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It’s holiday announcement season – it’s hard to keep up but here’s a snapshot of what jumped out last week.

Apple. Now that the noise has died down a bit over the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR announcements, more industry observers start to wonder if there was really that much groundbreaking new on the imaging front. The optics haven’t changed a hack of a lot compared to the iPhone X, with the exception of the pixel pitch increase from 1.22 µm to 1.4 µm, allowing for more details in low lights and shadows. But that didn’t stop Apple calling it “a breakthrough new 12 MP dual camera system.”

A must read on TechCrunchThe 7 most egregious fibs Apple told about the iPhone XS camera. Apple’s claim it offers a larger sensor? Hmm, not really. Apple leading the way with smart HDR? It has been on Google Pixel phones for a while now. Apple an industry leader by connecting the ISP with the neural engine? Has been standard in many cameras for years. And so on…


CNET tackles Apple’s claims from a different angle: what’s missing that you might have expected Apple to deliver by now? Most importantly, 3 rear cameras (at least) and better 3x or 4x optical zoom.

But still… the iPhone X does significantly raise the imaging bar but, ironically, their innovation doesn’t come from the camera optics themselves. It’s rather Apple’s new shiny A12 Bionic chip, which turns the new iPhone into a serious edge computing device with more oomph than many laptops. The neural engine can now do a lot of those things Google does in the cloud – on a device. When it comes to automatic video editing, identification of faces, AR and various types of computational graphics features, we are going to see the power of this new chip.

Instagram. Remember Instagram was just an app to showcase your photos and get valuable feedback from fellow smartphone photographers? From video chatting to direct messaging, Instagram’s features keep creeping and today it’s time for Pinterest to worry: Instagram is adding a personalized Shopping channel and Shopping tags for Instagram Stories.

Mediaclip. Mediaclip announces its Mediaclip Shopify App, enabling Shopify merchants to add product personalization options to their product offering. Mediaclip is a sponsor of Visual 1st.

di support. di support, who will show their innovative PrintCube smartphone printing kiosks at

Visual 1st, announced its first German retail client for its PrintCube product, Bundi.  It also announced a distribution partnership with Tetenal Europe.

Google. Google launches a competition on training machine learning models on more inclusive and geographically diverse images. Yeah, we’re not all white and western-looking!

CIPAThe worldwide digital camera shipments keep dropping. July 2018 dropped 23% year compared to July 2017. Interchangeable lens cameras were down 16%. Will the newly announced mirrorless full frame lenses from Nikon and Canon change the equation? While not necessarily in terms of units, it might boost the revenue numbers to mitigate the long-term decline.

Fujifilm. It’s new camera announcement seasons: Fujifilm announces the 4th generation X Series mirrorless digital camera. It boasts a new sensor, faster processor, a significantly improved autofocus system, and video specs that move it close to best-in-class territory, according to DPReview. (Michael Bulbenko of Fujifilm will participate in our The exploding mix of image capture options: smartphones, digital cameras, and the long tail of cameras paneldiscussion at Visual 1st.)

Taopix & Muvee. Taopix announces an AI-based white label photo commerce software platform that includes both image curation and book layout features. According to the company the resulting book layout then presents images in a book in a way that conveys both logic and emotion. Taopix developed its solution in conjunction with Singapore-based Muvee, one of the Show & Tell presenters this year at Visual 1st.

Profoto. Our friends from lighting manufacturer Profoto announced the B10, the company’s smallest-ever cordless off-camera flash. What’s more, it comes with an iPhone app that not only controls the B10’s lighting settings, but also offers a camera app that lets the user capture the image on their phone to inspect the image taken prior to capturing the image on higher end digital cameras. According to the company, we can anticipate more functionality to be added to both the flash and the app in the not so distant future.

Animoto & Getty ImagesAnimato launched an integration with Getty Images. Now fortified with a searchable library of Getty Images content, Animoto is enhancing its video marketing creation service to businesses who may need additional assets for creating their videos. Getty’s Elodie Mailliet Storm is one this year’s Visual 1st Show & Tell judges.

Blurb & Adobe. Blurb announced new improvements to the Blurb-powered Book Module available in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC v7.5 (for the last 7 years more than 100,000 Lightroom customers have printed nearly one million books through this module, according to Blurb).

Snapchat. UGC now used in Our Stories: More than 20 of Snapchat’s Discover partners will be able to build their own Our Stories content from publicly submitted video and photo Snaps and use them on their Discover channels as well as embed them on their own websites and social channels.

PixFood. Launched in August, this app lets you take pictures of food, identify available ingredients, and, find recipes you can make from your larder. It is not hard to imagine a slew of monetization options for this app if it indeed works as advertised and succeeds in building a sizable user base.

And a few more things …

It’s **33 days** until the Visual 1st conference – it’s time to buy your ticket now! October 22-23, San Francisco.

We welcome 2 new Silver sponsors this week:

Interested in learning more about consumer AR apps, the growing diversity of cameras, today’s consumer photo print output behavior, or the latest video and hybrid video/photo trends?

Check out our 2018 research studies:

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Hans Hartman

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