Nolobe (the latest incarnation of Stairways Software, best known for Interarchy, a.k.a. Anarchy, the excellent Mac FTP client) has just taken the wraps off Iris, its entry into the “cheap Core Image-based Photoshop wannabe” arena, where Acorn is currently standing with its foot on the chest of Pixelmator, gladius to its throat, waiting for the crowd to give a signal…

You can get a copy of the free beta here.

So far, color me unimpressed. I can forgive obvious missing features (e.g. Curves) and unimplemented features (e.g. Levels), especially in a beta, but the text tool is like MacPaint (it burns pixels into the current layer) … WTF? I have no clue why Iris requires Leopard.

Iris seems to me to be a graphics program written by a programmer who not only isn’t an artist, but doesn’t know any artists. Ugly tool icons are a very bad sign.

I hope I’m wrong. Competition in this space is a very good thing. Time for me to do more work on Pixel Ninja.