If you’re not familiar with SwankoLab, it’s a “handheld darkroom kit” for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch as only the Hipstamatic folks can do. It features a darkroom-type user interface, complete with “developer”, “fix”, and other “chemistry.” Made by the same developers of Hipstamatic, it’s possible to get many of that app’s early effects using SwankoLab.
But SwankoLab hasn’t been updated since version 1.1 back on October 6, 2010 — over 100 weeks ago. Do recent rumblings on SwankoLab’s Facebook page mean that the long-awaited update might finally be happening?
One of the bigger complaints about Hipstamatic is its lack of ability to import images to process. SwankoLab was created as a way to address that issue (sort of). It allows to you mix and match “chemistry” to recreate some of Hipstamatic’s classic looks as well as create unique combinations.
Like Hipstamatic, it comes nicely stocked with effects in its standard configuration. Since its introduction, you’ve been able to purchase the Uncl Stu’s Supply Catalog. It includes nine additional darkroom chemicals for a one-time subscription fee of $1.99. The purchase was supposed to add more effects to the subscription with each update, included free for all subscribers. Since plunking down my $1.99, there have been only two updates to the app and only one new chemical.
After trimming staff recently and promising to “refocus”, SwankoLab may finally be getting the attention it deserves. It the past few weeks, the SwankoLab Facebook page has gotten three new cover photos, including the teaser shown above.
It looks like from a recent post in SwankoLab’s help forums that a new version is at least in beta.
AllanB (Community Support Ambassador) writes:
I accidentally posted pictures of the wrong version of SwankoLab. Sorry for any confusion!! I’ve got a test copy on my phone and didn’t mean to confuse you with pictures of a different version.
When asked when the new version should be out, the answer was “Not sure of the date yet, but it should be soon. :)” It looks like the app is getting a Hipstamatic-style shopping cart. No other details were given.
SwankoLab currently saves images up to 7 MP — that’s 3055×2291 px. That’s still pretty good, but I suspect one of the first things to look for in an update is full 8 MP device resolution support.
I’m looking forward to a new SwankoLab update. I think it’ll happen sooner rather than whenever. Here’s hoping Uncle Stu is cooking up something worth the wait.
The app is currently $1.99. This version is still old iPhone friendly and will run on any iPhone using iOS 3.0 or newer. If you’re still shooting with an old 3G, grab this one now. I suspect old iPhone support goes away in a new update as well.