Instagram, the beloved photo-sharing app for iPhone users, has launched its biggest overhaul yet. Version 2.0, which is now available in the App Store, offers a redesigned user interface, four new filters, optional image borders and a list of new enhancements to the app's camera.
The new version of the app introduces "a complete upgrade to Instagram's camera with a brand new technology layer," reads a company blog post. Indeed, the UI of the camera itself looks completely different, with control buttons across the top of the screen and a new sample image for the filters along the bottom.
Many of the enhancements are designed to enable users to snap and post photos more quickly. For example, the Instagram team has rewritten the way filters work so that they can be previewed live, before the photo is taken. They've also been optimized to work 200 times faster than the original image filter mechanism. The app's tilt-shift feature, which selectively blurs parts of each photo also now has a "live" mode, enabling you in advance how a picture will look with this technique applied.
What Instagram app upgrade would be complete without a few new filters? This version gets four of them: Rise, Amaro, Hudson and Valencia. These new filters are the result of a collaboration with popular Instagram user @colerise, which serves as an interesting example of utilizing a passionate user community to influence the core functionality of a popular mobile app.
What the Upgrade Doesn't Include: Android or Web Versions
If you clicked the link in that last paragraph, you may have noticed one thing this upgrade does not include: an official Web presence for Instagram. Instead, the company's announcement links off to a user profile on Webstagram, a third party website built using the Instagram API.
Perhaps the most frequently-requested feature is an Android version of Instagram. Since its launch last year, the app has only been available to iOS users, which has frustrated many among the quickly-growing ranks of Android smartphone owners. Those users will have to wait a bit longer, as an Android version is not included in this mega-update.
Now that the six-person Instagram team is finished with this upgrade, they can turn their attention to other priorities, including the Android version of the app, something CEO Kevin Systrom called a "major priority" a few weeks ago.