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Apple's WWDC photo ops

At WWDC, Apple announced cloud-based photo syncing and new camera-friendly features for the iPhone.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple demos iCloud photo-stream

At the Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple announced some enhancements to the camera app as part of iOS 5 as well as its cloud-based tools for photo synching across devices. This was after stressing that the iPhone 4 is growing to overtake the Nikon D90 as the most popular source of uploaded photos on Flickr.

Most interestingly, Apple stole a leaf from Taptaptap's book; you'll be able to use the volume-up button on the iPhone to snap photos, something Apple rejected that developer's VolumeSnap app for doing last August.

iOS 5 will make the camera a lot faster to get to, as well, via an icon to the right of the unlock slider. It will load even if you have a password set. I sense a lot of pocket photos in the iPhone's future. Other controls include grid lines, pinch to zoom (digital), and touch-scrolling for exposure compensation. If you have the iPhoto app, you can pass the photos through for one-click enhancement.

The iOS 5 update will be available in the fall and compatible with the iPhone 3GS.

Donald Bell/CNET

It also looks as if Apple is encroaching on Eye-Fi's territory with its free iCloud-based Photo Stream services. Basically, Photo Stream works via the Photo Roll app to upload your photos to Apple's servers, where they're redistributed to your Apple devices--such as iPad or AppleTV--via the relevant photo app. It applies not only to iDevice photos, but to any photos imported with Photo Roll. It will only sync via Wi-Fi, so as not to suck up your 3G bandwidth or battery life.

Note that it's not a sharing service--a photo will only be stored for 30 days (on iOS it will store the last 1,000 photos). However, I can't imagine that Apple won't find some way to morph it into subscription plans for long-term storage. Also, while Apple didn't talk about links with third parties (think syncing with Flickr), that's the point of preaching to the developers at WWDC. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

We'll have more details on all of this as the software becomes available, natch.