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iPhoto for iOS: WTF Moment

News flash: You can’t edit photos on the iPad Classic because it doesn’t have a front facing camera.

No iPhoto Without Front Facing Camera

As they say…. the hell?

iPhoto for the iPad: My Question (and Reaction)

Update: iPhoto was in fact announced. Further thoughts at the bottom of this original article.

Please do not handle.  At Pike Place Market in Seattle.Some well-reasoned pundit speculation about the hours-away iPad 3 announcement indicates we may see iPhoto announced for the iPad. You’d think I’d be all excited about that as a photographer, right?

I’m an Adobe Lightroom user who’s found the experience of editing photos on the iPad to be clunky, awkward, and slow. These problems weren’t because of software, but because a finger-touch system is a crappy way to make precise photo edits. iPhoto won’t fix that.

Why should I care about a system that will involve importing photos from some external camera device, editing them in a clunky interface, and managing them in a system which isn’t compatible with Lightroom?

What am I missing?

Update after the announcement: Apple did announce iPhoto for iOS (both iPad and iPhone). I might load it on my iPhone, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never really use it on the iPad. As I mentioned when I wrote this piece last night, the issue isn’t software – it’s hardware and workflow. I don’t capture images on my iPad… so if I’m going to spend the time to import images onto another device for editing, why would I import to the iPad (with a limited set of photo editing tools) instead of my MacBook Air (with Lightroom)? And when I’m done editing and want to share the photos online, would I rather do that from the iPad one-app-at-a-time interface where sharing/uploads are often clunky, or would I rather do that as a Lightroom export including the various publish services?

Path and Failed Trust

Path LogoI just deleted a blog post draft that probably would’ve been published later today explaining how I was really enjoying Path. I was going to talk about how it’s a logical evolution that tells interesting stories as opposed to the game nature of Foursquare.

Today it was revealed that the Path app uploads a user’s entire address book (including all contact information) to Path’s servers. Users are never notified of this occurring. Path’s CEO jumped into the comments and confirmed this is happening, and that they have future plans for an opt-in.

I’m done with Path. For a company to make such a move without any sort of notice is unacceptable. I have deleted the app and made a request to have my account information deleted.

If you’d like to delete your Path account as well, here’s the how-to article. When contacting them, be sure to let them know why.

iBooks Author’s EULA and Why It’s Fine With Me

Apple iBooks Author EULA License ControversyIn a rare departure from the usual course of events, a significant number of folks are up in arms about a Terms of Service / EULA issue and I don’t think there’s any problem at all. Yes, I’m one of those rare creatures that pays attention to such things (heck, I even gave a talk about giving your rights away at Ignite Portland a few years back). And while some prominent writers feel that the terms of the license agreement for Apple’s new iBooks Author program are “so achingly awful”, they seem reasonable to me.

The Terms and the Disagreement

The portion of the license agreement in question specifies two things:

  • Content created with iBooks Author and given away for free may be distributed via any means
  • Content created with iBooks Author and sold may only be sold via the iBookstore (run by Apple and subject to a 30% commission)

Those objecting to the terms are objecting to the second; their argument seems to be that Apple should allow the content to be sold via any means possible and not restricted to the iBookstore.

My Response

Keep in mind that Apple is a for-profit corporation. They’re a corporation which has made several innovative moves that have pushed us forward, but they’re a corporation nonetheless. They aren’t offering iBooks Author and the iTunes textbook store purely out of the good of their heart; they’re doing it because they feel their innovation will move the industry forward and they will make a lot of money in the process.

From my first few weeks with my original iPad, I’ve felt that Apple could benefit by making some sort of toolset that easily allowed for content to be published for the device. Apple has now done just that. The resulting book can’t be sold for Android, or for PCs. Apple has provided a tool that allows content creators to better create content for Apple’s iPad device.

If the terms of iBooks Author are that horrible, textbook vendors (or any other ebook authors) are welcome to continue creating their content via other methods and distribute as they have in the past even through the iBookstore. The terms only apply to the authoring tool. No rights or abilities have been removed from anyone. Anyone can still create and distribute content for any platform, including the iPad, in all of the ways that they could 24 hours ago before iBooks Author was announced.

Concerns About Long-Term App Sustainability

By most measurements, Apple’s iOS app store has been very successful. We’ve seen a proliferation of quality applications for mobile devices and consumers seem quite willing to pay for said applications. The same can’t be said for the Android Market. But there’s one nagging problem I have with the iOS app store, and it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse.

Apple App Store iconI’d like a way to continue to support my favorite app developers without trickery involved.

The lack of paid application upgrades means that purchasing an app is generally a one-time affair. I pay $4.99 forInstapaper and I’m done. Or the same price for Elements. I purchase Instacast for $1.99. And that’s the end of the transaction… which is fine for most scenarios.

What if I’d like to pay more? What if I find that I am getting a lot of value out of an application, perhaps far more than the small price I paid? There’s not currently any way to fund software on an ongoing basis, and I fear that without some sort of revenue model that allows for additional purchases, developers may abandon or deprioritize some software.

Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, added a subscription service to version 4.0 of his application that allowed him to cover the increased costs necessary to provide the search feature in his app. He discovered that Apple’s renewing subscription service doesn’t work for this purpose:

Ultimately, I had to ship Instapaper 4.0 with non-renewing subscriptions, I was able to delete all of the clunky auto-renewing server code, nobody sees that terrible dialog in my app, and I need to ship an update soon that will annoy my best customers with manual-renewal notifications.

This isn’t some hypothetical or philosophical issue, this is a practical one. Full search of all of the content in Instapaper is a new feature which has very tangible server and bandwidth costs for Marco. Since he can’t offer a paid app upgrade, he attempted to setup a subscription, which can’t be auto-renewing due to Apple’s rules and now he needs to force his users to go through clunky steps.

Developers need incentive to continue building and enhancing existing quality apps. While goodwill is nice, goodwill doesn’t pay the mortgage. Apple owes it to its developers and users to provide a simple method for developers to charge for upgrades and enhancements.

Mobile Isn’t Killing Kodak; Kodak Killed Kodak

Kodak logoToday on ReadWriteWeb writer John Paul Titlow asserts that the proliferation of mobile camera phones including the iPhone is a significant factor in Kodak’s near-bankruptcy. I disagree.

Other camera manufacturers that have introduced solid and innovative products are seeing success. Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and others see strong sales both of DSLRs as well as compact units. Canon’s S90/95/100 series cameras are the size of a deck of cards and being used by professionals to sell images. The micro 4/3rds cameras along with the compact Nikon N1 system are allowing for amazing images to be created by small cameras that don’t have the heft of a DSLR.

Kodak was one of the early players in the digital camera market but they haven’t introduced anything that stood out either to high end users or the mass market in several years. Couple this along with the decline in the film, print, and processing businesses and we see why they’ve faded away while other manufacturers are doing well.

I agree that phone photography has cut into compact camera sales a bit but that’s hardly a leading factor in Kodak’s situation.