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iPhoto for iPad review: Who needs a computer?

iPhoto for iOS

A decade after first introducing iPhoto to the world, Apple has turned the desktop image editing and management software into an iPad app — an iPad app which'll make you wonder whether you even need a computer to handle and share photos at all anymore.

iPhoto for iPad — which I'll simply call iPhoto from this point on — is missing a (very) small number of the features found in its desktop counterpart (the processor-intensive Faces face-recognition, for one, as well as Places, the geo-tag view), but unless those specific features are particularly dear to you, I doubt you'll notice their absence.

The app's powerful and quite capable of guiding you through most photo-related tasks without ever needing to use a computer as a crutch. The app was clearly built with multi-touch in mind and it doesn't fail to take advantage of everything that environment has to offer.

Want to browse through photos? Just swipe and flick your fingers across the iPad screen. Need to fix an image's exposure and trim its edges? Just tap the appropriate tool and drag your finger across the areas that need changes. Wonder how that photo would look with a pre-set effect? Tap, tap, tap and then pinch, zoom, or slide to adjust. The gestures are intuitive — as expected — and they remain consistent through out iPhoto, whether you're tweaking a freshly imported image or going back to edit a photo "journal" to share online.'s Wilson Rothman shows how everything fits together in the following video: 

The app's not without flaws, mind you. The initially charming skeuomorphism can become tiresome after a while — must the brush tools really look like actual brushes? — and some menus, while intuitive in a vacuum, may throw long-time users of the app's desktop counterpart off a bit. Additionally, the inability to manipulate images which are over 19 megapixels may irk some folks, and others may be annoyed that edited photos export at a maximum resolution of 16 megapixels.

Quirks aside, iPhoto offers something to both amateurs and pros, and provides you with a stress-free photo-editing experience. But how does it compare to other image-editing apps, such as Adobe's $10 Photoshop Touch

Quite well, actually. While iPhoto doesn't offer Photoshop's ability to work with individual layers, it compensates with fully non-destructive editing, an edge-detection feature for more precise editing, and incredible customizable effects. Additionally, despite its resolution limitations, iPhoto can actually handle higher-resolution images than Photoshop Touch and just about every other similar app currently on the iPad market.

iPhoto's certainly worth its five-dollar price tag and should satisfy advanced users while providing beginners with a comfortable introduction to the world of photo editing, organizing and sharing.


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