Yours truly in December, 2009:

It’s a per­fect $5 christ­mas gift for your­self, or your iPhone-using-paparazzo friend, yes occa­sional crash still hap­pens and opt­ing in high-res out­put gives you the never-ending wait to snap another around, but you’re in for a dif­fer­ent kind of iPhone-photography game, peo­ple… and this time you might want to stay a lit­tle longer cause dig­i­tal never felt & looked so finely analog.

That was the day before Instagram, when the camera app makers were dipping their toes in the water to find a better revenue stream rather than just the buy-once-use-forever model Apple has set toned since the beginning of the App Store.

It’s a competitive market. Making great apps is no easy, making them popular is harder, and making money out of them is extremely difficult. But the team behind Hipstamatic did it. It has grown from a mere app to a cult movement. Its in-app store carries $2 packs and franchise-sponsored goodies to keep them in the game.

Somehow it’s not enough for them.

They have recently launched a free ‘social’ camera app called Hipstamatic Disposable:

The new Hipstamatic Disposable-series camera makes it a snap to create and share a camera with your friends. From the first snap to the last, everyone shoots to one album, and at the end photos are magically exchanged to all of the camera’s contributors. You’ll never have to swap doubles or email from your friend’s phone again. Sharing a roll of film has never been this much fun.

There’s the pitch: Sharing a roll of film has never been this much fun. What they didn’t tell you up front is that you need to purchase film packs. But unlike Hipstamatic’s this one actually needs a virtual film reload. One that costs. You need to continue to purchase new films when you run out of it, again, and again.

If they think they can get away from this, they’re totally delusional. Nobody will pay for some pseudo-analog app from a device that made them discover the fun of photography. Digital has made photography mainstream, and the iPhone — with its thousands of photo apps — bring out the photographers out of almost everyone, it brings photography to the mass the same way the internet did to information. It made photography affordable and free.

People love Hipstamatic for it is fun. It is honestly good and it connects to the inner photographer in us. It was a great app and each subsequent update has made it better. Financial ambition will only ruin it. If the developers want to be millionaires, go into the games market and invent a new Angry Birds, but if they truly believe something like the Disposable will proof us wrong, they are literally disposable as an app maker.