Ember is a very polished app with a fantastic UI, slick animations, full-screen mode and it’s simply a fun app to use and organize images with. If you’re a digital creative person and want to organize your screenshots, inspirational images and reference files, Ember could be what you need.
Today, Realmac is back with Ember for iOS, a free companion app for the iPhone and iPad that lets you manage and organize your library but that doesn’t come with editing features yet. Realmac decided to start with a free app as a foundation for all Ember customers; annotations will be added in a future update with In-App Purchases – a trend that’s making several indepedent developers and small software shops, such as Realmac, experiment with different business models than the traditional paid app approach.
Ember for iOS is extremely simple and it syncs across devices with iCloud (which is only available in the Mac App Store version of Ember for Mac); the app is meant to view images in collections and add new ones from your camera or image libary. Like in the Mac app, images are displayed as thumbnails and you can swipe through them in full-screen or select an individual image and share it or add it to an existing collection. Tags, description, and ratings are accessible from an Info screen.
You can create collections and smart collections in the app. Smart collections are handy filters to group related images together using criteria like title, date, web address, tags, and colors; these parameters can be checked with classic “is” and “contains” rules, and a smart collection can match either any or all conditions to show files.
There’s no denying that I want more from Ember for iOS: right now, the app is a companion to the real Ember for Mac and is no substitute to the full OS X experience. Ember for iOS can’t take screenshots of webpages, it can’t add any annotations to images, and it lacks the Mac app’s most useful features like smart drawings and subscriptions. However, for users who like to save their own photos in their Ember library, the convenience of Ember for iOS is evident: the iPhone’s camera is always available and the app makes for a more streamlined workflow than importing photos via Photo Stream or USB on a Mac.
As a free companion, Ember is a nice addition if you already use Ember for Mac a lot. The app is simple and it works; as someone who primarily works from iOS devices these days, I’m looking forward to seeing what Realmac will do with In-App Purchases and what features they’ll allow customers to unlock (my personal guess: separate IAPs for annotations and web-related features).
Ember for iOS is available on the App Store.