When I was growing up as a child one thing that people really cherished were photo albums. Going away on a holiday was so much fun, and people seemed to love buying that album that will keep the photos in good condition and then writing in pen underneath the photo a brief description of what that particular picture was about. Today, it’s hard to argue that photos are liked by people less than what they were back then. Now built into our Smartphones that we use everyday are cameras and people are constantly taking pictures with them all day long. What might have lost its touch, however, is the way we treat these photos. We generally just put them into the old folder and then flick through them on the iPhone with a simple swipe gesture with our hands. There’s no denying it’s a far more efficient and even costly way to store our memories, but it has lost some of its magic over the years.
Sunlit for iOS aims to change all of that by offering people using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch a way they can create stories by combining photos inside of the application. The best way to get a good feel for how it works is by looking at the official screenshot they use in iTunes. The first shot shows Oregon, followed by National parks, Halloween, Disney World and Christmas are going down the page. These are all separate albums. Then, if you click on any of the albums inside is all the photos from that trip which were taken along with any written text you want to enter describing the trip.
It’s a great idea to write your memories as soon as you arrive back from the vacation because that’s when your memory is at its best. Over the years your ideas of the trip might change, and certain things you did could fade. Having them written in text underneath the group of pictures is the best way to keep the holiday in full detail.
Being a new application and only up to version 1.1, it needs iOS 7 or later to work. It made for older devices, however, it is optimized for the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S — two of the newest Apple Smartphones available today.
If I was to nitpick, the downside for me is that it needs App.net to work. In other words, you can’t start using it until you also download the App.net and create an account there. There first screen you see after opening Sunlit will be this.
App.net works as a hub where you can subscribe to different shows and it will send you push notifications when alerts come in. In fairness, the app downloads very quickly and that isn’t an issue here. The problem arises when you begin making your account, followed by setting up all the details it wants you to fill in and so on. Before too long you will be left confused and wondering what any of this has to do with using the original application that you signed up for in Sunlit.
To combat this open up the Sunlit application after you have created the App.net account. At the bottom of the screen is small writing with the option of entering the App.net username and password. This is where you enter the details, and it will give you access to the Sunlit application. Don’t click on the first option which says “sign in with the App.net app”. I found that way more difficult. You’ll now be inside, and it will give the option of creating a new story. It looks very blank to start with but once you start filling it with your stories the app will start looking a lot more appealing.
It’s easy to see why this app didn’t end up being extremely popular. As much as we love it, the sign in process was difficult, people don’t have the patience for that. Signing up and download another app to use it, people don’t like doing it. It’s all a bit too much for them to take in. However, once you get past that first stage, you should begin to enjoy Sunlit for what it is: a great way to create photo albums, group photos, write down journal entries beneath the images giving a better user experience than the default iOS photos app.