Word just filtered through Twitter that iPhone photo share app Instagram just updated with some very exciting features. For people who don’t use the app, this is just noise and fanfare from iPhone nerds. But, for the nerds, this is huge. In a blog post revealing all of the updates, Instagram details that they have added four new filters (seen above), quicker filter switching, instant tilt shift, rotation, optional borders, higher resolution photos, more supported devices, and a new, somewhat cuter icon. To all non-Instagrammers, these are all seemingly normal things you would have thought already existed on the app but they did not. News of these things are huge! Particularly the fact that you can remove borders, rotate photos, and switch through filters and tilt shift much faster is a blessing.
I played around with the new app and it is very, very good. Let me show you some of the features that I captured, while using my dog Dottie as a model.
As you can tell from these three, the whole photo editing experience is completely different. Gone is the beige backdrop and somewhat invisible tilt shift button and in are new features and clearly noted functions. On the left, you will see how the tilt shift works. Although there is no longer a way to adjust how much tilt you are getting, you can now more clearly and easily see what is being affected by the tilt shift as a white glow displays the tilt shift. The middle photo displays the new filter carousel which loops the filters into a constant stream. You’ll also see there are new icons to represent the filters, which look much cleaner and crisper than the previous version of the app. Also, the shoes are gone and trees are in! On the right, the photo is upside down which–although seemingly silly here–is very valuable when you take a photo that you want oriented in a specific way so you don’t have to use another app to get it as you like. Although you cannot crop your photos (yet!), rotating your photo is a step in the right direction for Instagram to combat other photo sharing systems like Hipstamatic and Camera+.
You’ll also notice that all three of the photos do not have a border, which you can turn on or off with the icon on the top left. Speaking of icons, the second to the left icon rotates the photo, the middle reverses camera view, the fourth icon manages tilt shift, and the fifth exits from photo editing back to your stream. The fifth icon–the X–is a bit redundant in conjunction with the lower red X, which simply takes you back a step to retake a photo. Beware of which X you employ! The eye on the bottom right also turns off/on the filter carousel, making your view of photo editing less congested.
All in all, I think the Instagram update is very great and much needed. Granted, the updates are mainly only in regards to editing the photo versus the interactivity. The update gives users the power to make their photos look better than Instagram has ever allowed, which is a very, very good thing. Now, go forth and update your Instagram, iPhone nerds…and let us know what you think in the comments!