I’m surprised by this new Snapseed update simply because it’s out.

The new Snapseed update is in the App Store, with new features and a new, much lower pricetag — It’s now free. Many longtime users may be hacked off that the app is now free. What’s most surprising to me is that the update is even out.

I’ve got more info on this update after the jump. >>>

Snapseed is one of the more powerful image editors available for iOS. It’s user interface was designed for the screen space limitations of iPhone and iPad rather than trying to cram Photoshop’s interface onto an iPhone.

The new Snapseed 1.5 update comes with a new icon and prominent Google+ sharing capability one of few photo apps that share directly to G+. Now that Google owns Nik Software, this is a cool feature and not surprising. Personally, I’d like to see more G+ sharing in photo apps. This would help turn the social network into a truly viable alternative to Twitter and Facebook.

Snapseed gets the new Retrolux filter which adds an old retro look for your photos. Am I the only one who notices the tonal similarities between Retrolux and Instagram’s now-deleted Gotham filter? Snapseed also  includes a broader selection of new, high quality photographic frames. You can colorize the frame edges to match the look of your image or switch to square mode with a single tap.

The most talked about new feature will certainly be the price. Snapseed is now priced at free, down from $4.99. If this pricepoint sticks and there’s no reason to think otherwise, this makes Snapseed the best free photo editor for iOS hands down. Better than Aviary Photo Editor. Better than Adobe Photoshop Express by a mile.

This is a completely free app right now. It’s the same Snapseed iPhoneographers have grown to love. It’s not feature-limited with an in-app purchase to unlock filters, functionality or resolution. The app still supports greater than 8 MP files on an iPhone 4S and 5. There are no ads. This is a very awesome deal. Thank you, Google!

There has been some pushback from users over this price drop. I dropped five bucks for the app a while ago. I am not upset about this price drop. The app was worth what I paid for it. It’s been free off and on since its introduction in the App Store. Basically, if an app offers features that I feel are worth the asking price, then I don’t have a problem paying the current rate at that time for it. I’d be more upset — really upset, in fact — if this update was free but also reduced the feature set in favor of unlocking functionality through in-app purchases. This is the same app. Now more users get to enjoy it.

What’s the most surprising to me about this update, though, is that it’s even out. Snapseed has been curiously absent from Nik Software promotional pieces since the Google acquisition. Many of us thought Snapseed would be quietly killed.

The Google+ implementation is a pretty significant new feature. APIs had to be written to add that functionality. The new filter and icon may be leftovers, or they may be an indication that serious development is still ongoing for this app. Does this indicate that Google has future plans for Snapseed that don’t simply involve occasional bug fixes and letting Snapseed whither? I hope so.

Snapseed is now free. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.