I Dream the iDream. My iFantasy is yes an iCamera. Seriously. Apple Watch? Whats that gonna solve? Nothin'. But if there ever was a stagnant former mass market tech industry sector just ripe for iRevolution, it is that of the camera industry.
Yesterday I wrote a long blog not about the top smartphones but about the best CAMERAphones in the world today. In it I went through ‘everything’ in painstaking detail with tons of illustrations, about a camera on a phone in its primary use (to take pictures, I didn’t discuss video recording which introduces other needs like recording stereo sound etc). But yes, we examined the pinnacle of camerphone design. And in that long blog I also went into great technical detail in what issues are involved from the sensor to the shutter to the lens and so forth.
UPDATE 13 Feb 2015 - I will just mention briefly, spotted this rare consumer tidbit today: According to Comtech 2014 study, the third most important criterion in consumers buying a phone today is the camera, ahead of screen or battery life, and behind only 4G/LTE connectivity and reliability/durability. So just as an observation here, about was my blog relevant to the industry when I posted it last month haha.. Now please continue reading..
It has been on my mind a lot as that blog was a long project. And as I was editing the blog, suddenly I came upon an idea. I have been to the mountaintop. I have a dream. I have an iDream. So lets fantasize a bit. What if Apple introduced the iCamera?
Lets forget everybody else, probably nobody else could pull this off but consider Apple. How radical iRevolution was the Macintosh into a world of meek personal computers that ran MS DOS at the time? CD Rom drive, mouse, laser printing, hypertext, WYSIWIG from screen to print (gosh, what was the headache with ‘printer codes’ prior to the Mac), the 3.5 inch floppy disk (what our ‘save’ icons are based on BTW, diskettes before the Mac were truly ‘floppy’ flexible disks of 5.25 inch size), and a machine so incredibly easy to use, you never had to take a course on how to operate a computer. It was so easy, it was ‘intuitive’. It seems odd to today’s PC users to learn, that back in the 1980s you had to go take a course on HOW to operate the PC itself. CTRL-ALT-DEL haha the three-fingered salute as we used to call it to reboot the computers that so often crashed. Yes. Every Windows based PC and any other PC on Linux or any other OS today, can trace its origins to that world-shattering iRevolution, the Mac.
Same happened with the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and the iPad. Apple looked at a stagnant portable music player market dominated by the world’s most powerful consumer electronics brand, Sony, with its Walkman. Apple didn’t try to introduce a better portable cassette music player. No, it went huge. A computerized pocket music player with enormous storage capacity for ‘all your music’ and a correspondingly breathtaking pricetag. And what happened. Apple ran away with the portable music player market. Apple revitalized the market, which itself grew massively, and in that new ‘market space’ as Alan Moore and I discuss in the first case study in our book, Communities Dominate Brands (the signature book for this blog) the iPod owned the top price range while many clone providers sold cheaper MP3 players too. It wasn’t until the musicphone showed up in the middle of the past decade (including Sony Walkman branded) that finally broke iPod’s reign (and then ushered in the iPhone as Apple’s counterstrike).
So would it be totally beyond the realm of possibility that Apple launched an iCamera? They reinvented personal computers and created the most expensive PC brand in the process out of the Mac compared to the existing cheap PCs. Apple reinvented portable music players again discovering price levels never imagined. Apple reinvented the music store, the smartphone and the tablet PC. And really, to go to its roots, lets remember that it was Apple who INVENTED the digital camera for consumers. The world’s first consumer camera that was digital, not film-based was the Apple Quicktake 100. And when was this? 21 YEARS ago. So this is not a radical idea for Apple just as how a pocket computer (iPhone) was not, as it is the grandson product from the Newton, Apple’s first PDA ie pocket computer (and why ‘grandson’ because the iPhone is the direct son of the iPod). So in a similar way, if the Quicktake 100 was the grandfather and iPhone is now the dad, why not do the modern mobile-phone connected digital camera - indeed the iCamera - the way only Apple can. And with the total disruption of the camera industry that inevitably follows Apple’s succesful product launches. (Not all Apple products are market successes even with the awesome innovations they may have, we only need look at the Newton which indeed did revolutionize the PDA market but wasn’t a commercial success itself for Apple).
So this Spring Apple is launching the Apple Watch. Apple already knows this isn’t going to be the next big thing. Look how cautious and coy they are about it. Apple has already declared that they will not even reveal how many units of Apple Watches are sold every quarter so they KNOW it will be bad.
The watch industry sells about 1 Billion watches per year but most of those are ten dollar watches from China. The premium watch segment is only modest and the Apple Watch is comprehensively overpriced to play there (against a Seiko or Casio or Timex in the 50-100 dollar range). The Apple Watch can only find customers in the luxury end of the watch industry and that is tiny. Is it 1% where consumers pay a lot for their watches? If it is, thats 10 million units per year and that includes the Rolexes and Tag Heuers and Patek Philippes who won’t ‘downgrade’ to any Apple Watch. So can Apple take 10% of the luxury watch market, maybe. Thats a million watches, haha, a drop in the bucket for Apple’s scale in iProducts. Or say it revolutionizes the watch market. As the Apple Watch is only functional with an iPhone, the market is already limited only to current iPhone owners. Might the Apple Watch sell 10 million units. If Apple is lucky maybe. But not 50 million. And not at any kind of super prices and profits. As an accessory strategy to boost iPhone product line profits, the Apple Watch is a good idea yes. As a step towards wearables, yes. As a profit generator for Apple’s bottom line it is not going to be big enough.
HOW BIG IS BIG
Now, remember the Walkman musicplayer market was about 100 million units of annual sales in size when Apple entered it in 2001. How big is the stand-alone camera market? A bit under 100 million nowadays, as its in decline and as consumers are switching over to cameraphones instead. So how big is the premium camera market of stand-alone cameras? Its BIG exactly because most who wanted a very basic simple point-and-shoot camera have already gone to cameraphones and whats left in camera and electronics stores are mid priced and premium cameras. So the premium camera segment is at least some 20 million units and might be 30 million or more these days. And the brands there are Nikon and Canon and Olympus and Panasonic and Sony and Samsung. Gosh, half of these are brands that Apple has already demolished in the far more competitive smartphone wars and Nikon CEO has said in public, they made a mistake in not launching a smartphone.
Here we do have a major consumer electronics market opportunity that has a big size in the premium space where prices are far closer to an iPhone 6 Plus than a Timex watch, and where there exists room for MASS market products in the premium price ranges. So humor me. Imagine this scenario.
THE GOLDEN RULE
What would Steve Jobs do? He would institute a golden rule for the iCamera project: Pursue the ‘perfect pocket camera’. This would not be considered ‘the camera version of the iPhone’. Thats not good enough. That is too ‘Samsung-ish’ or sorry, Nokia-ish. So if Apple launches a new iPhone model as say ‘iPhone Camera’ as a ‘direct rival’ to the Lumia 1020 and Galaxy K Zoom, another slab smartphone with a ‘camel hump’ for its camera unit and market it as an iPhone 6C (for Camera) for example, that would be seen as ‘the ugly iPhone’. Apple purists are very style oriented. This is almost a non-starter. So just like how we know the iPad is an ultraportable touch-screen Mac PC, it was positioned totally different from Macs. No keyboard, no mouse. And not a Mac Tablet as the little sister to Macbooks. No. A totally different product category (that just happened to also be a full PC inside, ie another Mac).
But. Imagine Tim Cook at a random Apple event (one where a new iPhone is not expected to be launched and nobody is expecting any cameras to be introduced) and he looks like he’s done with his keynote, and he starts to walk off the stage, when he pauses and says the following:
Oh, I almost forgot. We have one more thing to announce today. We are launching a new Apple product. Its called the iCamera. It is the best pocketable camera in the world and will transform the camera experience for everybody. (audience in stunned silence. You can hear a pin drop.) Let me show you. It has a 62 megapixel sensor (audience erupts, Twitter goes mad, Tim Cook gets a 5 minute standing ovation). So yes, it has a 62 megapixel sensor, the best in the world, even the 45,000 dollar Hasselblad only has a 50 megapixel sensor. Our iCamera has a 12 times optical zoom, from 22mm to 265mm focal length (audience gasps, Twitter crashes, Tim Cook gets a 10 minute standing ovation, the voice of god comes on the loudspeakers and begs the audience to stop applauding and to sit down). Tim Cook knows he’s had his Steve Jobs moment and his reputation has now been made. He continues. The zoom lens is manufactured for us by camera lens specialists Carl Zeiss (loud cheers from audience, a spontaneous chant of i-cam-ra i-cam-ra i-cam-ra echoes in auditorium for 5 minutes).
So he rattles off several astonishing stats and abilities and ends with.. and it supports microSD storage, and it runs iOS, and the iCamera is fully integrated with Apple Watch and the App Store. Of course it is also an iPod. And its a fully-functional iPhone as well. It will come out in (12 weeks from the announcement). The room will stand and cheer and applaud him and Apple for 15 minutes with continous echo of the chant i-cam-ra, i-cam-ra, i-cam-ra. Some people in the audience will be treated for fainting in the euphoria. Apple’s share price shoots up 20% on the news and climbs another 30% in the next (x) months till the first sales begin in the global hype about the awesome iCamera revolution. Microsoft and Samsung share prices fall 10% on the news. The tech press will buzz for weeks about how only Apple could do something like this, take a stable industry past its prime and reinvent it.
NO OTHER BRAND, NO OTHER AUDIENCE
Apple has a totally disproportionate share of visually-oriented artists and professionals in the artistic industries. Look at Hollywood movies. The proportion of Apple computers in Hollywood movies suggests Apple owned 90% of the PC market. And Apple didn’t have to bribe those producers to include Macs as the PCs in every office scene. The artistic industries utterly love all things with the Apple logo. The advertising industry is totally overrun by iSheep. Try to find a Chief Marketing Officer of any Fortune 500 sized company who isn’t using an iPhone. The marketing departments of banks even run on Macs. All serious photograpers or videographers edit their photos and videos on Macs not on PCs. Its a total love affair for those arts who deal in the visual, because early Macs were far superior to do picture editing and video (starting with the enormous utility of the mouse over using a keyboard, and making things on print for the first time to be exactly the same as it was on the screen). This is Apple’s natural domain.
But every such visually-oriented artist (graphic designer, cinematographer, photojournalist, you name it) secretly prays that the next iPhone would finally have a decent camera. No, they will never do the blaspheme of complaining about the camera on their latest iPhone 6 Plus, but secretly they envy the Lumia 1020. If they have seen the Galaxy K Zoom they will think, Apple should do one of those. They won’t say it, but they think it, and they pray in their heart Tim Cook could deliver this miracle. These are visually-oriented professionals in the arts. They all love cameras, pictures and videos. And while yes, they greatly like and trust their Macs and iPads and iPods and iPhones - these are intuitively visual people, camera people, photograph people, video, television and film people. They will fall in love with the iCamera as nobody has fallen in love with any tech before. If you can remember the hype about the original iPhone, this is the only time Apple will ever top that. Not because the device is that much better but yes, because this is the perfect tech toy for exactly those people who communciate with us with the most powerful tools - pictures and video. They, the professionals, out of their love of iCamera, will sell it for Apple, to us. By the time it hits the stores, our moms and dads will want one too.
THE PERFECT POCKET CAMERA
Apple didn’t attempt to create a supercomputer when they made the Macintosh. They did not try to outdo the top ‘professional’ end of computers in the mainframe types of computers. Apple launched the Mac as the best consumer PC. The same with the iPhone, not attempting even to create a smartphone at the time (in 2007, the original iPhone was only a featurephone while Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry and the gang all made smartphones). But the iPhone totally revolutionized and forever changed the whole handset industry. Today 50 dollar iPhone-a-clones are available from Chinese manufacturers who in 2006 would have made keyboard-operated small-screen dumbphones that looked like Nokias. So understand Apple ethos and what the iCamera would be. It would not try to be a professional DSLR. Apple doesn’t need to try to do a proper professional DSLR camera and arguably, that market is too tiny for Apple to bother.
But the point-and-shoot camera market could use some iRevolution. It will be cameraphones anyway. Why not do the iThing to it? What could an Apple iOS iPhone Apple Watch legacy device be, in a perfect world, if Apple gave us an iCamera?
PASS ME SOME MEGAPIXELS
So Nokia had the awesome ‘wow’ factor with the 41 megapixel sensor inside the Nokia 808 Pureview in 2012 when any sane Nokia CEO would have strutted on every stage illustrating how amazing that was when the rivals offered sensors in the 8mp to 16mp range. But then-CEO of Nokia (world’s worst CEO of all time) Stephen Elop was only eager to destroy Nokia’s handset market so he would fulfill the conditions of his CEO bonus incentive, that astonishing leap in tech was actively ignored by Nokia’s new CEO and got minimalist attention from the Nokia marketing department which was ordered to push the far less capable Lumia products instead. Elop could have had his ‘Steve Jobs moment’ with the 808 Pureview if he had been smart. By the time that tech came to the Lumia 1020 fnally in 2013, the story was old news. This was the same tech the handset and camera industry had seen a year earlier.
Last year (2014) Hasselblad introduced their DSLR which now has the world’s largest sensor by pixel count, at 50 megapixels. So even copying Nokia/Microsoft or buying that same 41 megapixel sensor from its manufacturer Toshiba of Japan would no longer be the ‘best’. But the pixel density on the larger Toshiba sensor of 41mp (the one in the 808 Pureview rather than the Lumia 1020) could rather easily accommodate a 50% increase in pixels while keeping the sensor physical size the same. If 41mp was the ‘state of the art’ in 2012, by now in 2015, Toshiba should be able to push 62mp onto that same design. But 62mp on the iCamera when stand-alone digital cameras typically have sensors with 16 to 24 megapixels and even the pro DSLR cameras only go up to the 30-34mp range at their top? This would be monster news. (And if you want to read what all matters in the sensor, from physical size to pixel count to sensor sensitivity to light, read the sensor part of my cameraphone blog from yesterday).
If Tim Cook says in 2015 that Apple are launching an iCamera with 62mp sensor, it is news worthy of tech hysteria. And the theme of Spring 2015 Apple press is how the cameraindustry will be demolished just like how Sony Walkman was by the iPod, and how Nokia and Blackberry were by the iPhone etc. Note, if he instead announces an iPhone with that 62mp sensor, everybody is going to argue and debate the merits of does iPhone need such a camera, how expensive will it be, how ugly is it and who needs that on a phone when Microsoft can’t sell the Lumia 1020 in any volume after 2 years on the market.
Same with the optical zoom lens. Go bigger than the real rival, ie Samsung’s Galaxy K Zoom which has 10x optical zoom lens, by Samsung, from 24mm - 240mm equivalent focal length. So do 12x optical zoom, manufactured by Carl Zeiss, and go past Sammy on both extremes, from wider, at 22mm to further telephoto to 265mm in focal length equivalent. This will be ‘inherently better’ than any cameraphone and indeed any pocketable stand-alone point-and-shoot camera sold today. By quite a margin. And the tech is not rocket science, this is all well within current technology production capacity. But normally the premium cameramakers will shift their customers to DSLR type cameras at the top end. If Apple says thats for pro shooters, and the iCamera will revolutionize the mass market for cameras, this is now a different proposition. And as the iCamera in reality is the Camera iPhone, and has the iPhone fully integrated - now Apple can easily sell this device for 999 dollars where the rival cameramakers and rival smartphone makers aim for half that price level on their nearest equivalent prodcuts today. This IS an industry ripe for some iRevolution.
So yeah, after those specs (62mp sensor, 12x optical zoom by Carl Zeiss) lets say Tim Cook really said ‘no limitations’. It need not conform to the rules of an iPhone as long as iPhone full functionality is indeed still built in. Only obey the golden rule, make it the best pocket camera that ever was. Lets start with storage. iPhones don’t have expandable storage. But all digital cameras and video cameras do have it. So here, lets include a microSD with say 128GB storage space (with capacity for 256GB by the next iOS update). That will give you storage space for over 30 hours of full HD video recorded at full 1080. Yeah, then when its filled up, stick in the next microSD card. They only cost a pittance today anyway. For iPhone users this is not a big need but for ‘serious’ camera buffs and especially anyone shooting video, it is indeed important to have removable memory and potentially - tons of it. Imagine a professional photographer on a safari shooting days of video. They need the storage space. And the iPhone design laws inside Apple forbid microSD (for whatever warped reasons.. iNonsense follows). But yes, an honest ‘world’s best pocketable camera’ would of course have removable storage. It need not be microSD, could be some other media but microSD would currently make most sense, at least to me.
A MAGICAL VIEW
Then think about the viewfinder. ‘Real’ cameras have proper viewfinders (the little holes you stick your eye to, and see what you are aiming at). Cameraphones only use the large touch-screens for aiming the camera. Now. Some will like one, some will like the other, and I would guess, most who are ‘serious’ about photography will insist on a real viewfinder. That gives us a conundrum. What kind of viewfinder? If you put a see-through viewfinder on the body of the camera, where you aim roughly in the right diretion, that has little diagrams inside exactly what will be the photograph, that creates what is called ‘parallax’ problems. The viewfinder sees approximately what you aim for, not exactly. It also will not adjust to zoom. And on a cameraphone - it means you have to have a ‘window’ through the device which cuts into the back-side, where you want the largest touch-screen possible. If you fit in the window for the viewfinder, the touch-screen will need to shrink a bit.
Well, the traditional camera industry solution to parallax viewfinders is then to give a mirrored design with the viewfinder seeing through the same lens you use, through yes, mirrors. One mirror is now in the way of the film or digital sensor, and that mirror has to be moved out of the way when taking pictures. So yes, there is a high-speed moving mirror inside almost all expensive cameras, that flaps out of the way, and back into positin in a tiny fraction of one second. That is expensive, cumbersome, and soooo last century. What would the company of Steve Jobs do? What would the company of ‘retina display’ do? What would a company that calls itself a ‘mobile’ company do? It would do a mirrorless viewfinder. Duh. Oh, and what would Apple the ‘mobile’ company do with this viewfinder? It would make the viewfinder a REMOVABLE mirrorless viewfinder.
And not package it in the original box, as all users don’t want it and need it. SELL IT AS AN ACCESSORY. In an ‘only Apple would dare to charge this much’ kind of price. Then include the connectors to do a very solid attachment, for those who want to keep the viewfinder permanently on the iCamera. Make sure the viewfinder is VERY SLIM in one dimension (in some way foldable), so if you want to put it in your pocket separately as two items, the viewfinder won’t be essentially any thicker/fatter than the iCamera itself when it is ‘folded in’ to its travel configuration at its slimmest (ie zoom lens fully retracted into the body). But also, while perhaps bulky, ensure that even if attached to the iCamera the combination with the accessory mirrorless viewfinder would not make the iCamera too bulky for a pocket - even though yes now your pocket would of course bulge somewhat. Remember, we are not now playing by iPhone rules of creating the world’s slimmest ‘smartphone’. We are now iRevolutionizing the camera industry and are creatin the world’s best pocketable camera. The pocket may bulge a bit, thats still pocketable..
And as this is the wireless age, make it so that in something like Bluetooth range, make it a REMOTE viewfinder! So the iCamera can be operated remotely if the user wants. (It would need some extra wireless transmission through-put to deliver retina-display live video to the viewfinder in real time, so maybe the iCamera could have a dual BT connection or some other clever Apple solution to this, so the real-time image won’t suffer from the lag and be as jittery as the Sony Xperia DX10 accessory zoom lens is).
But yeah. A proper honest real viewfinder. Add into it the diopter-correction for anyone who needs eyeglasses - remember most Apple users are older, richer people, who won’t necessarily have the perfect eyesight of their youth. Who else offers a removable retina-display resolution viewfinder that is this smart - and wireless to operate also remotely? Not every iCamera user who even wants one would end up buying it. Later Apple could release a junior spec cheaper version too of the viewfinder that doesn’t do quite retina display but still good enough to easily aim and control the iCamera (line of products). But sold as an accessory, you can have the best ever pocket camera with incredible specs, and yet not break the bank in the price of the basic, fully functional unit.
TRIPOD SCREW MOUNT
So lets iFantasize further. All the missing pieces of course. So yes, it has to have the normal tripod screw. That also is increasingly useful with selfie-cams. And have a proper hotshoe for real flashguns. And again, lets invent another silly overpriced iGadget. Since we now have the real tripod mount screw, then offer a motorized tripod iBase for the iCamera that doubles as a tablestand. If you want to place the iCamera on a table and use the removable viewfinder and want to move the camera left-or-right, or up-or-down (not just zoom), then yes, a little motorized iBase to remotely aim the iCamera. Hey, I can now imagine a million new uses, temporary and permantent for the iCamera (and especially its later junior ‘nano’ cheaper version). And as the remote control of the motors of the iBase can be controlled with any iPhone, and of course it has the normal tripod mount on ITS bottom, you can screw this iMount onto your existing tripod (or selfie-stick) and then screw your iCamera on top of it. Remote control for the iCamera while on a tripod. Many pro and semi-pro camera users will love this. And also - this won’t be limited now to iCamera users, ANY serious camera users can add a remote control platform to any camera, operated on an iPhone or iPad or Mac, and put their Canon or Nikon or Hasselblad on it, and move that camera remotely.
While I’m at it. Sell the car kit. So now the iCamera can be used as the live car-cam (with monster-sized high def video storage of your whole trip) in case there is an accident (you know, like the famous YouTube videos from traffic accidents in Russia). Yes, many dash-cams exist, but of COURSE you want your iTunes ie iPod functionality of your iCamera to use in the car. Then the gimmick here - dual cams. Since the iCamera is an iPhone. And it of course has the inward-facing selfie cam (which should be upgraded for this iCamera to at least 2mp but to really amaze the audience, do it at 8mp. This is the best pocketable camera evah!) then yes, enable BOTH cameras to record live. Now you point the ‘main’ camera towards the front seeing the street ahead of where you drive, place the iCamera in the middle of the dashboard and its selfie cam sees the cars behind you, if someone crashes into you from behind haha. And thus the live recording ability to create two video recordings (in synch) one from front, one from behind. Again, Apple’s iCamera is better than anything else out there. This feature would be a trivial adjustment to the camera and storage software haha and could be enabled BTW on all iPhones from the next iOS update after the iCamera is launched haha.
So then, lets talk flash. So obviously we’ll include a real mechanical shutter. So the iCamera of course can do Xenon flash. But hey. We have 12x zoom. Why aren’t all real flashes ‘zoom’ flashes? (I didn’t know they existed). Yeah! Yes they do. Zoom flashes. Not a radical idea, they’ve existed at least since the 1980s. You have an adjustable mirror and/or move the Xenon tube outwards (wider angle flash) or deeper into the mirror assembly (narrower angle flash, gives more light to a focused area). Now... Lets say we do double Xenon flash - flashes cleverly positioned on both sides of the lens assembly so there is no massive shadow, and picture targets are lit evenly even in close-up pictures - and then we include ZOOM flash.
Remember, our brief from Tim Cook (or the ghost of Steve Jobs) is to revolutionize the camera industry by creating the best consumer camera, the best pocketable camera(phone). If we have real zoom optical zoom lens, then why not add zoom flash? Duh. Why not? Its not technically difficult. Yes its bulkier than no zoom but a modest flash zoom would fit easily into the pocketable device and extend the max range of the flash by maybe 50%.
So, most DSLR cameras that happen to have a flash built-in, can’t do this because they don’t know which lens you have attached and what is its zoom setting. Most point-and-shoot cameras didn’t bother with big flash setups because serious camera users would get stand-alone flashguns anyway that are far more powerful. So. Lets just imagine. Since there is no removable lens on the iCamera, and the zooming is of course controlled by the same programming as all of the camera, it would be childs play for Apple to include the logic that records what is the current zoom setting on the lens. And then if we press the shutter to take the picture, to use the appropriate zoom setting on the flash too!
Now, it need not be uber-fancy at this type of device but come on. Dual Xenon flash both with zoom. Apple’s tech engineers speaking after Tim Cook would have a field day explaining first why Xenon outperforms all LED flashes. Then why no other pocketable camera has dual flash synchronized around the lens like iCamera and why that creates both nasty shadows in pictures - AND means badly lit images at short range (lopsided flash exposure). THEN they show off the zooming. The zoom setting need not be more than 3 settings, wide angle, mid-range and telephoto. But the SAME Xenon tube that hits 5 meters (15 feet) in standard mode would reach at least 8 meters (24 feet) in maximum zoom. And remember, the lens is concurrently zoomed, so no unnecessary light now spills to make the rest of the room white, while the camera only focuses on the area in the middle.
The range improvement need not be drastic, but in flash photography, even small improvements in range mean very much better pictures. And once again, Apple can claim totally legitimately that no other pocket camera offers this powerful and smart flash tech and its another reason why iCamera is best pocket camera ever, and in future all cameras will be like this. The costs of that what I explained are not enormous but nobody has ever done it because ‘good flash’ tech belongs to the DSLR segment. But boy, would this be a massive leap in flash use and distance for any pocketable camera.
So lets talk a bit more about the zoom. I said 12x zoom (thats to just be sure that the iCamera beats the K Zoom fair and square) but if we go to 22mm thats bordering on fish-eye lenses that start at 21mm. HA !! But Apple are a computer company, not an optical camera company. If Apple know, this same lens is the only one ever in this particular camera, and Apple know the wide-angle setting of the lens, why not write the program code that corrects the optical distortions of the lens from 23mm to 22mm ultra-wide-angle and make that the default setting.
Come on, a child could do this. Just set the actual prototype camera on a bench, point it at a wall with perfectly drawn parallel lines, and compare how much the actual picture distorts them. Then write the code to correct them. Now its not just the best camera that ever was, it is a MAGICAL camera. Only Apple, a computer company, could think of using a distorting lens setting, to break through the 24mm wide angle ‘barrier’ into mildly fish-eye lens territory, and still be able to deliver perfectly correct pictures from it, with no noticable distortion. Now Apple could legitimately also claim the crown for all those family group settings, oh, don’t you have a camera this smart that it fits everybody into the picture? Well go buy yourself an iCamera then... And yes, allow the optional setting for those who would like to see the mild fish-eye distortion effect at 22mm, for those shutterbugs who really want fish-eye.
MY HORSE, TRIGGER
The cameramakers will be desperate at this stage. Their industry is being devastated by the iPod-dudes from California. So some other obvious things. Have you ever taken pictures with a major brand DSLR camera? Do you remember how that shutter release button was. Ie the ‘trigger’. It was feather-light. Now how’s that button on your current smartphone when you press it to take pictures? Yeah. Good point, Tomi, it IS very heavy. And why is that? Because it was designed by some PHONE engineers who don’t want your phone to go off accidentially in your pocket, dial an expensive international phone number and bankrupt you with the phone bill. They made it deliberately so. But thats not how the best pocketable camera should be. If designed by a camera engineer, the trigger ie shutter release HAS to be feather light. Why? So it won’t cause extra shaking of the camera exactly at the point when you take the picture - because that creates photographs that are not sharp.
Now which would Steve Jobs do? He would OF COURSE insist that on the iCamera the shutter release has to be like a camera, not like a phone. And be feather-light two action trigger (half-way activates the camera sensors) and yes, to have a separate, probably PHYSICAL lock to it, to prevent accidential exposures from your pocket. AND Apple being now a phone maker, it would have ANOTHER button that activates or disables the phone. Duh. This is not rocket science (but its not telephone science either haha).
So yeah. All normal things that should be on the best cameraphones but currently are not. So of COURSE it would have the standard-size tripod-mount screw. This separates real cameras from toys. And even selfie-stick users will greatly prefer to screw their expensive iCamera to the stick rather than use those flimsy claws haha.... Same for Flashgun hotshoe. The industry standard hotshoe that lets you connect any flashgun to the iCamera if you want real flash power or - obviously the more enlightened photo-buffs - to have the flash projected into other diretions like an umbrella or wall etc. And yes, offer those users the chance to disable the dual Zoom flash units of the iCamera if they have fancier flash gear. Easy to do if you’re a computer company and your cameraphone is all run by softwarwe. Its far more a hassle of you are a camera company that doesn’t think this way. And the iCamera would have a self-timer that you don’t need to hunt fifteen menu items into the software, the self-timer would be activated by its own external control. Simple, easy, obvious.
TO GO WHERE NO CAMERA HAS GONE BEFORE
But hey, lets go big. Lets go bold. Lets go science fiction. Its Apple. So 3D. Now, no no no. I don’t mean the iCamera should have 3D photography upon it ie stereoscopic dual cameras at these specs. Noooooo. I mean, do the Apple thing to it. Do the iMagic. Do the iAwesome. Allow two iCameras to be combined to shoot 3D pictures and videos. A specialized connector that allows two iCameras to snap together, both super lenses poiting now in the same direction with the necessary software to convert that into a stereoscopic video image and obviously all this synchronized at the design stage so it all works. Hey. This makes sense. You get a full HD 1080 defintion videocamera with 12x optical zoom - and you can shoot full 3D video - by only buying two iCameras !!! (And this being all iCamera and iOS, the dual system would be controlled in synch from one of the iCameras or you could haha, use the removable viewfinder or even your Apple Watch).
Many Hollywood producers will get a pair of iCameras just because of this ability. The 3D ‘merging’ software to create the 3D video could be from a 3rd party and sold separately. Its just that as far as I know, no digital camera today can be combined with its sister to do 3D pictures and videos (And I apologize if this is standard stuff and I just am not up to the evolution of digital cameras haha). Certainly no cameraphone has suggested anything like it.
Now, not many commercial movies will necessarily be shot this way - but darn gosh, many 3D television programs WILL BE for all those cable TV channels desperate for new 3D content. 3D video shooting gear is expensive, especially gear that would have 12x optical zoom lens. So yeah, Apple, make the awesome camera that becomes the most used 3D video shooting apparatus too. Best of all every 3D Spielberg will have to buy two iCameras. All Apple need to do, is at the design stage prepare for this, position the cameras appropriately and design the attachment options so, that two iCameras can be attached into one larger camera unit with two cameras in stereoscopic synch.
Which, of course then also, would combine the photo ability to a mind-boggling 124 megapixels if you want to take pictures (since we’ve gone through the trouble of synching the two iCameras this way anyway). So now, haha 124 megapixels - many pro camera users who think their Canon or Nikon pro cameras are not powerful enough when they shoot for example posters, they will consider using the iCamera rather than renting a film-based Hasselblad and do the digital scanning from the film based picture.
CALLING DICK TRACY
So Dick Tracy then? Yes, this is THE device to help the hopeless Apple Watch find some use-cases. YES, of course the iCamera is fully compatible with Apple Watch and yes, you can use the Apple Watch to see what the camera sees, very useful in selfies for example, and yes, use the Apple Watch as your remote control for the iCamera. In fact, being an iOS device, any Apple product can control it - Macs, iPhones, iPads...
What about pictures in the dark. I mean real dark. I mean infra-red. Yes Those green images we see in modern war movies and news footage. Infra-red is only light at a low wavelenght. If the sensor is built to detect those wavelengths, we have an infrared camera too. Hey, this means it will also see through walls !!! How cool is that (not accurately but detect heat etc. VERY useful for construction uses, and in emergencies detecting live people in collapsed buildings, etc). Only an Apple iCamera would come with infrared, wouldn’t it. And that opens the next door. The accessory. The infra-red light source. So if you want to take pictures in total pitch black darkness or see far into the dark night, buy the (obscenely priced) Apple iCamera accessory infra-red light source. Haha. How’s that for ubercool. It doesn’t need to sell more than 1,000 units and barely break even in its costs, but Apple has yet another sci-fi merit that blows the minds of all tech reporters and analysts and Apple is seen as visionary. Tech-wise this is not cutting edge but nobody offers it in a consumer pocket camera haha (or in anything near these price levels).
Are you drooling already? Ok lets take now a trip back to reality. Lets leave the 3D and infra-red exotic stuff off the table but lets just do the basics. What I had originally described that Tim Cook would say, and the few obvious additions like tripod mount screw and microSD storage and soft trigger/shutter release. The obvious things if Apple introduced ‘the world’s best pocket camera’. What would this cost to make and what could Apple sell it for. Lets start on the costs. And obviously I am ignoring costs and prices of all accessories like the optional mirrorless viewfinder.
This is not a massive device by length and width, because it is thicker due to the zoom lens construction and large sensor. So it won’t have a 5 inch phablet screen. Those who buy the iCamera to be their primary iPhone, will do it for the camera and won’t mind a modest sacrifice on the screen size. Especially if it still is retina display. So we start with the last and best 4 inch screen iPhone, the iPhone 5S. Thats our phone base. Note that it was released 15 months ago, so today to manufacture those parts would cost probably something like 200 dollars.
Then lets add the camera. Take a top-end stand-alone fixed lens camera (ie not any DSLR) like say the Canon Powershot SX 280. A camera that would retail for say about 500 dollars. The manufacturing costs should be say 300 dollars or so. Now, we have some ‘synergies’ that both devices have, which we won’t need to duplicate. The iPhone 5S can leave out its 8mp camera. The Canon can leave out its screen, battery, CPU, RAM and some other internal goodies like that. So now the ‘incremental costs’ of only the new parts needed to do our hybrid camera-phone should add at most 200 dollars maybe less. We toss in some new iGoodies especially NFC for Apple Pay and we add some more CPU and RAM power for crunching all that computing of this hybrid device and the total manufacturing costs should still be less than 450 dollars. Except that the Canon was manufactured on a production run that certainly didn’t hit 1 million units, probably far far less than that. This is a premium point-and-shoot camera from a premium brand. Now instead, Apple source the components at a minimum run of 10 million units annually and get far more sourcing synergies with the iPhone range overall. Then the total costs should settle into around 400 dollars for the iCamera. In rough terms
And how to price it. Well, the iPhone 6 Plus is the flagship. It costs 750 dollars and has a massive screen etc. But no, we won’t stop there. This is a different device altogether and most certainly as I’ve described it, this device would fly off the shelves at 999 dollars (unsubsidised price). After the dealer markups, this would still be the device with the biggest profit per unit out of any iDevice sold today. Yes. I’d price it at 999 dollars. (And I’d stand in line to buy one).
Here is where Apple has a massive advantage (and a dangerous temptation). Nikon, Canon, Olympus and gang can’t sell where iPhones are sold. They don’t have the carrier relationships!! Yes, they have built a global network through camera stores and electronics retailers, but that is peanuts to what Apple can sell. As long as Apple gets the carriers/operators to treat this as the latest flagship iPhone - it is a full iPhone - and offer it the same sales support all iPhones get - this is the bestselling camera of the year compared to any stand-alone camera model by any brand. So Apple has to just be careful not to have the carriers ‘reject’ this as ‘only a camera’ haha.
The mistake Apple cannot make is to try to now push the virtual SIM onto the iCamera. It would instantly doom the project to only camera-store curiosity tech. Even suggesting to carriers ‘virtual SIM’ on this will make them as cold to the iCamera as they are to iPads. They hate virtual SIMs. So Tim Cook if you happen to be listening, this is the only achilles’ heel to the strategy. Don’t make that mistake. Promise carriers it has the standard nano SIM and no dual SIM and it will be run by Apple as a phone just like all other iPhones, and will be marketed as such. Then carriers know, their rivals will take it and unless everybody carries it, they will lose out and rivals will use it to steal customers. Just like how they can’t refuse now carrying the iPhone 6 Plus.
That doesn’t preclude Apple from selling through camera retailers and any other outlets. Of course. And at Apple stores. In those countries that have handset subsidies, this iCamera would have similar handset subsidies. So in the USA, if the iPhone 6 Plus sells for 299 dollars plus 2 year contract, then the iCamera would sell for 399 dollars and two year contract. The most expensive smartphone yes, but with it comes the amazing Apple camera tech haha...
The release cycle would be by 2 year intervals, alterate years release a new big-screen flagship iPhone 7 Plus, alternate years the update to iCamera. One year after this iCamera, release its nano brother, a junior version of lesser, but still impressive specs like say only 6x optical zoom, only 32mp camera sensor and only 3.5 inch retina display screen and selling for 699 but compatible with of course all iCamera accessories (and outrageously profitable too).
WHO BUYS IT
Will every Apple user buy this. Of course not. Will it cannibalize iPhone sales, of course it will, some of it. Against those downsides, it would massively increase the profitability of the iPhone line, and push the iPhone into ever higher price bands. It would serve as a big catalyst to expand iProduct ownership by existing iFans. But most of all, it would catch tons of new customers into the iFold. The iReligion needs new converts to come to confess their iLoyalty at the iAltar. And this iCamera attracts rich ones. Very rich ones. The iCamera will spawn a ‘little sister’ cheaper nano model which still yields iPhone 6 class of price tag and profit. The iCameras can grab the largest market share of stand-alone cameras ahead of any traditional camera brand and do to camera industry profits what the iPhone did to handset industry profits and iPod to portable music industry profits. Together these two iCameras will broaden iPhone’s market share of smartphones by about one fifth, and expand the reach of iOS ecosystem by about about 15%; reversing in a two-year horizon the decline of iPhone’s global market share annually. Which brings me to some obvious points about the customers.
First, yes, the visually-oriented Apple fans would flock to the iCamera. I can’t promise many Nikon or Canon DSLR owners would drop their kit and go iCamera-only (some will) but many would buy this as their next smartphone to have the best possible camera in their pocket when their fancy DSLR kit isn’t hanging around their neck at that moment of photographic inspiration. The far bigger opportunity is with the hundreds of millions of stand-alone camera owners who have been contemplating should they buy a new point-and-shoot camera, or go cameraphone, and felt the current offering underwhelming. This is THE camera for anyone who has a 5 year old digital pocket camera whose 5mp or 8mp sensor seems now a bit too weak. They know they have to get a new smartphone anyway, they want the new camera, they are already addicted shutterbugs. They will love the iCamera as the ultimate pocket gadget they always hoped could exist. The answer to all prayers this side of DSLR systems. Those rich camera owners will justify the increased cost in the iCamera that as a package - after all this is both camera and smartphones - this is cheaper - and as a camera, this truly blows the competition away. They can even justify the cost in that they ‘only’ buy the basic kit, and don’t thus have to pay for all the accessories (but come later into the store to buy that mirrorless viewfinder or whatever other gadgets Apple brings to the package).
Here there will be existing Apple fans for whom this is the obvious front-runner choice in point-and-shoot cameras. BUT. Here is a HUGE opportunity for Apple to pick up millions of users who are not in the iFamily yet, for whatever reason. Like me. My first criterion is camera. My second criterion happens to be QWERTY. So the iPhone has always failed me and I go elsewhere. But I’d love to go iPhone if they gave me a compelling camera. This would be it. Suddenly then - THEN the next laptop would almost have to be a Mac too, haha. All of the iProducts have boosted Mac sales from iPods to iPhones to iPads. And vice versa.
So I say this. Apple would sell 20 million iCameras in its first 12 months, 50 million per year by the third year if it adds the nano version. The top model could easily be priced at 999 dollars (or more) and produce massive profits for Apple. In the short run, nobody could match them, Samsung eventually would keep updating the K Zoom to offer the first viable rival. It would not be a cheap journey for Samsung to adjust to the iCamera. Several of the traditional cameramakers would file for bankrutpcy. New far cheaper clones of iCamera would appear out of China to grow the bottom end of this market with far more modest spec designs and into the 200 dollar price range. The total ‘camera’ market as redefined so that the device’s primary sales argument is camera, and it is sold also in camera stores, vs smartphones, would double to 200 million units per year. Apple would own 25% of that new market. These customers would all become or be fiercely loyal to Apple and Apple’s total gain would be at least 25 million first-time Apple owners with the iCamera of which at least a quarter would buy at least one other Apple product after using the iCamera for 2 years.
For those who are rich enough who wouldn’t worry about paying 1,000 dollars for a camera if it was good enough, and happen to be iPhone users, most of them would buy this as their newest camera and still have the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus as their main phone. Some who would buy the iCamera and use it for a while as their main phone, would then go get the phablet iPhone as their next ‘phone’ and the second phone alongside the iCamera as still the main phone, but for the large screen. Many however, who got the iCamera as their first Apple product would find many iReligion rituals and rules a bit odd, and would keep an Android in their other pocket or as their tablet. This would not win every battle but would definitely win Apple and iOS millions of new customers it cannot reach with the camera strategy they have with the normal iPhone.
IS THIS FEASIBLE AS A DESIGN
If we tone it down some more and only do the existing 500 dollar camera slapped onto the back of an iPhone 5S, that would still be arguably the best cameraphone in the world (with only the Galaxy K Zoom its practical concurrent rival). Even if we yes did that with the same Sony 20mp sensor as on the K Zoom and using say Canon’s 10x zoom optics etc, and toss in a bit of iSmoke and iMirrors to fool the world that this is now invented stuff rather than doing what others have been doing already. While Tim Cook’s audience reaction would not be as euphoric, it would still be a massive positive response (and very importantly, as long as almost no word has leaked out that this is coming). An iCamera with 20mp sensor, 10x optical zoom, mechanical shutter, xenon flash, macro, aperture control, a tripod screw mount, an accessory flash hotshoe mount, running full latest iOS, totally compatible with all other iProducts including that the Apple Watch can be used as the remote viewer and remote shutter release; and containing a full iPhone 5S with 4 inch retina screen. Priced at 999 dollars it would be the world’s best cameraphone and knowing Apple, it would not look cheap and plasticky like the Galaxy S4 Zoom and the Galaxy K Zoom. The iCamera would be the sexiest camera in the camerastores, the ultimate - oooh, I want THAT one - in brushed aluminum in black, and available also in silver and white and perhaps a few other colors later on. But a premium camera is made in metal, not plastic.
In specs this barely exceeds the K Zoom. But its an Apple. In many markets the K Zoom is not sold, most critically not in the USA, so all that press is utterly oblivious to the rival from Samsung. They will genuinely think this is the world’s first full optical zoom cameraphone and celebrate Apple for it. Even in markets where they would be sold side-by-side, now both the looks of the iCamera, and the age (newer) and the new iOS software vs old version of Android - and very critically all the iPhone 6 Plus software, and Apple’s better usability, would tip it in almost all reviews as a slight win by the iCamera. Now, those specs? 20mp, 10x optical zoom, xenon flash slapped onto an iPhone 5S. How long would it take for Apple engineers to prototype that cameraphone? Six months max. Tim Cook could demo this iCamera at some Apple show even early in the summer or latest just at the lauch of Autumn, and ship it as the ultimate Xmas iGift for 2015 in stores by December.
WHAT WOULD STEVE JOBS DO?
If Apple did it the Steve Jobs way (no we won’t compromise, we either do it so that it blows apart this industry, or else we won’t bother to launch it at all). Then with the 62mp sensor and 12x zoom and dual Xenon zoom flash, etc (while lets still leave the infra-red and 3D dual camera things for future versions) that would, I believe, only depend on the sensor. I have no idea about how long a CMOS sensor takes from drawing board to shipping from factory. BUT. The original Nokia 808 Pureview CMOS sensor was not made by Nokia (although they probably did a lot of its design and probably hold patents in that area). It was manufactured by Toshiba. I believe that the smaller sensor in physical size but same configuration and pixel count, that is on the Lumia 1020 is also made by Toshiba but I haven’t been able to verify that. But most definitely we know, that a 41mp ‘fat cross shaped’ CMOS sensor that is convertible from 4x3 to 16x9 resolutions at 38mp and 34mp respectively, was manufactured by Toshiba in 2012 in volume.
Toshiba should be relatively easily able to do that sensor or a very similar spec sensor in just about the amount of time it takes to retool and start the factory, especially if we are now looking at ‘Apple level sales’. How long to get that old sensor up into production? Months probably. Now, redesign it for 50% more pixel density? The second generation Pureview sensor of 41mp was already one third smaller in physical size one year later in 2013. And that CMOS sensor is nowhere near the extreme in pixel density. I obviously don’t know what I am talking about but it should not be very difficult to take the size of the 808 Pureview sensor, and upgrade its pixel count by 50% for that 62mp sensor. And again, what would this take in time. It can’t take more than a year from already existing designs. CMOS sensor pixel counts are increasing all the time, so that is a natural evolution for CMOS sensor manufacturers as it is. So if they agreed on this order now in January, the full spec iCamera could start to be assembled in January of 2016 and shipping say February-ish.
So about Nokia’s patents. A Nokia run by Stephen Elop the Microbrain who hated Apple, that Nokia might have resisted tooth and nail about offering its Pureview patents and technology to Apple and/or charged a huge royalty for it. Not necessarily this new Nokia in a post-Elop post-Windows post-Microsoft era. Nokia might even warmly welcome Apple licensing some of its advanced tech and be quite proud of being a tech supplier to mighty Apple of iPhones, now as Nokia ponders if it wants to return also as a handset maker (oh yes they do desperately they do). And the royalty fees could be quite modest. Microsoft doesn’t own these patents, Microsoft only bought rights to use those patents in mobile phones that it acquired when it bought Nokia handset unit last year. Nokia kept the ownership. Apple could very ‘easily’ license the Pureview technology and Nokia might even help Apple redesign the 41mp sensor into a 62mp while manufactured by Toshiba haha.
Same with Carl Zeiss. They are a pure lens manufacturer and serve anyone who wants precision optical glass. They have no doubt plenty of off-the-shelf designs for 10x zoom lenses of the sizes that would work in this instance. Might even have a 12x zoom design ready and waiting for a customer. This part I think (again, I am no expert on lens design and manufacturing) this part I think would not take 12 months to go from design to shipping sub-assembly. But also, Apple could approach another premium camera optics brand like Canon or Nikon to make their zoom lens for the iCamera. I could see Cupertino prefering not to use the exact same provider as Microsoft uses haha.
The design and manufacturing logistics and challenges of smartphones are significantly greater than those of pocket cameras. If Apple can bring us a new iPhone model every year, they could also give us the real dream iCamera, 62mp sensor, 12x optical zoom, dual zooming Xenon flash, designed with optional accessory viewfinder (with retina display). And have the whole thing announced well, one year and one week from today haha...
Why would Apple NOT do this?
So thats my iFantasy for you. A highly lucrative high tech opprortunity that sits perfectly within Apple strategy, supports the iOS family, boosts profits, gains new customes, satisfies a burning desire within the Apple loyalists, re-establshes Apple tech leaderhips, proves to investors Tim Cook can guide Apple past the Steve Jobs era, and it build on Apple’s true heritage of the Apple Quicktake 100. The iCamera if clearly introduced as a radical camera which just happens to have a full iPhone 5S on its back, would not hurt the sexy luxury appeal of the classic iPhone line and as Apple would clearly design the iCamera outwardly to be distinct, nobody would ever think ‘oh Apple has made an ugly iPhone’ like they thought of Nokia’s 808 Pureview, Lumia 1020 and Samsung’s two Galaxy Zoom smartphone models. And one ‘Apple hater’ blogger at the CDB blog could for once write the ultimate love-letter to his fave computer brand, that he never could so far. Ah, would it be a beautiful thing. If Apple wanted to, it could give us the best (pocketable) camera that ever was conceived. Wouldn’t you want the iCamera?
The camera function is not the number one criterion for buying a new smartphone. The screen size currently is probably the biggest driver. But for some buyers the camera is the most important thing and for many buyers its a critical factor. The latest survey of Japanese smartphone buyers by the CIAJ last year found that 37% of Japanese buyers felt that a good camera was a major decision element. If we say that only for half of that it is a deciding element (18%) and extrapolate globally, then the current iPhone series will not be considered by 270 million smartphone buyers this year 2015. Of course that would include the full price range so for a 50 dollar smartphone (unsubsidised price) even a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash can be considered a ‘great’ camera haha. But yes, if the premium end is say 40 million units of serious cameraphones, those will go to Lumia, Xperia, Galaxy, etc buyers this year. And if Apple offered us an iCamera, half of that market (premium cameraphone segment) at least would flock to the latest iGadget and feel its iBliss.
WHAT OF NIKON, CANON, OLYMPUS ETC
Yes, I’d buy that cameraphone (without the IR see-through walls and dual camera 3D unnecessary geeky nonsense) in a heartbeat from Apple. Or those specs if it was on a cameraphone from Canon on Android. Or from Panasonic or Nikon or Olympus. I’d buy it from Sony or LG or Lenovo/Motorola. Any brand. Even any ‘lesser’ tech brand like say an Asus (Asus is doing an optical zoom camera soon but it won’t be anything like this haha) or even a total unknown brand like haha Xiaomi or TCL or Oppo or a discount local brand like Micromax or Lava or Karbonn. I would fly to another country to buy it (as long as it ran Android, not Windows Phone haha). But even if you are Canon or Nikon or Panasonic, and did the full shebang of everything I said, on Android, they could not achieve 20 million or even 10 million sales in the first TWO years. Why? Carrier relations. Nobody other than Apple or Samsung could do this at this kind of scale (and Samsung has stumbled royally on the nearest thing to this iDream).
Yes, that would be the tech darling - of the CAMERA world which for all practical purposes amounts to less than nothing. In the smartphone world, its the big handset brands who have the distribution who could only pull this off. From a camera brand it might sell well - in camera terms - and most of us would never see one in the wild, and most press would be blissfully ignorant of its very existence. The handset makers could do better for the Top 10 guys, LG or Huawei or Sony etc, but not to this scale. And if the production run is only 1 million per year, does that justify all the effort it takes, when all parts cost more and this needs now ‘real’ marketing expenditure of huge scale.
Remember only Apple can pull this off ‘for free’ with truly zero marketing expense. Where the total worldwide publicity would hyperventilate about the iCamera every day for 12 weeks until it finally hits the stores and people stand in line overnight. Only Apple has that effect on the media. And even Apple can’t achieve that on the version 7 relaunch of an iPhone. It only happens on genuinely a new iGadget type, like the iPad or yes, now an iCamera. So only Apple can do this full idea. Others could try (and camera brands SHOULD try) but it would be very costly in the launch marketing which Apple would get for free. Remember.. ALL professionals in the visually oriented arts including TV, movies, cameras (newspapers, magazines), advertising - all love Apple and will utterly go gaga, oh so gaga, radio gaga, lady gaga, over this iCamera.
Ok that is my iFantasy. What do you think?
And yes, we’ll do part 3 tomorrow when we think what could/should other brands than Apple do with the cameraphone segment. What could the stand-alone camerabrands do on say an Android smarphone and what ‘obvious’ innovations are kind of missing from any generic ‘flagship’ cameraphone/smartphone. But today, lets talk iCamera. Is that now also you iDream?
For those who want to read more about the tech details of cameraphones and how they relate to pictures, here is my definitive blog about the top cameraphones of the world today. If you'd like to see stats on digital cameras, digital pictures and cameraphones, I did a huge statistical compendium last year. And if you are more interested in the handset industry itself, here are my latest stats and the link to my latest statistical ebook.