Is Photo Stream Integration With The Apple TV Poorly Implemented?

| Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

When it comes to doing things right, Apple often manages to knock things out of the park, but Photo Stream on the Apple TV isn’t one of those things. In fact, it’s so poorly implemented that I have to ask if anyone even managed to sit down and think about how people will want to use Photo Stream on the Apple TV before actually shipping the update to the masses.

A year after its original release, Apple has integrated Shared Photo Streams with iOS 6. iOS 6 users can now share particular Photo Streams with people. Friends and family can now comment on photos, and see image updates in almost real time as you share your photos with them. What we don’t get, however, is the ability to create group Photo Streams, where multiple people can add photos to one stream.

For instance, my brother, sister, and I cannot create one family Photo Stream that we all contribute to; instead, my brother has to create a Photo Stream, my sister has to create a Photo Stream, and I have to create a Photo Stream. We all then have to invite people to each of those streams. Not ideal in some situations, but not all that problematic either. But, here’s where things go from manageable to WTFBBQOMFG.

Apple just shipped a new update for the Apple TV. Along with the update came the ability to view shared photo streams directly from the television. Fantastic. Users can now look through all their shared photos if they feel so inclined. Great. So, users can now also set all of their shared photo streams up as a screensaver. Wait, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. That’s not actually possible.

Instead of being able to get all your Photo Streams into a screen saver, you have to choose which Photo Stream you want to set up as your screen saver. Choose wisely, you only get one choice. I can’t have my sister’s and my brother’s streams in my Apple TV screen saver at the same time. Instead, I have to choose one Photo Stream as my screensaver. I have to choose either my brother’s or my sister’s Photo Stream, but certainly not both.

Can someone, please, tell me what the point of that might be? Because from where I’m sitting on my couch, this looks like a glaring omission from Apple. Is it just me, or is this right up there with not being able to delete photos from your Photo Stream?

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