iOS 7's Photos app not only gets a makeover, but gets automated organization by year, collection, and moment, as well as filters for your post-processing pleasure
Here's how Apple describes the new Photos app:
Now there are faster, easier, and more delightful ways to scroll down memory lane. Introducing Collections, Moments, and Years — smart groupings of your photos and videos based on time and place. Tap Years and all your shots fill the screen. Each year holds Collections, like your trip to San Francisco. And in that Collection are distinct Moments — photos from Union Square, videos from AT&T Park. So you can find a shot from whenever, wherever, in no time.
And here's what they've shown off so far:
The iPhone Photos interface in 2007, and the iPad Photos interface that followed in 2010, both designed by Mike Matas, were delightful. The ability to pinch-to-zoom photos was one of the major multitouch selling points of the original iPhone, and likewise the ability to peak into stacks of photos on the iPad. But again, that was 6 years and 3 years ago respectively, and what was once done by genius animation is now done by iOS 7's new physics engine. You can still swipe. You can still pinch. (I don't know if you can still peak?). Yet you can also now benefit from a lot of app-side smarts.
Camera Roll really was monolithic. A never-ending chronological matrix of photos, as an interface, goes only so far. Moments, Collections, and Years are better, smarter ways of organizing pictures.
The idea of using automatically generated metadata isn't anything new for Apple, as they've exposed Events and Places in iPhoto before, and Places in Photos. But merging them and making them the primary point of entry is new, and it's a change very much for the better.
Rather than absolutely breaking sets up by time and place, letting them group together into right-sized groupings is also clever. Too few, or too little, and even the new Collections and Moments lose utility.
I'm not as sure about the use of white as the primary background color here. Sure, traditional, real-world photo album pages were and are often white or off-white, but black has always seemed better for digital. Not having to compete for brightness, colors pop against black. That's probably why Apple still switches to it in edit mode, but it might work better to stick to it in general. I'll have to give it some time to really see and feel the difference.
Filters, as mentioned, are the same as the dynamic ones in the Camera app. Apple hasn't posted specific screens showing them in Photos, so here they are again from Camera.
The new Share Sheets look great. The ability to add extra photos right from the Share Sheet is fantastic, and saves having to cancel, add more, and share again. Much more efficient. AirDrop, likewise, is a perfect fit here. My only quibble is with the function icons. Copy, Slideshow, AirPlay, etc. look horribly fragile, and the thinness of the lines make them far less glance-able than the services icons above them.
The horizontal scrolling in the additional photo selector, AirDrop, services, and functions selectors looks like it's both space efficient, and usable.
Unfortunately, Apple didn't show any way for third-party apps to hook into the Share Sheet - no Instagram, for example, in the services options. Those still appear to require a partnership agreement, rather than API access.
The updated Photos app will ship as part of iOS 7 this fall. Check out the resources below for more, and let me know - how do you like the new, automagic organization, the new filters, and the new sharing sheets?