A day after Twitter unveiled its first foray into photo filters, here’s a whole new app from the folks at Flickr. They know a thing or two about photography, and this new version of their iOS app is fantastic. It has filters, but who cares? Flickr is about a helluva lot more than just filter effects.
The irritating animated home page of the old app is gone, and in its place is something much more useful.
There’s so much that’s new here, it’s hard to know where to start. The team who built this have done something very impressive, in that they’ve re-created all the important features of desktop Flickr in a mobile app. Almost anything you can do on the Flickr you’re used to, you can do here.
Let’s start with the Contacts page, because it’s probably what you’ll see first. It’s gorgeous, and shows your Contacts’ new photos by date (most recent first), and sorted by Contact name. Swipe sideways on one person’s photos to look back through their timeline – this is insanely useful. Or switch to the Justified view, which you might be familiar with from the website.
Groups work the same way. Flick through recent additions to a group from the Groups overview screen, or tap on a Group’s name to browse it in detail. Within a group, you can browse discussions (and add comments to them). If you’re the moderator, you can even do some moderating functions, like banning users.
Your personal profile page shows your photos as large thumbnails or complete with their stats (number of views and faves, comments, etc). Your account activity is in here too showing the conversations you’ve been taking part in and the photos they were attached to.
Finally, and centrally on the icon bar at the bottom of the app, there’s the camera mode. Shooting is nothing special, with access to the same controls you have on the main Camera app and to your Camera Roll too. In Edit mode, though, there’s lot to discover. Filters, yes – more of them than Twitter offers – but more too. A one-touch Enhance button, more for brightness and contrast and red-eye and simple text annotations. And look at that, surprise surprise – all this editing cleverness is powered by Aviary, the same software Twitter used for its photo edit filters, added yesterday.
Overall, then, the new Flickr app combines shooting, basic editing, uploading, browsing and discussing. All wrapped up beautifully. There’s lots inside this app but it never feels cluttered or overpowering. It feels right.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Flickr never stopped being great, it just became unfashionable. This app looks like a determined effort on Flickr’s part to reclaim that leading edge, but (and this is what impresses me more than anything), it manages to offer something cool to both the Flickr old-timers like me (who are hard to please) and to the millions of new users it can potentially pull in through the App Store and the Appleverse.
I’ve seen one or two grumbles on Twitter this morning about minor flaws in this app, but they’ve been few and far between. Compared to what came before, this is a huge leap forward. With this app, Flickr matters on iOS. Bravo, Flickr. Bring it on.
Source: App Store.