Few apps have deserved the response "at last" more than the Flickr iPad app. The fact that it has taken over four years for this to surface is a sign of just how much Yahoo has dropped the ball with the service over the years. But, hey, they're playing catchup, and they've done a really nice job of it with this app.
Browsing and searching through photo streams is easy, photos open smoothly into full view even on my aging iPad 3 (which will be replaced by a sparkly new iPad Air 2 next week...), and the information overlays use iOS's translucency beautifully. It also integrates nicely with iOS8's extensions system, allowing you to share photos around easily. It's a really nice piece of work. They may have done this late, but they've done it right.
There's no doubt that the iPad is just a superb experience for browsing and interacting with photos. I've had a really pleasurable time today browsing through friends' photos as well as exploring some of my own. If you have an iPad and are a Flickr user – current or lapsed – it's well worth a download.
The Flickr problem
Every time I mention Flickr - as I did this morning when I read about the app - I get at least one response along these lines:
@adders I quit Flickr months ago. Yahoo have screwed it good and proper...— jeremyhead (@jeremyhead) October 18, 2014
It's a reasonable position. As I mentioned above, Yahoo's stewardship of the once market-leading photo sharing app has been less then stellar. The changes in the Marissa Mayer era of Yahoo have not always been well-received by users.
But here's the thing - I don't know of any other service that really does what it does. Instagram is great, but is very much a mobile-centric service, with limited support for those of us with large archives or an SLR and CSC habit we've yet to break. 500px is a little more arty in nature than I'm comfortable with for the majority of my photography.
So Flickr remains part of my social media arsenal, until something that genuinely exceeds it comes along. And given that Yahoo finally seem to be going in the right direction, I'm not sure how likely that is right now.
Time-travelling to Exeter
Here's an example of something that Flickr is still great for. The iPad app has inspired me to take a little time today to go through another set of photos from 2002. I've been steadily working through my digital photo collection, starting in 2001 when I bough my first digital camera, and working onwards, making sure they're all well edited, tagged and described.
I'm in 2002 right now, and that's brought me to a summer weekend in Exeter. The photos are a mix of images from my first (2MP!) digital camera (a Minolta), and scanned images shot on film. They're fun - but most importantly, they're of the weekend I got engaged. Special times. And now I have a backup online, with those photos I want shared publicly available to all. And already one has found a new life:
That's what Flickr's still great at.
You can see the full Exeter album on Flickr - or view it below: