Photo Stream debuted in iOS 5 as part of iCloud and while it offered some nifty automatic backup and
sync store and push features, it lacked a lot of the sharing and gallery features that made Mobile Me so family friendly. Now, with iOS 6, Apple is adding sharing back to their cloud photo solution, and while it's not the same as before, it could be just as social.
Here's how Apple describes Shared Photo Streams.
Now you can share just the photos you want, with just the people you choose. Simply select photos from the Photos app, tap the Share button, choose who you want to share your photos with, and they’re on their way. Friends using iCloud on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running Mountain Lion get the photos delivered immediately in the Photos app or iPhoto. You can even view shared photo streams on Apple TV. If the folks you're sharing with aren’t using an Apple device, they can view your photos on the web. People can like individual photos and make comments. And you can share as much as you want: Your shared photo streams don’t count against your iCloud storage, and they work over Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
And, based on what Apple has shown off to date, here's how it works:
- From your Photo Stream album, select the photos you want to share.
- Choose the contacts you want to share the Photo Stream photos with.
- A push notification will notify your contacts of the shared Photo Stream photo.
- Shared Photo Stream photos appear in albums in the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad photo album.
- Shared Photo Stream photos appear in the Photo Stream section of iPhoto and Aperture on Mac OS X.
- Shared Photo Stream photos can be also be viewed in a web browser, including on Windows PCs.
- Shared Photo Stream photos appear in the Photo Stream section of Apple TV as well.
While it doesn't work the same way the old MobileMe Galleries did, Shared Photo Stream do provide some interesting functionality all their own. The question is, with the ability to share photos already built into popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and services like Instagram and Path, does anyone really need Photo Streams to be shared as well? Perhaps, especially for those who don't really want to be social with their photos, but who only want to share them directly with a few friends and family members.
iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19. For more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out: