iPhoto is Apple’s flagship photo-editing and image-manipulation app, and has been around for quite a while on the Mac OS. The Mac version is well-known known as a popular alternative to Picasa and other such picture-organizer/gallery suites. And it serves the same basic purpose as all these other applications and programs, which is to organize your albums and photos, and allow for minor editing and touchup to be done.
Apple recently ported iPhoto to the iOS and launched it with the release of the ‘New iPad’ in March 2012. iPhoto for iOS v1.0 works only with the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, namely iOS 5.1, and is only compatible with iPhone 4/4S and the second and third-gen iPads. It also serves the same purpose as its Mac counterpart (albeit with limited and/or slightly varying functionality): manage photos, quickly edit or touch-up photos on the fly and share them online.
First impressions: iPhoto on the iOS is trademark Apple. It loads quickly and comes with a clean interface. Upon loading, it scans your phone for images and loads them up in its own library. You can browse the images in iPhoto in pretty much the same way you do using the Photos app that comes with the iOS.
iPhoto faces some seriously stiff competition in the cellular market, particularly on the iPhone, where powerful image manipulation and editing tools (a few of which have been reviewed on this very blog) are already present. In the limited time I had testing the app, I can say that iPhoto does not seem to offer anything which would help set it apart from its competition. You can do some basic editing such as auto-enhance photos. And you have your more advanced editing options, such cropping and straightening, adjusting exposure, red-eye removal, color, using brushes, and adding other similar effects to your photo. All editing using iPhoto is non-destructive, which means the original photos are always left untouched.
Once you’re satisfied with any editing you might’ve done using iPhoto, you can share the images online and iPhoto gives you a reasonable amount of options for this purpose (but once again, nothing out of the extraordinary) – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, email, iTunes, and (export to) Camera Roll. You can also print the photo, ‘Beam’ it to another iDevice via Bluetooth, or add it to your ‘Journal’.
‘Journal’ is a mildly interesting feature of iPhoto. It allows you to create virtual photo journals of images of your choosing, where you can move, resize and place these images anywhere you want, as well as add notes, text and more. These journals can then be shared as webpages.
From what I’ve seen, iPhoto is vastly more powerful and better to use on the iPad, and maybe it does offer a better experience on it, which won’t be a coincidence since the app was launched with the New iPad. But it’s a pity that, for me, it will be ‘just another photo editor’ on the iPhone.
And then there’s the price. Its $4.99 right now, and maybe Apple will bring it down after a bit (apart from offering it at a discount from time to time). But for me, that a tad too much to pay for an app which does nothing out of the ordinary. Besides, there are dozens of iPhoto alternatives available on the App Store, all of which provide more or less the same functionality, at half or less than half the cost. I expected better from Apple, but what I don’t expect is to pay $4.99 for an app that does offer a slick interface and maybe a few bells and whistles, but no real innovation and nothing out of the ordinary. That’s just not the Apple way.