Editors' Note: The download button opens the iTunes App Store, where you may continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed with an active iTunes account in order to download and install the software. This download may not be available in some countries.
Sporting some interesting user interface conventions and a fairly powerful set of image-editing tools, iPhoto makes a fairly splashy debut, especially at the relatively reasonable price of $4.99. Though it lacks some of the capabilities of the more expensive Photoshop Touch, including cross-iOS/Android compatibility and compositing, it looks like it has a reasonably broad image-editing feature set and a major advantage: it can handle images up to 19 megapixels, while Adobe's app is limited to 1,600x1,600 pixels. Though it was launched with the new iPad--and will probably be really nice to use with that model's high-resolution Retina Display and quad-core processor--iPhoto will also run on an iPad 2 and iPhone 4/4S.
The app's browser interface supports side-by-side comparisons, flagging, favoriting, and the ability to select photos similar to the selection, which seems to mean photos shot around the same time with similar compositions. You can add captions here as well.
The adjustment interface, in which you can directly drag on the image to change parameters like saturation, exposure, contrast, and so on, isn't new, but is probably new to tablets and touch. Unlike Photoshop Touch, there are no masking or selection tools; the best you can do is crop the image if the offending object is near the edge of the frame. The whizziest of the automation tools is autostraightening based on horizon lines in the photos.
Apple rather misleadingly terms its localized adjustment tools "brushes"--misleading because I think people associate brushes with painting. Nevertheless, these can be really useful, and there's automatic edge detection to allow it to protect areas against changes; that's very nice, but the changes are so subtle, at least on my old low-resolution iPad 2, that it's hard to tell if it's working. You can perform localized changes to saturation, brightness, and sharpness, plus there's a red-eye removal brush and a Repair brush for blemish-removal-type operations. Overall, the adjustments underwhelmed, as they don't seem cumulative. In other words, you get one sharpness brushstroke over a given set of pixels. And the quality was meh: for instance, the Repair brush just blurred over the offending pixels.
The special-effects selection doesn't compare with what you get in a lot of apps out there, however. Your choices are a handful of variations on six themes: Artistic (such as watercolor, oil paint, and tilt shift), Black and White, Duotone, Cooler/Warmer, Vintage (various film tones), and a monochrome with saturated color call-out called Aura. You can adjust the intensity of some of the effects. The swatch-fan interface, which presents you with variations on each of the options, is cute but the thumbnails look too small for actually selecting from. I think I'd prefer it to use the photo browser area on the left of the screen for that instead.
Here iPhoto gets a bit authoritarian, too. It won't let you apply an effect and then use a brush. If you try, it peels back and shows you the previous non-global-adjusted version, waits for you to apply your change, then reapplies the effect. Nor can I figure out a way to apply multiple effects.
Finally, there are a few ways to share and display photos. Photo Journals automatically and interactively creates albums of your photos that you can supplement with captions, maps, and dates, though it can only automatically insert a date based on photo metadata. You can export a Photo Journal as a Web page via iCloud as well. Photo Beaming will allow you to send the full-resolution image to another iOS device, via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You can also stream them to a TV via an Apple TV or upload them directly to Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. It looks like the captions transfer wherever an API permits.
Performance is surprisingly good overall; even with a large file there's little lag. (It seems to use progressive rendering and low-resolution proxies.) One annoyance is that iPhoto periodically feels compelled to update the photo albums, too often and usually while you're in the middle of something else. It would be nice to be able to control the frequency setting. It also slows down considerably as you apply more brushes and effects.
While iPhoto has all the sleek user interface touches that you'd expect from an Apple app and a broad set of features on paper, I was a bit disappointed by what feels like a constrained range to its tools. One possibility is that the changes it makes are simply too subtle for the limited color and tonal gamut of the iPad 2's display, and that it will take the high-resolution and increased gamut of this year's model to really show what the app can do.
iPhoto is a universal app that runs on iPad 2 (and later), iPhone 4 (and later) and iPod touch (4th generation and later). With iPhoto for iOS, Apple brings Multi-Touch to photography in a breakthrough way. Browse, edit, and share your photos from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, like never beforeall the powerful tools you need are at your fingertips. And with iCloud, you can share your experiences as stunning photo journals. Smart Browsing Use simple gestures to quickly sort through dozens or even hundreds of photos Automatically find similar photos, so you can quickly make comparisons View multiple photos side-by-side to help you choose your best images Tap to flag any photo, apply a descriptive tag, or mark it as a favorite Resize and reposition scrollable thumbnail grid for optimal browsing in either orientation Multi-Touch editing Simply touch and drag on the parts of the image you want to change Use the face-aware Crop tool to keep your friends and family in the picture whenever you change the aspect ratio Touch and drag on the image to adjust blue skies, greenery, and warmth Drag the white balance loupe to make precise color corrections All image adjustments are completely non-destructive and can be modified at any time Straighten your pictures with a tap using automatic horizon detection Brushes Use your fingertip to paint photo adjustments right where you need them Turn on edge detection to help you apply adjustments with even more precision Lighten, darken, and change saturation or sharpness selectively Paint out spots and blemishes with a powerful Repair brush Brush away red-eye, or use the Soften brush to minimize wrinkles Professional-quality effects Enhance your photos with dozens of beautiful, Apple-designed effects Give your photos a hand-sketched or painted look with new ink effects Touch and drag to add drama to landscapes with a selection of graduated filters Create a perfectly toned black-and-white photo by simply dragging your finger Pinch and zoom a vignette or tilt-shift filter to focus on a key part of the photo Apply artistic effects to transform your photos into brilliant watercolors Photo Journals Share your stories in a whole new way as beautiful photo journals iPhoto automatically flows your pictures into a great-looking layout thats fun to personalize Freely move and resize photos with a touch of your finger Touch and drag to add captions, maps, dates, and even the weather Publish your photo journals to iCloud as stunning web pages Share links to your journals directly to Facebook or Twitter, and via MessagesOther great iPhoto features iPhoto is a universal app, optimized for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Contextual coaching tips are available on all devices Edit high resolution photosup to 36.5 megapixelson certain devices Share photos directly to Cards, iMovie and other compatible iOS apps Create cinematic slideshows of your photos with a few taps Post your photos directly to Facebook with your own comments, locations and friend tags Beam photos between your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch including all non-destructive adjustments Use AirPlay to stream photos and slideshows to your HDTV over Wi-Fi with Apple TV Print your photos wirelessly on an AirPrint-enabled printer Some features require an iCloud account and/or compatible internet access. AirPrint requires an AirPrint-compatible wireless printer. AirPlay is compatible with the second-generation Apple TV or later.
What's new in this version:
Added support for iPod touch (4th generation and later) Coaching tips have been added to the Help system on the iPhone and iPod touch Effects now include six new Apple-designed ink effects such as Chalk and Palette Knife Images up to 36.5 megapixels are now supported* Full resolution photos can now be imported via iTunes File Sharing Tag albums can be created by adding custom tags to photos "Updating Library" alert appears less frequently Multiple photos can now be saved to the Camera Roll at o... See all new features »