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iOS-powered smart camera coming?

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iOS-powered smart camera coming?
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Join Date: Jun 2006
2012-09-01, 08:07

Samsung has just announced Android-powered Smart Camera, so it's very likely Apple has something similar in the pipeline?

Think about that, photo stream, iCloud, iPhoto, etc. Very likely I'd say!

iPod is kind of yesterday, the next big thing from Apple could possibly be smart cameras.
Join Date: May 2004
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2012-09-01, 08:38

Nah. Too specialized for Apple's hardware interests.
Mr. Katan
Join Date: May 2004
2012-09-01, 09:17

Hmmm...interesting. For all the reasons I see this not happening, I can think of just as many why it could.

The pieces all exist...wifi, iCloud, PhotoStream, solid iOS camera app, a good camera/optics already in existence, iPhoto for iOS, GPS/location services, etc.

But it's tough to imagine them breaking that out and not having all the other stuff that goes with an iPhone or iPod touch.

Would they venture into such a crowded market with a dedicated, standalone device? My gut says no...but one could lose their shirt betting against Apple the past few years.

As good as their stuff is in current form, adding things like true optical zoom, options for more storage (SD card slot so you're not locked into one size the entire time you own it), plus all the above things that are already present in this iOS cameras/software could be an appealing thing to some.

I just wonder if there would be enough of a market of people who don't already own a "good enough" iPhone 4/4s camera who'd go with one from Apple, vs. the traditional outfits?

Then again, a true modern-day digital camera sprinkled with Apple/iOS goodness could indeed be quite a draw.

Current digital cameras aren't anything special beyond their picture-taking capability. If Apple could somehow match or exceed that, and then add all the onboard retouching/correction, instant sharing/uploading (have built-in Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. share sheets), location tagging, etc. that makes using the iPhone's camera so nice...


And I suppose, as with the iPad, they could offer (or include) a pay-as-you-need/cancel anytime LTE option to fully take advantage of these capabilities (instant sharing/uploading/emailing), with LTE rolling out more in the coming year(s).

Like the music player and cell phone markets, it is an area that isn't known for its simplicity or user-friendliness. Apple being Apple, they could bring all they have to this field (new auto-detection software, "smart" scene setting, the whole "tap to focus/balance" thing, etc.).

All the regular people I know (as opposed to serious, knowledgeable photographers who are going to always buy the nicer, higher-end gear and actually know how to use it) never use anything beyond the "Auto" setting on their consumer-level point-and-shoots...and it shows. If Apple could simplify all that, and somehow make it fun, and basically make it "impossible for someone to take a bad picture" (and then enjoy a bunch of features and capabilities not available on any regular digital camera), yeah...that could be something. Have everything touchable, with instant and easy-to-understand "situation settings" (sunlight, low light, cloudy day, indoors, nighttime, activity/motion, etc.) that anyone can figure out and understand.

The notion of Apple doing to the digital camera industry what they've done to music and the cellular ones is interesting.

Priced right and marketed/presented correctly (and given a suitably catchy, Applefied name - iSnap? iClick? iPic? - it could indeed be someone's dream camera.

The few times I've used a digital camera in recent years, it's so frustrating because I can't do anything with the results...can't fix anything, can't share the results, etc. I've gotten so spoiled with my iOS camera experiences, that using a normal "dumb" camera just seems like an aggravating step backwards in many ways.

It wouldn't surprise me - with their focus, and popularity, in the handheld, non-Mac market - that they could pull it off. There's really no reason they can't, as all the parts currently exist (and things that are currently lacking - optical zoom and whatever else a dedicated camera typically has over a cell phone cam - would be addressed).

The question, I suppose, isn't "could they do it?" (yes), but, rather, "would they do it?".

We've heard from both Jobs and Cook that they're as proud of the things they haven't done (and the good ideas they've said "no" to) to focus on a limited number "great things".

It comes down to how they'd view such a product. They might agree with everything I wrote above as for the reasons why they could...but if they decide it's not an area they want to wade into, despite how much sense it might make, that'll be one of those things they say "no" to.

FWIW, my gut says "no". I don't think they want to break one feature out from their existing products. I bet they'd rather continue making the cameras in their iOS devices better, and having it be part of a bigger, more complete package. That's just my honest take in it, despite all my above reasons for how it could be welcome and cool.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2012-09-01 at 09:33.
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Join Date: Dec 2005
2012-09-01, 09:18

Yet apple and Steve jobs are known to have been working on one.

Doubt it will ever see the light of day but who knows
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: At home
2012-09-01, 10:12

I think we're to the point where iPhones takes good enough pictures for most of all. People who wants more will be heading to a DSLR or another prosumer product. I don't think there's a big market there. Plus, as iPhone versions are released each year, the quality of pictures will still getting better and better making a standalone camera pointless. I'm sure we'll see optical zooms in iPhones not too far down the road.

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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
2012-09-01, 10:20

Originally Posted by dmegatool View Post
I'm sure we'll see optical zooms in iPhones not too far down the road.
Now that would be wicked sweet! Though, I have my doubts about using moving parts in an iPhone since it would probably be the cause of too many visits to the repair shop.
Mr. Katan
Join Date: May 2004
2012-09-01, 11:12

True, on both (it would be nice, but I'm afraid it might cause me to baby the phone too much). Right now I don't worry about things like that.

And I agree that the iPhone holds its own with many of the consumer-level point-and-shoots. Not in every single way, but certainly close enough for regular folks. Plus, when you add in all the things an iPhone or iPod touch allows once you've taken some photos, it all kinda evens out IMO.

My iPhone 4 (soon to be upgraded to something two generations better) has been perfect for me. Everything in my iPhoto library for the past two years has come solely from it...that's a ton of events, travels, parties, adventures, time with friends and family, etc. Nothing has turned out so bad or unusable that I wish I'd had a "real camera". I can't see me ever buying a standalone camera again, honestly.

So even if Apple did this, I wouldn't want something else to carry around, take care of, sync, charge, update, etc. I prefer the "Swiss army knife" aspect of my phone...a single "does many things really well" device, vs. an additional "does one thing great (but probably not in any way my amateur eyes would notice or appreciate enough to justify owning)" product to deal with. YMMV.

I'm perfectly willing to give up optical zoom and whatever else the iPhone may lack, camera-wise, for all the other things I can do with it.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2012-09-01 at 11:30.
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Join Date: Jan 2005
2012-09-01, 18:16

So we're basically talking an iPod touch, only with a better camera, plus LTE data? If you add in the LTE radios and its a compact device, you basically already have a better iPhone.

Maybe it's a high-end extension to the iPhone line that is somewhat thicker, but has the picture quality of a mainstream ($200 or so) Canon or Nikon P&S. Sold starting at $299, 16GB (64GB for $399). Alternatively, the plain old iPhone (flagship model) starts at $99 for 16GB, or 32GB at $199, with the iPhone 4S free.

Tim Cook has talked about not leaving price umbrellas... Short of engaging in those "buy 1.5, get 3" deals, this might be a way to do that--provide a solid, current iPhone experience at $99, while also providing incentives to purchase higher-priced models.
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