Earlier this week we contacted a few mobile photography app developers to ask their opinion regarding the new iPad Mini and whether they feel it will be of benefit to mobile photographers in respect of their apps.
We published Mike Hardaker, developer for 645 PRO thoughts here and recently published Tai Shimizu, Filterstorm developer, thoughts here. This time we are publishing Jens Daemgen, developer of ProCamera, thoughts below…
‘The iPad mini is an interesting device in several regards. First, it is astonishing as it seems Apple is ‘just’ responding to competitive pressure; but second – despite not having impressive specs – the device looks like it’s something a lot of people want to have.
If I was asked, “Will it will turn out to be a category killer?” I would answer with a clear yes.
Technical specs always have to be looked at holistically. The ecosystem Apple has built is the reason why this device has best chances to be ‘category winner’.
No other platform has as much quality software available. Starting with iOS and being 100% compatible (technically) with the larger iPad. This is a unique selling proposition – so to speak.
Every user will have thousands of high quality apps available right after buying an iPad mini. It has taken some time for the number of high quality iPad apps to reach a level comparable to that of the iPhone. And still, the iOS App Store for iPhone apps is substantially more active (and therefore the offer is bigger).
But compared to other tablets, the iPad and iPad mini are the clear #1 when it comes to software.
One drawback for a short time will be the availability of software optimized for the new screen size. From our experience of four years at ProCamera we know how important it is to optimize usability for each device. We are already refining the UI of ProCamera HD to be perfectly optimized for the new screen size. I am sure a lot of other high quality apps will do the same. This is definitely a challenge for developers, as there are more and more screen sizes and display resolutions on the market.
We have always recognized the need to optimize for each device, so ‘frameworks’ enable us to do so quickly. ProCamera HD is one of the first apps with a customizable UI, so the user can adjust the UI to fit his or her individual style of holding the device.
One of the most amazing and enjoyable revelations for us is the excellent camera hardware. Megapixels are of secondary importance. ‘Despite’ only having 5 MP, the iPad mini has very good camera specs making it a great device for taking photos and videos.
Editing photos and videos on the iPad isalready very common and popular. Apps like Snapseed make the iPad an extremely powerful tool for editing and refining photos.
We launched an iPad photography contest to see how far our users could push the emerging field of iPad photography. We also want to encourage discussions about the pros and cons of using iPads to take photos and videos.
I am sure the iPad mini will bring some change to the relatively new phenomenon of iPad photography. We already see that the iPad is used a lot more for recording videos than for taking photos. One reason for this might be that the dimensions of the device make it to something like a ‘steady cam’. The size of the device alone enables less-shaky video recordings automatically (without further video stabilization which is now also available on the new iPads as well).
The same stabilizing effect applies to taking still photos, but the size of the large iPad seems to make people more reluctant to use it for photography. I think the iPad mini can be a game changer in this regard. We also heard feedback that people are excited about taking photos with their iPad because the preview image is substantially larger and therefore the control is more precise.
Time and experience with the device in the hands of users will show the best ways to use it. Apps that address special needs will be developed and already popular apps will optimize their UI for the unique dimensions of this new device.
iPad mini users will have a multitude of software available right from the start. Some apps might have suboptimal usability, but that will change as they get optimized. The hardware specs combined with the easy-to-use and powerful iOS will make a great overall user experience.
For developers there are new possibilities, but also challenges in order to create an optimal user experience for the new screen dimensions. Still, since everything will run like a charm right out of the box without changing a single line of code, there will be no mission critical tasks like the ones we saw were created by the iPhone 5 resolution upgrade. Using the newly available screen real estate on the iPhone 5 was super important and urgent, whereas optimizing for the iPad mini is a nice-to-have fine-tuning which won’t lead to developers’ sleep deprivation.’