This past Thursday, at the local Triangle Cocoaheads meeting, the creator of the app TapsBook showed his app and asked for feedback. Sherwood (the developer) expressed that his love of photography and desire to tell stories with all the pictures he came up with necessitated a better way of build photo books. The app is iPad only (sorry iPhone people), and allows you to tap and swipe your way thru building photo books that can be shared either on the web, on social media, or thru printing at your local Walgreens drug store.
I too take way too many pictures, and having just spent a few days at Kennedy Space Center watching the launch of the MAVEN mission, I thought this would be a great test. I had recently used Google+’s AutoAwesome features to create some really exciting pictures of the launch, so TapsBook sounded like a perfect way to print a book of the picture.
As I mentioned above, it was iPad only, so I had to wait until I got home to test it. I hope they resolve this soon, as I don’t always carry my iPad with me, but the iPhone is my constant companion. I was a bit surprised that the app was sluggish on my iPad Air, I had a full photo stream (1,000 pictures) and the UI stuttered a lot when working with the pictures. I was able to grab a share I had created of the MAVEN launch and start working on the swiping up and down to say which pictures were the best. So after getting over the sluggishness, I felt the design was pretty cool.
Modifying the pictures within an auto created storybook, did not work as I expected. I had hoped I could just grab a picture and move it to a new location. Also, the algorithm ignored the large group of pictures I had taken of the launch sequence itself. It scattered the pictures over the last groups of pages, interspersed with other pictures. I am sure I need to do a bit more study and hopefully I can correct this. But given the ease of auto creation, I would expect an option to say respect sequence of the pictures.
When I wanted to share the book, it required that I create an account. The app itself is free, but you are limited to 500 pictures uploaded and shared. I get this, storage is not free and I respect that Sherwood and team need to get paid. I also tried to print the TapsBook to Walgreens and was surprised by the 20 page limit. I have never used their service, so I am sure that is a limitation of Walgreen and not of the app.
Overall, I think the app does well in making creation of picture books (or stories) easy for most people. It is free to start with, and if you find that you like it, I would certainly buy a subscription to support the developers and cover the disk space costs. As for printing, my test book was 65 pages long, and I couldn’t choose which pages to cut, so I didn’t get that done. Maybe I will find a good 20 page book to print soon.
I hope Sherwood and team come out with more apps, since the interface design is certainly intuitive.