The Device: iPhone
The Price: Free
The Basics: There is no such thing as a new idea in the app world. Everything has been done at least once (usually about ten times, if you want to be completely honest), so it’s not so important that you think up a great idea, it’s important that you think up a way to refine and perfect an existing concept. In today’s App Spotlight, I’m going to take a look at two apps that, on the surface, appear to do the exact same thing: create instant GIFs by taking a series of pictures and stringing them together. It’s a great idea and it’s the exact kind of thing that has the potential to catch on with smartphone users. But like the Highlander, there can be only one! Which of these two apps takes this golden idea further?
The Examination: Well, I can answer that question immediately and directly: although Jittergram certainly gets the job done, Gifture is the more successful app in every way.
Jittergram is only interested in letting you create a GIF. That’s it. On that level, it succeeds. Opening the app takes you directly to camera viewfinder mode…no fancy titles or graphics welcoming you to the app or anything like that. It’s simple, direct and to the point. In its own way, it’s pretty admirable, actually: no points for presentation, but plenty of points for Getting Straight To The Point. From there on out, it’s simple enough. You take a picture and camera immediately resets itself. In the apps’ best touch, the image you just remains a transparent overlay on the screen, letting you line up your next shot and make any changes you want with incredible ease (it’s a touch that Gifture should really considering putting in a future update). Once you’ve taken your second shot, your images are strung together and you have yourself a GIF. And that’s all that Jittergram offers and that may be enough for some smartphone users.
Gifture, though, is on a whole other level…and yep, it does have a fancy loading screen and a menu. Instagram users will instantly be familiar with the layout and format (if you’re going to borrow, you’d better borrow from the best!). Once you’ve set up your profile, your main page will display your GIFs as well as the GIFs of people you follow. Naturally, there’s also a “Most Popular” tab, but that page consists mostly of attractive girls GIF-ing themselves (get your mind out of the gutter, you know what I mean). Still, the social network aspects of Gifture are an excellent touch and should Gifture catch on in a big way anytime soon — and there is absolutely no way that it shouldn’t — it will be a great deal of fun to share GIFs with your friends and family.
The depth of Gifture goes far beyond the sharing, though. Unlike Jittergram, which only lets you take those three pictures, Gifture gives you an insane level of control over your GIF. You can take up to twenty pictures with Gifture, letting you create GIFS that actually function as tiny short films or montages (fans of stop-motion are going to adore this app). After that, you are taken through a series of screens where you can adjust the number of frames-per-second spent on each image in your GIF from 1-10 and add Instagram-esque color filters to the final product. It’s the kind of customization that gives you total control of what your producing and sharing with the world. In short: it’s awesome.
Strangely, both apps had a similar issue with freezing and locking up during my time spent with them, but Rocksauce’s John Gholson (who told about about Gifture in the first place) told me that he’s never had a problem with that. Still, those were the hiccups in my experience with both apps, but I couldn’t pinpoint the cause for either of them.
Is it unfair to directly compare these two apps? Maybe. One has small ambitions and the other has huge ambitions. One appears to be working from a small budget and the other, well, not from a small budget. However, it’s an important lesson to learn: in the world of apps, your idea is always going to already exist. You just have to make sure that your take on the idea is the absolute best.
The Final Grades: