Apple implemented our concept of ‘Live Photos’ and did a much better job.

Apple keynote time! Excited as always I enjoy watching the new features of the iPhone 6s being shown off to the world. Taptic feedback, 3D touch, live photos, … wait what? I paused for a second, I stared at the screen and saw these little images come to life. Fun pictures that capture context, sound and all those tiny little details you forget about over time. I have always been fascinated by capturing memories in new and exciting ways and last year we built a similar concept to that of the newly introduced Live Photos and it was called Smile.

The Smile app as found in the app store

It was January of 2014. Bert and myself had been working together for quite some time and we both enjoyed the creative process. It felt rather natural to do some fun projects together and after some experimental concepts we found ourselves stuck with this idea, turning pictures to life …

We talked about how great it would be to capture the missing parts of a photograph. The song that was playing in the background, capturing an authentic atmosphere, being able to capture tiny little details. We were thrilled about every aspect and discussed it until late hours.

We were thrilled about turning pictures to life

Once we agreed on our MVP, we literally didn’t stop coding for an entire month. Long hours, after work, weekends, pitching, coding, iterating. But all the hard work payed off! We got accepted into the KBC Start-it accelerator. It was a great place to work, pitch and eat pizza. We really learnt a lot during those couple of months and got some great advice from the wonderful people at the Corda Incubator.

We built a social platform to share ‘Live Photos’ and this is what a ‘Smile’, as we called it, looked like:

An adorable Smile of Bert’s little girl —

So we built an app and it needed some traction, honestly, we thought this was the easy part (I know, we were really naive). We released to the App Store in June of 2014 and guess what … nothing happened. That was the beginning of the end, slowly but surely we both started losing interest and very silently Smile died. RIP.

Until now! In case you haven’t heard Apple introduced a nifty feature in it’s native camera app called ‘Live photos’. It uses some of the basic concepts we were trying to push into the world with Smile and to be honest, they did a much better job then we ever could have done. It looks very natural and seems simple to use, as it should be.


You must be wondering how it feels to see a concept you worked so very hard on end up as a native feature in an Apple product. Honestly, it doesn’t feel that bad, besides from not being a part of the actual implementation, we really feel that capturing a memory like this feels very natural and that’s what matters most.

In case you still want to check out Smile, go right ahead —
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