Myphotostream

When it works[1], Photo Stream is convenient. The underlying principle is simple enough: you take a picture on one device, it automatically transfers to all other devices with iCloud.

In practice, it’s a convoluted feature. Apple is using quantity and time-based limitations for Photo Stream, which comprises both your Photo Stream (called “My Photo Stream”) and Shared Photo Streams, which are all part of iCloud, but only your Photo Stream counts against storage. I wouldn’t be surprised to know it took Apple more time to come up with Photo Stream rules than to build the actual technology. It’s difficult to explain, and I suggest listening to this Mac Power Users episode to grasp how Photo Stream works and what it can do.

In my workflow, I have new solutions to quickly transfer photos from iOS to OS X or avoid my Mac entirely, but there are still times when I need/want to leave iPhoto running and drag photos out of it and into the Finder or another app[2]. MyPhotostream is a lightweight Photo Stream client that runs on your Mac and provides read-only access to your personal Photo Stream (not the shared ones). (more…)

iPhoto 2.0

I’m playing around with the new iPhoto for iOS 7, and I’ve noticed an interesting change from last year: edits that you make in iPhoto are now synced back to the original photo in the iOS Camera Roll. To my knowledge, no other iOS app can overwrite the original file – apps like Instagram, Facebook, and even the original iPhoto (if you still have it installed) can only save edited photos as new files in the Camera Roll.

As I noted today on Twitter, this is a big change from last year’s iPhoto workflow. Here’s what I wrote in March 2012:

After a few minutes, which I spent playing around with the app’s UI and various editing functionalities, I stopped editing and went back to the main page, thinking that all my edits would automatically carry over to the system Camera Roll. My reasoning was: if iPhoto for iOS, unlike the Mac, can pick from a central location (the Camera Roll), then maybe edits will sync automatically as well. Not so fast. It turns out, the Camera Roll isn’t centralized at all, as every modification you’ll make in iPhoto will have to be exported to the Camera Roll as a new file. Even better, if you edit something in iPhoto in the Camera Roll “album”, then edit the same file in the system Camera Roll from Photos.app, iOS will fail at communicating changes between the two, and you’ll end up with two different files in the same Camera Roll like I did.

In the new iPhoto, Apple has changed the communication layer between the system Camera Roll and iPhoto to allow for a more direct integration between the two: once you choose a photo in iPhoto and make some edits to it (such as an effect), the edits are automatically saved to the original photo in the Camera Roll without having to manually export the edited photo or create duplicates like the original iPhoto did. This makes for a more streamlined workflow and experience, but it raises some questions, so I wanted to dig deeper. (more…)

Apple’s Photos app is the default location for saving and sharing photos with friends on iOS. It’s a place where I spend a lot of time either deleting old screenshots (unique to us bloggers) or sorting images into albums as best I can before syncing them with iPhoto. The app has never made much sense to me, between how it simply handles moving images into albums from the Camera Roll or into Photo Stream, and I don’t particularly care for how it whisks away old photos after a period of time on a per device basis in Photo Stream. Peter Nixey was featured on Hacker News earlier today for his thoughts on how managing photos could be better on iOS, and I agree with the general idea:

I want the canonical copy of my iPhoto library in the cloud. One iPhoto library in the cloud, many devices with access to it. I want to edit, organise and delete photos on any device and see the same changes on all other devices. No master/slave setup – just straight cloud access.

I get that there are limitations and lots of things happening in the background, but a lot of that makes itself evident in Photos if you look closely enough. I don’t necessarily agree with Peter’s pricing ideas or that Dropbox and the like are even a threat. But what I do agree with is that the dumb syncing silo that is Photo Stream has to go. Camera Roll can stay as it is — I don’t necessarily need the two merged. When I move photos from the camera roll into a new album, that photo should be gone — moved from my Camera Roll. And those albums should simply show up everywhere from my iPhone to my iPad and on my Mac or Windows box. The “duplication” that happens everywhere with photos right now on iOS is absolutely crazy. And if I want to use the iPhoto app on iOS instead… can’t I just make that the default?

I love taking pictures on my iPhone. But the syncing, the managing, the sorting… it’s not great.

Sep
14
2012

I like iPhoto on the Mac. The app’s interface sports Apple’s proverbial attention to polish and details, the Faces feature is nice, and I like the possibility to visualize photos on a map, just as I find Photo Stream very convenient for my blogging workflow. However, I realized that I don’t want to depend on iPhoto to store the photos that, twenty years from now, I’ll look back to as memories. I need my photos — moments captured as .jpeg files — to be photos, not a database. And at the same time, I need to be able to access them now from any device I have without having to worry about sync, apps, formats, and corrupted entries. I have decided to move all my photos from iPhoto to Dropbox.

This is something I have been thinking about for the past year. Do I want my photos to be stored inside someone else’s app? And if not, why not do the same for any other media I store on my computer? Should I also ditch Rdio and go back to neatly organized .mp3 files in the Finder?

I have come to the conclusion that photos are irreplaceable. Decades from now, I’ll probably be able to find a 2Pac record somewhere online or in a record store (will those still exist?). But not so with photos. If something — anything — happens to my photos, they’ll be gone forever. There won’t be anyone able to give me my memories back. Just as I do for text files — the words I write — I have chosen to store my photos — the things I experience — as .jpeg files, a format that should still be around for the foreseeable future. (more…)

While Apple’s iWork updates for Pages, Keynote, and Numbers include support for iCloud and the MacBook Pro with Retina display, today’s updates for professional and creative applications such as Aperture (already updated to take advantage of the Retina display), iPhoto, and iMovie consist of stability improvements and further integration with this morning’s release of OS X Mountain Lion.

Aperture 3.3.2

The latest version of Aperture includes updates for added compatibility with Mountain Lion, addresses stability issues that can occur when the app is in Full Screen mode, tweaks auto white balance when using Skin Tone mode, and now lets users sort projects and albums in the Library Inspector by date, name, and kind.

iPhoto 9.3.2

Today’s iPhoto update is about bringing sharing options to Messages and Twitter, whilst fixing some stability issues and improving compatibility with Mountain Lion. Last month, iPhoto and Aperture were updated with the release of the MacBook Pro with Retina display. Among other things, this update unified the two apps’ libraries, enabling them to access each others’ stored photos natively.

iMovie 9.0.7

While iMovie’s release notes don’t specifically mention Mountain Lion on the Mac App Store, it does call for fixes with third-party Quicktime components, improved stability when viewing MPEG-2 clips in the Camera Import window, and brings sound back to MPEG-2 clips important from a camera (where it may have been absent before).

You can download Aperture, iPhoto, and iMovie from the Mac App Store.

Mar
7
2012

iPhoto for iOS Review

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iPhoto for iOS was released on the App Store earlier today, and after an enthusiastic introduction at Apple’s media event in San Francisco, the latest photo editing app from Cupertino received a controversial “welcome” on various blogs and Twitter streams as users got their hands on the all-new interface and photo management system. So what’s all the fuss about iPhoto for iOS?

I have been trying the app on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4S (running iOS 5.1, of course, as it’s a requirement) for the past few hours, and I think that it is very powerful. As I’ll illustrate in a bit, Apple did manage to squeeze some advanced photo editing and refinement technologies in the mobile version of iPhoto, putting it on the same level if not above iPhoto for Mac when it comes to editing, making quick adjustments, and interacting with your photos. Once mastered, the new gestures and tap commands can be quite powerful, although the app can have a steep learning curve. I also believe, however, that iPhoto for iOS suffers from a serious file management problem, in that it’s the best example of iOS’ lack of a centralized file system where apps are able to easily “talk” to each other and share files or modifications to them.

I want to get this out of my system before I get to the (very) good stuff. If you were hoping to see Apple coming up with an effortless way of importing photos avoiding duplicates and manual management, well, I’m sorry, you’ll be disappointed with iPhoto for iOS. This version of iPhoto is yet another data silo that is self-contained, and won’t simply “sync” the changes it makes to photos out of its closed environment.

I say “simply”, because there are exceptions in iPhoto for iOS, as it doesn’t use the exact same system of iPhoto for Mac when it comes to finding photos on your device. Because iOS devices come with a systemwide “Camera Roll” that’s accessible by other apps, Apple engineers had to make sure iPhoto could access such location — and here’s where I started to run into issues. (more…)

Mar
7
2012

Apple Releases iPhoto for iOS

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Available only for iOS 5.1 and announced during today’s keynote, iPhoto for iOS is now available in the App Store. With a size of 106 MB, the download isn’t below Apple’s bumped 50 MB download cap over the carriers’ networks. The iPhoto app for the iPhone and iPad completes Apple’s iLife suite on the iPad, joining iWork, iMovie, and Garageband updates that are also now available on the App Store.

Past the break you’ll find iPhoto for iOS release notes.

Update! We’re updating the post with screenshots past the break.

[iTunes Link]

(more…)

At the media event in San Francisco, Apple today announced an all-new version of iPhoto for iPad. Giving users new ways to organize and browse their photos, iPhoto for iPad comes with new effects, new gestures, multi-touch editing, and a new feature to seamlessly share photos between devices.

With a dark interface completely rebuilt for the iPad, iPhoto makes heavy use of gestures to browse and edit photos. With a simple swipe gestures from the side of the screen, users can bring up a list of photos to edit. A double-tap will allow users to automatically find similar pictures, or enter full-screen mode. With support for EXIF information and sharing on various social networks including Flickr, iPhoto for iPad is set to become a great mobile companion to photographers — the app even features an auto-enhance mode to instantly enhance various aspects of an image, as well as other advanced effects. Brushes, white balance, cropping — they can all be accessed through multi-touch gestures and commands in the new iPhoto for iPad.

Aside from skeuomorphic brushes, iPhoto for iPad comes with a new Photo Journals functionality that lets users build “journals” using photos and additional information such as location and weather data using the stored GPS info and various EXIF data from images. Users can move photos around, add captions, choose favorites, and share the results with their friends.

iPhoto is a universal app (runs on the iPhone as well), and it will be released today at $4.99. Check out our complete March 7th coverage here.

[image via]

Apple today released a new version of its desktop photo management and editing software, iPhoto 9.2. The update, available now, brings a number of bug fixes and improvements to iPhoto, but more importantly it brings full compatibility with iCloud’s Photo Stream for iOS devices, Macs and PCs. Photo Stream is a new service that enables users to store their last 1,000 photos in the cloud, and have them automatically pushed to all devices configured with iCloud. Photo Stream stores new photos for 30 days, and it’s not possible to edit photos stored in Photo Stream. iCloud’s Photo Stream is a continuously updated “album” with all your most recent photos, which doesn’t need to be synced or manually copied to a Mac.

From the changelog:

iPhoto 9.2 supports compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5. This update also addresses minor stability, performance and compatibility issues, including:

Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in Magnify (1-up) view

Previously imported photos are now displayed in a separate section of the Import window

Book/calendar themes and card categories can now be selected using a pop-up menu in the carousel view

Resolves an issue that could cause some pages of books to print incorrectly

Rebuilding a library now correctly preserves saved slideshows and books

With the new iPhoto, users can enable Photo Stream directly in the app’s Preferences. Photo Stream can automatically fetch photos from the cloud, but there are two additional options to automatically import photos in Events, Photos, Faces and Places, and send all new photos from a Mac to iCloud. If Photo Stream photos are set to be automatically imported in Events, iPhoto will create single Photo Stream events as shown in the screenshot below; alternatively, users can also browse all photos in the Photos tab. Additionally, iPhoto will recognize Photo Stream items that have been already imported, and ask the user to edit the imported version upon trying to hit Edit in Photo Stream.

Photo Stream is located in iPhoto’s sidebar, and it offers the same set of controls of any album view. Users can play a slideshow of Photo Stream photos, zoom in/out, search, pinch to zoom, and quick look items by hitting the spacebar. An info panel on the right reveals additional metadata of a photo, such as location, size, file format and camera. Photo Stream items can be manually dragged out of iPhoto and onto the Finder — OS X will preserve the original file name, size, and metadata when copying photos from Photo Stream.

In my tests, iPhoto 9.2 has been fairly reliable at fetching photos and screenshots taken from an iPhone or iPad. On my home network, a photo snapped with an iPhone 4 (weighing 2 MB or less) would take around 20 seconds to appear on my Mac’s iPhoto; I assume on faster Internet connections an iPhone would take less to upload a new photo to iCloud, and even less seconds to push a photo back to the Mac.

iPhoto 9.2 is available now on Software Update. The new version is expected to be available shortly on the Mac App Store as well. You can find more iOS 5 coverage here. (more…)