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'Hack' allows first-gen iPad owners to install iPhoto (hands-on video)

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Owners of the original iPad can install iPhoto for iOS, normally unavailable to the device, using Apple's own iPhone Configuration Utility.

iPhoto iPad
iPhoto iPad

When iPhoto arrived on iOS earlier this week, the fact that it wasn't compatible with Apple's first-generation iPad didn't cause much of a stir. After all, this isn't the only time the original hardware — now almost two years old — has been excluded from receiving the latest software out of Cupertino. iMovie for iOS initially shipped for the iPhone 4 before expanding to the iPod touch and later, you guessed it, iPad 2.

Back then, some gumptious individuals found a way to muscle the app onto the first iPad model by utilizing Apple's own iPhone Configuration Utility (Mac / Windows). By design, the app is intended to allow enterprise customers and businesses to customize iOS hardware with relevant email accounts, security, and so forth (much like the Apple Configurator app now in the Mac App Store). Crucially, iPhone Configuration Utility also lets administrators install applications from the iOS App Store on these devices; even those deemed incompatible according to iTunes can be enabled for use through the utility.

As luck would have it, the very same trick now works for iPhoto. We've loaded up our own first-gen iPad with the app and put it through the paces. Our takeaway? iPhoto running on the original iPad is perfectly usable, and we're thoroughly bummed that Apple isn't allowing users to install it. Scrolling and zooming are just as smooth as you'd hope, and that impressive performance extends to new swiping gestures that adjust things like color saturation. Even better, we were pleseantly surprised to see the iPad handle the new brush tools with aplomb. About the only areas where the hardware seemed to struggle were when we used either the white balance magnifying glass or sought to change black / color levels within a photo. Noticeable lag cropped up in both cases, but it wasn't anything that ruined the experience. On that note, some will inevitably say that Apple doesn't put up with such slowdowns. Clearly these folks haven't used iOS 5 on the original iPad. Doing so has become an exercise in patience, albeit one notably improved with the freshly-released 5.1 OS update.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned "hack" mentioned above (and detailed at AppAdvice) isn't what we'd call practical. That's because should you attempt an iTunes sync with iPhoto installed, you'll be met with a message warning that your computer is no longer authorized for use with certain apps on your iPad. There's no way around the prompt other than to delete iPhoto if you have any hopes of transferring new music or videos onto your device again. Sure, you could go through the process again after each sync session, but even we don't have that kind of dedication.

By all accounts, the new iPad is an incredible piece of technology, but it's still a shame that Apple has opted not to squeeze a bit more longevity out of the original model by making it compatible with iPhoto. The evidence we've seen suggests the hardware is perfectly capable. Hit the video below to see for yourself.