Photos and Apple: A WWDC roundup

The Apple WWDC closes and it leaves crumbs on the floor.  Let’s see what message they leave us:

iOS 8 and Yosemite will be a another major push from Apple to continue to dominate the photo tech world. Unlike app makers, the Copernito team has the luxury of waiting and analysing what the market likes and dislike for future inclusion in their operating system.  They also have a formidable analytical tool with the app store. This coming release is another proof of that.

Syncing in the cloud:

With Google, Flickr, Dropbox and countless other smaller app companies battling to host and organise the thousands of images people snap everyday, it’s not really  a surprise to see Apple putting more of its weight into it. The ability to seamless sync and edit photos from various platform should have been something Apple had offered from the start. But better late than never. With 40% of market share, the iPhone can become a starting point to convert users into becoming all Apple, something Steve Jobs feverishly tried to create. Using photography as the glue that connects all your devices, iPhone for capturing, laptop/tablets for editing/sharing and tv for display, the intent is to make consumers purchase all the pieces of an electronic lego set.  But more importantly, as the only gateway to your photos, the only devices you will use. To make sure you never leave their device, Apple has added intelligent search tools ( location, time) as well as editing tools.

Not to be outdone and trying to stay ahead of the curve, Google announced on the same day new features for G+ on iOS, mostly around filters seamlessly uploaded to their cloud, as well as access to Stories, their automated curation tool.

Apple has a huge advantage in the cloud storage/syncing space as it sits right at the moment of capture. Shoot and sync. No need to open any other apps. It will be painfully difficult for anyone to compete in the iOS space without a great set of indispensable features, which Google apparently understands.


While not as sexy as social media, Email remains the number one photo sharing tool and Apple knows it. Whether for work or leisure, email has the ability to keep your message privately selective, comes with plenty of  space for text and can be retrieve at anytime. With IOS 8, Apple offers the possibility to edit images within email, with annotation features otherwise only seen in the Preview app. Not a huge improvement, but certainly one that will keep photos on the iPhone and away from third party apps.

Photo App:

Finally, Apple is integrating what it has learned from Aperture by creating a simple to use editing and retouching tool that brings the power of Photoshop to the everyday mobile user. While various adjustments can be done manually ( brightness, contrast, saturation, etc), they  can also be modified simultaneously thanks to a powerful semi automated tool. The results are synced automatically across all devices, free up to 5 Gb,  99 cents/months for 20 GB  and $3.99 for 200 GB. After all, you are more likely to use something you pay for. Making photos look great easily is a feature directly taken off the Instagram playbook. The Desktop version will be shipped early 2015.

No Social Media ?

While there is nothing revolutionary in what Apple presented, it is certainly a very convincing set of features for the heavy shooting iPhone population. While they will facilitate intra app communications (to make people forget it cannot multitask like Android) Apple seems uninterested in helping app makers with new photo capabilities that they could built upon. In fact, some functionalities will hurt  app companies who have offered similar variations, mostly in the cloud/storage/retrieval space. as well as in the editing space. As if Apple wants to close the door and keep the photo space to itself rather than seeing it go to third party or competitors. Another missing element is the social media. Nothing in the presentation mentioned existing social media and the only hint of sharing is in the private Family Sharing feature which would allow up to 6 family members to share an iTunes account , calendar and photos. Is that because they intend to built their own from the new iCloud foundation or simply because they have decided to abandon the race altogether  ?


Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.

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