a cubicle wall) so the clearest shots are the scenery type.

There are a number of apps available that already create panoramas so the developers of those will have to work to include more features than the built in camera app. I’m guessing we’ll see more panorama images on the various photo sites in the upcoming year.

iCloud Photo Stream: What’s Right, What’s Wrong?

Apple introduced iCloud when they released the latest operating system (iOS 5) for your iOS device(s). This lets you keep many things automatically synced between all your devices by having it all sitting on a remote computer, or in other words, the cloud.(1)

From Apple: “With iCloud, when you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all your other devices. No syncing. No sending. Your photos are just there. Everywhere you want them.”

iCloud Transfer

With iCloud photos end up on all your devices.

When I snap a shot the photo gets uploaded to the cloud. This only works when you have a wifi connection sync Apple didn’t want your entire data plan being used when you upload hundreds of photos every month. Your other devices will occasionally check the iCloud to see what is new. At that point they will download the latest pictures to your device.

So far, so good. I love the sound of that. Being able to snap with my iPhone and then do the editing on my iPad with the photos from the Photo Stream album is great. Or getting them right on my computer. However, there are limitations in the current system. Here are my good and bad thoughts, along with what I hope will get changed in the future.

The Good

  • Full resolution photos get uploaded to iCloud.
  • Full resolution photos will be downloaded onto your computer if it is using the iCloud option.
  • You can view your photos on all your iOS devices and computers.

The Bad

  • You can’t get full resolution photos from the iCloud down to your iOS device.
  • You are limited to 1000 photos. Older photos start getting deleted when this happens.
  • At this time there is no way to delete photos from the iCloud other than a complete wipe.
  • There is no way for you to view any of the photos via the web. The iCloud site has no interface to the photos.
  • There is no way for other people to view photos that are in your iCloud. You need to be logged in with your Apple ID to see the photos.
  • The sequence of photos in the Photo Stream doesn’t always match the order they were taken.

Suggested Changes

The biggest problem (in my opinion) is that photos are reduced in resolution when transferring from iCloud to your iOS device. From what I’ve seen the biggest photo that will make it is 1920 pixels on the largest side. This is significantly reduced from the iPhone 4S native resolution of 3264×2448 pixels. This is no problem when just viewing photos on a mobile device, but miserable if you plan to edit the photo on your iPad. Losing the resolution is not good if you ever plan to print the photo or display it on a higher resolution monitor due to loss of pixels/information.

Apple should allow full resolution images to be brought to iOS devices. Currently if you are viewing an image that is in the Photo Stream you can choose “Save” to get that low resolution photo onto your camera roll. Apple could add a “Download” option to the popup selection that would get the full resolution image onto your camera roll.

I can understand the limit of 1000 photos. Apple doesn’t want to use too much bandwidth getting hi-res images on all your devices, and they don’t want to cause storage problems on iOS devices. I can understand both problems. But having images start to vanish after awhile is bothersome. One solution would be if Apple could keep a monthly archive of your images sitting on your iCloud. They could have a web interface to let you download and delete these archives. The number of these that would be stored is controlled by how much iCloud space you have (Apple already allows you to buy more than the free 5 Gig that every user gets).

There needs to be a way to delete photos from the iCloud. I’m sure I’m not the only person that accidentally click on the shutter every now and then. Having total junk in my Photo Stream is annoying. I’ve heard on rumor sites that in the next iOS update there will be an option to delete images from the Photo Stream.

I’m really wondering what Apple plans to do with sharing of photos. Right now you can view photos on your iOS device and share them via twitter or email. None of your remote friends/family can view the photos without having your Apple ID. It seems that Apple should incorporate some sort of sharing feature so your friends/families could easily view your photos, or at least those you choose to be public. But perhaps they aren’t going to go down the same road that they did with MobileMe albums. Apple might just realize that other social sites have a firm grip on the market (at least right now — does anyone remember GeoCities?).

Some photos in the Photo Stream end up in a different sequence even on the same device where the photos were snapped. I’m not sure what information is being used to sort the images in the two different views but I’d like to see this glitch fixed. The first time I noticed this is when I was doing HDR shots and saving the originals (in Pro HDR). I noticed that the Photo Stream would not have the dark/light/final in the same order as on my camera roll.

To transfer photos between my iPhone and iPad I’ll continue to use Photo Transfer App. I find it to be the best of the transfer apps and I’ve never had any problems with it. I’d really like it if Apple would give photographers an option so the hi-res shots can make it from one device to another at some point in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed.

There is also a chance that a 3rd party developer will come up with a nice simple way to get the full resolution photo from the iCloud to a device. Perhaps it could be added to Photo Transfer App, or maybe something entirely new such as the Stream Show app.

Here is one tip for those using iPhoto on a Mac. I’d suggest disabling the Automatic Upload feature. If this is turned on and you import hundreds of shots from a camera card, all these photos would begin uploading to the iCloud. I’m also not sure exactly what would happen with RAW photos from my DSLR.

iPhoto Preferences

You might find these links useful if you need more information.

Apple iCloud Overview
Apple iCloud Photo Stream Overview
Apple Photo Stream FAQ (very useful)

—————

1I found a nice description of the cloud in this article. The opening paragraphs are well written.

The easiest way to understand the cloud is to think of it as a utility, like electricity. When you plug a device into a wall outlet, electricity flows. You didn’t generate the electricity yourself. In fact, you probably have no idea where the electricity was generated. It’s just there when you want it. All you care about is that your device works.

Cloud computing works on the same principle. Through an internet connection (the equivalent of an electrical outlet), you can access whatever applications, files, or data you have opted to store in the cloud–anytime, anywhere, from any device. How it gets to you and where it’s stored are not your concern (well, for most people they’re not).

The potential benefits of this approach are enormous. To stick with the electricity analogy, if your IT department is still pre-cloud, it’s running the equivalent of its own generator. And with that comes a load of responsibility: Generators break, they run out of fuel, they need to be serviced, and–if demand for power increases–new ones need to be bought and brought online.