One of the hallmarks of great Apple software is that it makes you smile like a kid when it does something unexpected and undeniably cool. The first time you pinch-to-zoom, for example, or when you swipe over a picture in iPhoto for iOS and it automatically applies a correction depending on what’s under your finger.
The other hallmark of Apple’s apps is that they look great.
Scalado’s PhotoBeamer manages the first of these things, appearing to work as if by magic. On the second, though, it fails somewhat.
An explanation in this case isn’t nearly as good as actually trying it out, but as I write for a living, I’ll give it a go. PhotoBeamer is an app that beams your photos from your iPhone to any screen in the world, and the way it works is delightful. It is also the first time I have seen a QR code and not hated it.
Fire up the app and choose a photo you want to share. Then tell the person you’re sharing with to visit Photobeamer.com. A QR code will appear on their screen, and then you scan it from the app on your phone. Some magic happens, the two screens are connected, and as you flip through your photos they are mirrored in the other person’s browser, right down to the sliding transitions.
It just works, and it is fast. Both I and The Lady smiled when I used her as a test subject, because it seems to be so clever. And while it seems that you need to be in the same place as the second screen, you could finagle this requirement by scanning via Skype, say, on a third machine, or by having the second person e-mail you a screen-grab of the QR code.
The app isn’t ugly, but it is sparse and plain. It also lacks some obvious features: you can only browse your entire library — there’s no option to use one album of your photos. It’s also iPhone-only. You can use it pixel-doubled on your iPad and it works fine, but a universal version would seem to be simple to include.
PhotoBeamer launches today, and costs $1 in the App Store.