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Mobile Apps

Shoot now, view later with 1-Hour Photo for iOS

This anachronistic iPhone photo app makes you wait an hour before you can see the shots you have snapped with it.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

We all spend too much time staring at our phones. Me, you, the guy sitting next you on the train, everybody. So, here's an app that prevents you and me and the guy on the train from immediately poring over the photos we just took on our iPhones.

The free 1-Hour Photo app lets you snap shots but makes you wait an hour before it places them in your Camera Roll, in an attempt to bring back that feeling of anticipation you may have felt -- if you are of a certain age -- of picking up the photos from a roll of film that you took to get developed days before.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Of course, most people under the age of 40 will fail to understand this concept, but because I am on the other side of 40, I kind of like the idea. The developer states that by waiting an hour, "each photo becomes a little present to your future self." I think of the app as a present to your past self, that person who couldn't wait to run down to the FotoMat (really, it was just my local CVS) see how his latest roll of film turned out.

In another move toward the past, 1-Hour Photo shoots only in black-and-white. And although the app doesn't provide any visual feedback in the form of a square or circle, it does allow you to tap on the screen when setting up a shot to select a focus/exposure point. When you have everything lined up, tap the gray shutter-release button to snap the shot. To the right of the button shows you the number of minutes that remain until your next photo is ready, and to the left of the button shows you the number of photos that you have in your processing queue. The app's icon also shows you how many photos its processing via a badge icon.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The next time you'd like to snap a shot or two and prevent yourself from then immediately viewing the results, try 1-Hour Photo. You might find it a refreshing return to the days of yore when you were filled with wonderment at how your photos turned out. And think of all of the things you could do with that hour while you are waiting for your photos to be processed. You could make a mixtape, place a call on a rotary phone, or thumb through your old collection of Garbage Pail Kids cards (that you have stored in either an L.A. Gear shoebox or a Trapper Keeper).