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It might be a little (or a lot) late to the party, but Twitter-based photo-sharing service Twitpic has joined the iTunes App Store with a new app that offers features not unlike the increasingly popular Instagram.
The app looks and feels a lot like its competitors, and it’s impossible not to draw comparisons with social photo network app Instagram, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. That app has scored big with iOS users by providing a quick and easy interface for altering photos with effects, as well as the ability to easily share them across Twitter and Facebook. Instagram also just hopped from iTunes to Google’s Android platform, where it has picked up several million new users.
Simplicity is Instagram’s strength, and Twitpic’s app has taken the lessons that app teaches to heart. Twitpic on iOS sports a similar tap interface to that of Instagram and lots of other iOS photo editing apps, but it includes a larger number of capabilities. In addition to adding several Instagram-like effects to photos, users can also crop photos, change their orientation, adjust them for various lighting situations, and otherwise use some very basic editing to improve the quality of their shots.
Twitpic isn’t an incredibly detailed photo editor like some of the apps in the App Store, but it does include more features than the super-simple Instagram. It toes the line between including editing features but making them easy enough that anyone can use them. It also has the benefit of Twitpic’s Twitter-integrated nature to instantly create photo feeds for users: since you sign-in with Twitter, you get the feed of all the photos that your Twitter friends are already posting using Twitpic in their web browsers. Unlike Instagram or other photo-sharing networks, there’s no need to track down friends or start adding new people, as the network is already built for you.
But the reliance on Twitter is also a drawback, because Twitpic lacks integration with Facebook. While that’s something of a no-brainer – it’s Twitpic, after all – the inability to ship tweaked photos off to several social networks is something users want and have grown to expect. Facebook remains a bigger service than Twitter, and it seems like not having some kind of boilerplate Facebook connection will ultimately hurt Twitpic’s ability to stand against the entrenched competition.
Still, it’s not for lack of trying. Twitpic does provide a solid app experience, a slick interface, and most importantly, easy-to-use editing features that do well to improve photos. Voracious Twitter-fiends who don’t already have an app to fill its place will find Twitpic a worthy download. But for those who are already happy with Instagram or any of dozens of substitutes, Twitpic will likely be a blip on the radar that doesn’t amount to much.