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When Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom first received funding for their ‘Burbn’ project, I don’t think they could have imagined the rollercoaster ride they were about to embark on which led them to changing the name of their project to Instagram, launching in the iPhone App Store in 2010 and quickly becoming the proud parents of one of the most loved and used applications around today.

The last figures which were released had the Instagram network with over ten million registered users who had uploaded and shared more than one hundred and fifty million photographs through the application. So just what makes the Instagram application so popular? Well, first and foremost, the iOS user base has clearly taken the application into their hearts and made it a huge success which it is today. With an Android version on the way, it is likely that the popularity will grow even further when the user base expands across different platforms.

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The fact that the Instagram application offers a core feature set and executes those features perfectly through extreme simplicity also adds to the app’s popularity. Burbn Inc. have taken the opportunity this evening to push out the latest update to the Instagram app which takes it to version 2.1 and is live in the App Store as we speak for users to update to. The latest update offers a blend of new features and additions mixed with improvement upgrades to the existing functionality.

Although I don’t share the opinion personally, one of the main complaints I have heard about previous versions of Instagram relates to the rather stale UI which people believed was in need of a change. Well, that change has come in version 2.1 with an extremely simplified and improved design. The application still follows the tried and tested tab bar navigation setup but the trappable buttons which navigate through the various sections have been altered and replaced with a new understated set of graphics.

The already extensive filters which were available to enhance the user’s photographs have received a new addition in the ‘Sierra‘ filter which adds a new dimension for users. The developers have also included an entirely new way of enhancing photographs with the addition of the ‘Lux’ button in the bottom left hand corner of the photo editing view. When tapped, the Lux option seem s to visibly sharpen the photograph and makes it immediately more vivid to the eye.

Improvements have been made to the user profile section, with users now able to change their profile picture from within the profile page. The official release notes for version 2.1 of the Instagram application read as follows:

    • [NEW] Lux: a new way to enhance your photos.
    • [NEW] Simplified and improved design.
    • [NEW] New filter: Sierra
    • [IMPROVED] Change your profile picture from within the profile page.
    • [IMPROVED] Tap on push notifications to go straight to the photo.

Version 2.1 of the Instragram application for iPhone and iPod touch is available for upgrade in the App Store now, or alternatively, if you are yet to try Instagram you can download it now for a very amazing price of free.

Download Instagram for iPhone and iPod touch [iTunes link]

Be sure to check out our iPhone Apps Gallery and iPad Apps Gallery to explore more apps for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

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