Instagram's move away from its photographic core has left a spot open for enthusiast-friendly photo-sharing apps like Glass – and now that new contender has brought its glossy, magazine-like experience to iPad.
Glass 2.0 is now available for iPads running iPadOS 14.0 or later, although you'll still need to pay the monthly £4.49 / $ 4.99 or £24.99 / $ 29.99 annual subscription to access it. There's a two-week free trial to give you a taster, though.
As we discovered in our exclusive interview with the makers of Glass, this membership fee is partly a result of the developers' decision to forego venture capital investment, with the aim being to create a sustainable community.
Given what's happened to Instagram, and many other pretenders to its photographic throne, this seems a wise move – and the arrival of an iPad app in particular supports the idea of a photo-centric sharing space.
The larger screen gives you a better view of painstakingly-crafted shots, and many photographers use iPads anyway as part of their in-the-field editing workflow thanks to apps like Lightroom. Strangely, Instagram has never launched a dedicated iPad app and, last year, said that one is unlikely to arrive anytime soon.
Since its launch six months ago, Glass has added new features including categories and 'appreciations' for liking photos, but there's no algorithm running behind it to organize your feed. Instead, you get the chronological feed that Instagram has hinted will be returning to its app in 2022.
The Glass team will also be launching a web-based version of its app, to rival the likes of Flickr, with a beta version expected to arrive in March or April.
Analysis: A pricey but polished Instagram alternative
Our early experience with the Glass iPad app is that it's a little buggy, with the app having a tendency to crash on our iPad Air. But we're sure these wrinkles will be ironed out and the app certainly has potential on the bigger screen of Apple's tablets.
Sadly, there's no Android version in the works just yet, with Glass' maker stating that its focus is currently on launching Glass for Web over the next few months. But if you're an iOS fan and photographer, the free trial is certainly worth a spin.
There is currently a gap between Instagram – which we've previously argued is broken for photographers – and veteran platforms like Flickr, which is big on community but lacks the polish of Glass.
There's no doubt the £4.49 / $ 4.99 monthly or £24.99 / $ 29.99 subscription fee is pretty high and could be off-putting for anyone who's bank balance is currently enduring death by a thousand subscriptions.
But the flip-side is that the ad-free Glass is being developed by a small team of photography enthusiasts who are keen to avoid the bloat and e-commerce traps that have lured Instagram away from its photographic heritage.
- Check our our guide to the best photo editing apps