Lots to talk about in this post. We have a new companion app for Home Inventory that runs on your iPhone/iPod Touch, an new update to Home Inventory to go along with it, and I also want to talk a little bit about the iPhone version of Home Inventory. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Home Inventory Photo Remote

Today we released an app for the iPhone and camera-enabled iPod Touch called Home Inventory Photo Remote. This free app is available now in the App Store.

Photo Remote connects to Home Inventory on your Mac using your Wi-Fi network and allows you to use the camera in your iPhone/iPod Touch to add photos to items without having to drag your camera back to your Mac and manually import them. Simply touch the name of an item in your inventory and up pops your iPhone’s camera interface. Take a photo and, if you approve it, it is sent to Home Inventory over your Wi-Fi network and added to the item. It’s real simple to use and a fast way to add photos to your inventory.

You can also use Home Inventory Photo Remote to add new items, categories, collections, and locations to your inventory. You can fill in the details, such as warranty information, serial numbers, etc., later when you’re back at your Mac. In testing the software, we’ve found it to be an incredibly fast and efficient way to build out your inventory.

You can find out more about the Photo Remote app on the Home Inventory Photo Remote webpage. You will need the latest update to Home Inventory, version 2.3, to use Home Inventory Photo Remote. Being the first release of a new app, there is certainly a lot of room to grow here. We have some pretty definitive ideas on what we want to add to the Photo Remote app over the next couple of updates, but, as always, it is your feedback that sets the direction. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Home Inventory 2.3 Update

We’ve also released version 2.3 of Home Inventory. This is a free update for existing customers of Home Inventory 2. If you purchased Home Inventory directly from us or through a third party promotion (such as MacUpdate Promo or MacZOT), you can download the update now. If you purchased Home Inventory through the Mac App Store, you’ll have to a wait a few more days. We’ve submitted the update to the Mac App Store, but it is still winding its way through Apple’s review process. Once it gets approved, you’ll be able to download the update from the Mac App Store client.

Version 2.3 of Home Inventory brings with it several highly requested features. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Take photos of your items and create new items, locations, categories, and collections without having to be in front of your Mac using our FREE Home Inventory Photo Remote app for the iPhone and camera-enabled iPod Touch.
  • A new auto-save option (enabled by default) that automatically saves changes to your inventory as they are made. Note: There are some users who prefer to manually save their data. If prefer that method, you can turn off the auto-save feature in the preferences panel.
  • A new warranty analysis report that lets you know which items are no longer under warranty coverage and when existing warranty coverage will expire.
  • Reports now use a smaller font and less spacing so they require fewer pages to print.
  • Faster, more efficient Save Report feature.
  • Adding file attachments now takes up less space in your inventory file.
  • Dramatically more efficient memory usage.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Home Inventory to hang when importing items from an improperly formatted CSV file.
  • Fixed a bug with the duplicate item feature that caused duplicated items that were a part of a collection to show up when they should not if the Only show collected items when viewing by collection preference was checked.

Home Inventory iPhone App

We’ve had a lot of requests for an iPhone version of Home Inventory and started building it at the end of last summer. The app is nearly complete, with the exception of syncing with the Mac version and reporting. But, after spending a lot of time with it, I question the usefulness of a full-feature home inventory management app on such a small device. Data entry is T-E-D-I-O-U-S! I mean awfully painful. Mapping out items and locations and taking photos while wandering around your home with your iPhone is great (Did you catch the mention of our Home Inventory Photo Remote app above? Just checkin’), but I would never, ever want to have to build a detailed inventory with warranty informations, notes, and all that other goodness on an iPhone. This is largely due to user interface concessions that have to be made due to the small screen size of the iPhone. Typing in a bunch of information using the on-screen keyboard is no day at the beach, either.

Our experience using the development builds of Home Inventory on the iPhone, as well as trying out competing iPhone apps, is part of what led us to do the Photo Remote app. The Home Inventory Photo Remote app takes the best parts of using an iPhone to create an inventory (wandering around your home adding photos and building out your item, location, category, and collection lists) and leaves the rest behind.

From the conversations I have had with several of those who wrote in to request an iPhone version of Home Inventory, it appears the Photo Remote app fulfills the primary need behind wanting an iPhone app. The second most popular reason, which I’ll keep to myself for now, is going to be coming to the next update of the Home Inventory Photo Remote.

If it sounds like we’re abandoning the idea of releasing a full version of Home Inventory for the iPhone, it isn’t. But we are considering it. As a small, husband and wife run company, we have to be very careful about how we expend our resources. A full-featured version of Home Inventory on the iPhone is no less complicated to develop and maintain than the Mac version. Also,  the sync dependency between the two increases that complexity and means that future feature additions must be made in unison for both (in fact, the iPhone version already has several features that are not in the Mac version, but will be coming in the next two updates). This obviously slows down the pace of future enhancements. It has also meant that we have had to put a hold on finishing up a couple of non Home Inventory related iPad apps that we would like to get out to diversify our product line.

So here’s the question I want to put out to everyone: Do you think a full-featured version of Home Inventory on the iPhone would be useful to you? If so, what do you plan on using it for? Or maybe it is better to ask, how would you use it? This is important, because we are planning on adding some pretty significant features to the Photo Remote app in the future and they may cover what you need. Head on over to the contact page if you want to weigh in. I look forward to seeing your comments on this and, as always, we will go in the direction our customers want.


Kevin Hamilton
Co-owner and Chief Barista