LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – The truth of the matter is that there’s just no way to have a telescopic lens phallically jutting out of the back of your iPad in a way that Jony Ive’s sense of dignity in design would approve of. Props to Polaroid, then, for not even trying, instead going a more playful route with their brand new line-up of iPad, iPhone and iPad mini cases that support snap-on external lenses.
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I can’t remember the last time I picked up a proper camera and took a photograph; every picture I take these days is on a smartphone. The problem with that is, I usually end up transferring them to my Mac, and then that’s where they stay. Forever. Making good quality prints isn’t as easy as it should be.
Polaroid is hoping to change that. The company has announced that is to open a bunch of new Fotobar stores across the United States that are dedicated to printing your smartphone snaps. You can pop in, upload your pictures, edit them, and then print them.
Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
Today, we’re looking at last-minute stocking stuffers. To be honest, if you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, you should really be out hitting the malls today. But seeing as you’re here reading this instead, here are a few ideas.
If you’re looking for that retro-nostalgic Polaroid-style experience from your iPhone, you could wait till March of next year and purchase one of those fancy soon-to-be-in-production Instagram Socialmatic cameras. That’s if they actually come to fruition.
Or, you could try out Polatax, an unfortunately named photo filter app that builds itself around the concept of Polaroid-like photos.
Steve Jobs was irreplaceable, but he does have his analogs. Driven, charismatic men who created their own companies based upon their ability to imagine a complete product that had never existed — “a perfect new product, whole, already manufactured sitting before him” — and spend tireless years to bring it to the world.
One of those analogues was Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid. And the number of parallels between his life and Steve Jobs’s life were incredible.
If you’re going to add retro-style filter effects to your photos, then you might as well use Instant, a new app for the iPad (and Mac) which goes the whole way: not only does it Instagrammatificate your images, but it forces you to watch the results pop out of a Polaroid camera, and then you have to wait for the pictures to “develop.”
Which is not to say that I don’t like the app. In fact, it turns out to be rather excellent.
At one time, deep back in the swirling mists of time, Polaroid was like the Apple of photography, not only making the best stuff but also inventing new ways to do things. Now, the brand is nothing but a label slapped onto a bunch of crap by the current owner.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing amazing going on in the analog instant film world. Take a look at the Impossible Project’s FPU (Film Processing Unit), an amazing gadget that marries your iPhone to real, instant analog photos.
Ahh, Polaroid – how far you have fallen. Once a true icon, an essential tool for photographers and a medium for many artists, as well as being the only way to take dirty photos without getting arrested at the processing lab.
Now you are stuck licensing your name and Logo to any cowboy who wants to stick a crappy ZINK (zero-ink) printer inside a box with a cellphone camera.
As my esteemed colleague Charlie pointed out yesterday, Polaroid releasing an “official” app that takes Polaroid-style pictures now is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Then returned, bolted again, walked at a leisurely pace to an airport 2000 miles away, paused for a week, gone trekking in Bhutan, spent some time finding itself in Goa, and finally bolted some more for good measure.
So let’s all just agree that this app is woefully late, because there are already twelve dozen Polaroidish apps on the App Store, many of them very good at their job. So is Polamatic actually any good? The answer’s yes. Yes it is.
Speaking of Polaroid, the ailing-but-once-awesome instant photo company has come out with its own iPhone app. And guess what? It’s yet another Instagram clone, only it’s not free and it even has extra in-app purchases.
The app is called Polamatic, and it lets you snap photos, add filters and grames, and then upload them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr or Instagram (just like Instagram!). The schtick here is that the frames aren’t just any old Polaroid-ish
frames. No, they’re actual scans of “new, used, and vintage Polaroid frames.”