laminar for iphoneLaminar Express for iPhone is back in the App Store. It had been gone for a few days. The version number still stands at 1.9 — the same as the previous update. The only difference that I can see in today’s update is that the app has gotten through another name change and is now called Laminar (for iPhone).

I’ve got a full the full feature list and my thoughts after the jump. >>>

Laminar (for iPhone) used to be called Iris Photo Suite, which was a powerful, fairly popular image editor with some unique tools. It was a very good app until it broke on the iPhone 4S. There was no bug fix update and app development sat idle for almost a year. Once it broke, I deleted it from my iPhone.

In an effort for consistency across all of his apps, the developer rebuilt and renamed the app. The iPhone-only version was renamed Laminar Express. The update angered many Iris users. Not only were many of Iris’ tools and filters removed or changed, but the Express moniker implied that the app lacked some fo the features of the Universal Laminar Pro. According to the developer, the only major difference between the two versions was Laminar Express was iPhone-only and only ran in emulation mode on an iPad.

The 1.9 update (and the previous ones) restores many of the user-requested tools and filters from Iris. It’s the largest update of the app since becoming Laminar.

Express has been dropped from the app’s name. That’s a good move by the developer, but I feel the app should have been named that out of the box. Changing an app’s name several times over the course of a few weeks shows inconsistency and reduces the credibility of the app slightly.

While I applaud the developer for staying on top of reader concerns and releasing several updates to help restore the removed functionality, many of the issues such as removed tools and the perception of the Express name, could have been avoided by assuming that users use all of the tools in an app and that removing or changing any of them — especially a lot of them — is going to generate a lot of pushback and angry users.

From here, the Iris to Laminar transition looks like it has been an exercise in shooting one’s self in the foot. My advice to app developers? Don’t mess with your app, just improve it. And settle on a name.

Laminar (for iPhone) is currently $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

The new Laminar (for iPhone) update is pretty broad. Settle down with your favorite beverage and read what’s new. It’s a long read….

What’s New In Laminar (for iPhone) 1.9

Laminar (formerly Iris Photo Suite) provides iPhoneography enthusiasts with a complete set of tools to quickly add life and emotions into their images. It offers complete set of tools needed to edit your images on the go. From filters and textures, to histograms and layers; it has something for everyone!

Version 1.9, had a critical problem with the save routine. The alert for the confirmation caused the crash. Issue had missed our eyes, as it worked rock solid till this time. Sincere apologies for the same.

Also a lot of users complained about the large disk usage by Laminar. It is normal for session data to hover around 500+ megs. This session is automatically deleted whenever a user starts a new session. To force Clean Up:
—> Close the application.
—> Start the application again, and cancel for option to restore a session. All the data would be cleared at this point.

====Change Log====
a) Added the filters from Iris, which were not a part of the initial release 1.9. Grunge/ Vintage/ LoFi filters are now part of the vintage section on Laminar. The Grunge frames, are part of set of border frames in Laminar.
b) We have added back the ColorBalance control. Can be accessed as Edit -> Filters ->ColorBalance.
c) In Blur/Sharpen added ZoomBlur.

====Bug Fixes====
a) Fixed the crashes on save.
b) Fixed the crash when applying Radial Blur from BlurSharpen Menu.
c) Fixed the problem with inconsistency between preview and actual image in ArtFilters,
namely watercolor, and WaterColor.

====Migrating from Iris ====
a) Adjustments, Histogram, Shadows options from Adjust menu are now located in separate “Adjust” menu on the main screen. Changes are now non destructive, and can allow one to easily adjust all the settings together.

b) Sharpen/Blur, NoiseReduction, and Color Balance are now located inside “Edit->Filters”.

c) Layers and Masking tools are located inside the Layers menu on front screen.
For applying textures like in Iris, we have added dedicated texture tool inside the Edit Menu.

d) ColorSense has been split into two separate tools:”ColorSplash” and “Replace Color” and can befound inside “Edit” Menu.

e) Text tool is now replaced with Annotation tool. Located at edit->annotation.

f) Filters: Vintage, Grunge, and LoFi textures have been consolidated into Vintage filters in Laminar.
Grunge Frames have been added as part of the Frames/Borders in Laminar.

g) Undo/Redo now supports unlimited states, unlike limitation of 10 in Iris. Undo, can be performed by swiping left on main screen & Redo can be performed by swiping right. Also. we have added history tool for visual representation of the changes.


====Why the shift to Laminar ? ====
We undertook change to Laminar, because we realized if we aggregated the feature requests/fixes for Iris, it would have resulted in something similar to what we offer today. From small preview sizes, to fact of not being able to rotate text, Color Picker, Ability to add multiple layers and masks, etc. Reason why we posted this as an update, is to ensure it was a free upgrade for all the users.

====Express vs Pro?====
Express version was only to suggest that its’ for iPhone. Feature wise, the only difference between Express version, and Pro is the device compatibility. UI on iPad is completely different, and offers more robust workflow, which plans to change even more with the next 2.0 update. In no way the update was meant to downgrade the existing users of Iris.