Photo Stream: Apple Photo Sharing Service Revealed?

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Is Apple planning some sort of social photo sharing application in the next version of iOS?

The team at 9to5 Mac have uncovered evidence of something new called Photo Stream.

Does the name sound familiar? It might well do, if you’ve been using a Mac for a while. Years ago, Apple created a system called Photocast, built into its iPhoto application.

The idea was that you could throw any photos you like into a special Photocast list inside iPhoto, and let your friends and family subscribe to it. Every time they opened their copies of iPhoto, they’d see your new updates.

It sounded pretty cool when announced, but it was one of Apple’s rare flops, and simply didn’t catch on.

Fast forward a few years, and now we have the astounding success of the iPod, iPhone and iPad – all of which now come with cameras. It’s not like social photo apps are niche products. Ask the guys at Instagram, or Color. People love sharing photos. These apps make it easy.

Photography is a much bigger deal for Apple customers now, and Apple needs to come up with clever ways of making the most of that. Photo Stream might be the answer – if Apple can make people love it. Its Ping! service for iTunes hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. But maybe it has learned enough lessons from that to make a photo sharing service work better.