Apple Working On Standalone Point-And-Shoot Digital Camera?

Standalone Point-And-Shoot Digital Camera

In Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs, the Late Apple co-founder was quoted as saying that his desires for the future involved the reinvention of three industries: television, textbooks, and photography.

With iBooks Textbooks initiative for the iPad underway, Apple did something regarding textbooks. There are rumors that Apple is reportedly working on television set from both hardware and content sides. Now the suspense is, what will Apple do as far as photography is concerned.

It has been unclear exactly what Jobs and Apple might have had in the works to address photography. Isaacson’s biography noted that Jobs had met with the CEO of Lytro, creators of an innovative new light field camera system. However, it is not clear how much direct interest Jobs and Apple had in Lytro’s technology.

Earlier this week, iLounge released its comprehensive New iPad Buyers’ Guide. This guide is an overview of accessories, apps and other information associated with the new iPad.

This guide also includes a two-page spread arguing that Apple may be working on a camera product of some sort. According to iLounge, the speculation in the guide was informed by claims from a source, although the information was not considered reliable enough to make concrete assertions at the time.

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.

It appears that iLounge is now becoming more confident in its belief that Apple is working on a standalone camera product. Editor in Chief Jeremy Horwitz recently tweeted where he was reiterating this claim.

So, as briefly noted on Backstage, Apple appears to be working on a standalone camera – the third of three industries Jobs wanted to change.

There are assumptions that any advances by Apple in photography would most likely come via the iPhone because many users are said to be abandoning standalone point-and-shoot cameras for increasingly powerful cameras included on their smartphones. However, iLounge argued that Apple will look to remake the point-and-shoot market with new hardware and software that is not constrained by the limitations of the iPhone.

As much as iPhones (and iPads) have improved in camera technology over the past two years, Apple’s goal is to keep slimming them down, which limits the light-gathering and zoom capabilities of camera sensors and lenses – image quality compromises. A standalone digital camera could accommodate a bigger sensor and integrated zoom lens, which Apple would select as a “satisfies most needs” option rather than offering detachable lenses. Lytro’s minimalist body for the Light Field Camera shows how simple it could get, but Apple would want a much larger screen.

Apple had a partnership with Kodak in the mid-1990s to produce the QuickTake line of digital cameras. However, later the product line was discontinued upon Steve Jobs’ 1997 return to the company as he sought to streamline Apple’s business. Apple has continued to work on camera technology, in large part with its line of accessory and integrated iSight cameras over the years. There has been little evidence of an interest in returning to the standalone digital camera business.

It is difficult to believe this rumor at this point. iLounge does not expect any Apple camera product to be introduced until after the long-rumored Apple television set makes its debut.

Source: Mac Rumors

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