A Blog

Please Steal This App Idea

January 06, 2014

Spurred on by a Twitter conversation, I figured I’d write more about my thoughts here. I’ve always wanted a GOOD photo editor on the iPad, ever since I saw the demo of the very first one. There have been a few contendors, but they’ve all fallen short.

iPhoto is supposed to be this solution, but the workflow is aggravating. I’d love to take a picture on my iPhone, pull up my iPad and edit that picture on the bigger screen, then send it back to my phone (or elsewhere). But there’s a lag while iCloud syncs, and then somehow I end up with 4 duplicates when I’m done editing, and another lag while iCloud syncs again, sigh.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing it myself in my head, but it’d be pretty hard, and time consuming. If anyone is feeling particularly up for a challenge, here’s how I’d do it.

Pair with a camera. This is hard. DSLR’s still don’t have built-in wifi, and neither do most point and shoots1. But if someone does have the appropriate adapter, it’d be killer. Bonus points for setting up some kind of ad hoc wifi network for a camera to connect to, if that’s even possible.

Display photos as soon as they are taken. When I press the shutter, the photo should appear on the iPad within moments. Since photos (espeically RAW) can be huge, this’ll have to be a temporary buffer. If I start to edit a photo, hang onto it, otherwise just keep the last 10 or so around in memory on the iPad. I should be able to swipe through all of the photos in the buffer.

Let me start editing immediately. Obviously you wouldn’t need to add the entirety of Photoshop, but I think a certain subset would be great:

  • RAW controls (temperature/tint, exposure, blacks, brightness, etc)
  • Curves
  • Black & White manipulation
  • “Real” filters, based on the above controls. We already have Instagram, and don’t need another way to make a photo look like it was a Polaroid from the 70’s. Heck, let me make my own filters.
  • Basic touch-ups, kinda like Lightroom (smooth skin, eye brightnes, etc). Imagine just being able to draw a brightness correction with just your finger.

Simple export. This might be a problem on iOS. Don’t draw my ire like iPhoto and it’s syncing woes. Avoid photos.app until the very end when I want to put a picture in there. Maybe have a companion app for OS X and send a photo there directly from the iPad and avoid the photos app altogether (and save space).

You could whip through that workflow incredibly fast, and not have to fiddle with a mouse and bloated software, or iCloud lag.

1. I think the camera manufacturers have a secret death wish. You can buy a smartphone with a pretty decent camera, GPS, and wifi built in for $129, but not a $6500 dSLR.

Scott Williams

Written by Scott Williams who lives and works in sunny Phoenix, AZ. Twitter is also a place.