This has been rumored for years, that Apple will reinvent photography — which in part the company has already succeeded in. Look how the iPhone changed photography and the way we take and use pictures. Every day, more photos are taken with an iPhone than any other camera. But iPhoneography is still one big compromise. Snaps yes, but quality images only under strictly controlled conditions. Is this about to change? Just imagine a sleek, minimalist, Apple-designed camera reduced to photography’s core functionalities — packed into a body crafted by Jonathan Ive. According to sources this might become reality, even though rather later than sooner.
In its “New iPad Buyers Guide,” iLounge writes:
Take special note of pages 152 and 153 — “Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera.” I’ll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I’ll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn’t feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it’s therefore billed as speculation. Still, there’s enough smoke to make us think there’s a fire.
Rest assured any standalone Apple camera would deliver. The company knows no half measures. What it does, it does in perfection.
Naysayers and smartasses will have lots of reasons to feed on again, but remember mobile phone maker Palm? Ed Colligan, CEO of smartphone pioneer Palm, in 2006 laughed off the iPhone: “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
I still got a Treo 660 in a drawer somewhere. Despite its age and a drop into the sea, it’s working perfectly well. But look where Palm is today. Swallowed up by HP in 2011, they’re de facto bankrupt. Now with Apple possibly entering the more serious digital imaging market, the established names better watch out.
In Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder was quoted as saying that his desires for the future involved the reinvention of three industries: television, textbooks, and photography.
In fact, Isaacson told the New York Times:
He had three things that he wanted to reinvent: the television, textbooks and photography. He really wanted to take these on. I didn’t go into details about these products in the book because it was implicitly Apple’s creations and it’s not fair to the company to reveal these details.
The book Inside Apple furthermore reveals Jobs had made it known before his death he was interested in meeting with Lytro CEO Ren Ng about the possibilities of light-field capture technology, the so-called plenoptic camera, in iPhones.
Ren Ng, a brilliant PhD computer scientist from Stanford, was as excited as Steve Jobs. They met, they talked, they made plans.
With Apple’s iBooks Textbooks initiative for the iPad underway and the company reportedly working on television from both hardware and content sides, it has been unclear exactly what Jobs and Apple might have had in the works to address photography.
Isaacson’s biography notes that Jobs had met with Ren Ng, although it is unclear how much direct interest Jobs and Apple had in Lytro’s technology. Furthermore, in 2012 Apple’s Phil Schiller confirmed that the company “considered making a camera or a car.”
For now it’s just rumors. Don’t expect any Apple camera to be introduced until after the long-rumored Apple television set makes its debut. But Apple has shown strong interest in photography. And lest we forget:
Apple invented desktop and reinvented mobile computing. Apple revolutionized the access to and enjoyment of music. Apple revolutionized the phone and shook up the digital camera industry.