After getting schooled by Nate on the Photosynth app, I started to wonder, "if Microsoft has something this cool, what else is out there?..." Minutes later, I found TourWrist: this pano app just took home a "Best of Show at Macworld's iWorld". So, if you liked 360 Panorama or Photosynth, you've got to check out TourWrist.
From Apple's AppStore:
With TourWrist®, iOS devices become portals. So when you point your device up, you’ll truly appreciate a new property’s grand staircase. Turning around will give you the full stadium seating experience. And looking down will reveal just how much leg space a vehicle has to offer. You can also view "tours" through our intuitive, touch-based controls. Check out travel destinations one minute, hotels and restaurants the next, or even look inside new homes. PLUS, the iPhone app now includes an integrated panoramic photography feature, meaning you can shoot and share in just seconds! With powerful creation, search, sort and sharing tools, TourWrist® gives you the power to travel, remotely.
What is unique about TourWrist is that the tour moves as you do, using the iPhone's gyroscope. It is a bit difficult to explain, but watching the YouTube video may help to better understand.
The app allows you to navigate the panorama not only with the standard finger swipe, but also by moving your device. While it might not sound like a big difference, the experience is pretty cool, and incorporates a level of augmented reality which no other pano app I've used has.
This app has HUGE potential, not only for commercial real estate sales and leasing, but even more at the B-to-C level, particularly for hotel/resort and apartment operators.
There is no reason every hotel and apartment property in the U.S. shouldn't have a virtual tour of their standard suite or model unit within the next 12 months.
What is even better, is that the folks at TourWrist have identified this potential and are selling into it; something which neither 360 Panorama nor Photosynth appear to be doing.
TourWrist is now the sole Approved Supplier of virtual tours for RE/MAX. Virtual home tours are nothing new for residential real estate, but TourWrist helps agents reduce the production cost of this type of media, while, at the same time, improving on quality, portability and accessibility.
These guys are even forward thinking enough to have already created a listing page for their network of TourWrist pros, should you want to hire one.
How does TourWrist compare to Photosynth?
I will say, I got the hang of shooting panos with Photosynth a bit quicker than TourWrist; and Photosynth does save the tour to your camera roll, so that you can preview it immediately. With TourWrist you have publish it to their site and wait 10 or so minutes before you can view it.
Also, in order to shoot a full spherical tour, you'll need a fish eye camera lens for your iPhone; without this special lens you'll only be able to shoot cylindrical tour. Photosynth allows for the creation of spherical tours without this extra equipment.
In the end, each app has its own unique benefits, but how TourWrist has packaged their product is extremely well thought out and appears to have a real estate centric approach. For this reason, I'm betting you'll begin to see more of this app in 2012.
Post updated February 8th, 2011 reflecting Dan's comments further below.