In Frontpage Featured Content, Mobile, News

Why this phone will disrupt the mobile imaging ecosystem

Guest editorial by:
Floris van Eck, Technology Strategist, Crack the Future

Key takeaways:

  • Apple has launched the iPhone X as a showcase for the direction in which the mobile and imaging industries could be heading;
  • The iPhone X’s high price will limit its audience, but its features will trickle down in the coming years. At the same time, the developer ecosystem gets a head start on building new apps for consumers to create enticing content, which is often the bottleneck for the adoption of new technologies;
  • The 3D revolution is now in full-swing; many of the new iOS features (Clips, Animoji, Face ID, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting) rely on 3D;
  • Depth-imaging is the key differentiator for Apple’s flagship smartphones: the 5.5″ iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus, as well as the 5.8″ iPhone X, now all feature two rear-facing depth cameras; the X also has one front-facing depth camera;
  • Communication is about to become more human, allowing us to express ourselves through Animoji, emoji that mimic our full range of facial expressions;
  • Face Unlock (Face ID) debuts in the Apple ecosystem, showcasing impressive underlying 3D- and AI-based technologies;
  • The iPhone X will be the best device for mobile AR on the market, demonstrating what’s in store for the average consumer – this is the primary intent behind the release of this phone, as was the case with Google’s early adopter-focused Tango platform;
  • Indicative of the importance of the other announcements listed here, the news that the new iPhone supports optical image stabilization on both of its rear-cameras – normally one of the highlights in an Apple keynote – was now a mere footnote!

Finally, the iPhone X

After months of speculation, on Wednesday Apple unveiled its new flagship phone, the iPhone X. This new addition to the Apple family marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the device that changed the world at a scale and in a time span, no one, not even Steve Jobs, could have foreseen.
What makes the iPhone X unique isn’t its design (I am personally of the opinion that Apple’s design has been uninspired for years), or even its massively immersive 5.8″ OLED screen – it is the machine learning, depth imaging sensors and processors that set it apart and justify the phone’s $999 entry price point. The iPhone X is a groundbreaking device that gives us a window into the future of mobile imaging.
The media has already compared the iPhone X to a concept car, a comparison that neither holds up nor does justice to Apple’s achievement. A concept car shows us a future that we won’t be able to enjoy for the foreseeable future, if ever. The iPhone X’s future is November 3, when the phone goes on sale.

Visual communication – wasn’t that the domain of camera makers?

The future of the smartphone lies in capturing and communicating the full spectrum of emotions associated with human communication. The iPhone X is an important step towards this future. Camera manufacturers woke up to a new reality today (which was years in the making) and should be truly concerned by now. The smartphone already ate the entry level point-and-shoot market and is now dipping its toes into the high-end point-and-shoot and DSLR territories through truly differentiated imaging capabilities that leverage the computing prowess of its maker, the richest and biggest tech company in the world that also happens to excel in design. And you can bet that Google and its ecosystem of Android manufacturers will follow suit with the next generation of Pixel, Galaxy, and other phones.
Computational imaging + full hardware control
[Click here to continue; this in-depth article is too long for this email.]
A few more things…
C+A Global . Polaroid and Kodak brands united in the instant photo printing business: in addition to licensing the Polaroid brand for its instant print cameras, C+A announced a Kodak-branded instant print camera.  Hear more about C+A Global’s instant print camera strategies, as well as its portfolio of other photo businesses, from CEO Chaim Pikarski at Mobile Photo Connect, Oct. 24-25 in San Francisco.
Albelli . Albelli buys ReSnap .  Auto-curated instant photobooks have a great potential to expand beyond the traditional photobook market. So it is not a complete surprise that Dutch photobook provider Albelli/Albumprinter – in the process of being spun off from VistaPrint/Cimpress themselves – acquires fellow Dutch company ReSnap.
Lightricks . After Facetune, Enlight and Enlight Photofox, Lightricks is at it again with Quickshot, leveraging Lightrick’s imaging expertise through a camera app – and yes, another subscription-based app! Here more about the latest and greatest Lightricks apps at Mobile Photo Connect, Oct. 24-25 in San Francisco, when co-founder Itai Tsiddon will participate in a special fireside chat session!

Mobile Photo ConnectIt’s 40 days until the conference, Oct. 24 -25 in San Francisco, and time to buy your ticket!  (and equally important, to book your hotel if you’re from out of town).

New media sponsor: Future Source Consulting
Gold sponsors to date: Fujifilm, Upthere, Zink, Kite, Beamr, Kwilt, Adobe, Picanova
Silver sponsors to date: ADS, di support, RPI, TeamFotog, CaptureLife, pwinty, Mitsubishi Electric, Circle Graphics, SanDisk

Hans Hartman
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