Instagram has yet to officially crossover to any platform other than the iPhone, but that hasn’t stopped third-party developers from trying to fill the gaps. One app that does just that is Mobelux’s Carousel, a new Mac program that brings your Instagram stream to the desktop.
Carousel doesn’t allow you to use photos or take pictures and upload them from your desktop, but it does let you view your stream, view the stream of other Instagram users, and like and comment on individual photos. You can also view existing comments and likes, and see a larger version of images in the stream using the instant preview function built in to OS X.
You can also easily save any photos to your hard drive, copy URLs and view photos in your default browser. Carousel even provides location information when users check-in with the photos they upload to Instagram, and access to the Popular stream of public images as well. In short, Carousel gives you all the functional features you could ask for short of image posting, which is not yet supported by the Instagram API, and therefore not available to third-party developers. Mobelux co-founder Jeff Rock told me that if Instagram decides to allow photo posting, the Carousel team will definitely consider an adding the feature at a later date.
But Carousel doesn’t just do what Instagram does on the Mac in a workmanlike fashion; it actually looks really good doing it, too. The minimal single column interface displays a waterfall of your feeds, and does so using one of four themes (bonus points if you can identify the source of the theme names). The themes are well designed, and all of them look terrific with the old-school polaroid-type photo frames used to display each picture. Carousel also can auto-update with a frequency of your choosing, and display a dock badge and growl notification when new photos come in.
Rock told me that the design was key to Carousel’s creation. The app was created because Mobelux “wanted an elegant solution to view our feeds on the Mac.” He also articulated that it was particularly important that the app “took up a minimal desktop footprint, had character and felt wonderful to use.” It does indeed meet those standards.
Right now, you can download a free trial of Carousel via the Mobelux site. The trial lasts 15 days, and provides unrestricted functionality during that time. Carousel currently costs $4.99 to purchase, but that’s listed as a temporary, half-off introductory price. Mobelux has also announced that Carousel will soon be available through the Mac App Store, and Rock told me that pricing will always be the same no matter where you purchase.
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