The next iPhone will be coming out either this summer or this fall. There are many rumors floating around about what new features will be included in the next generation of iPhones. The camera is one of those areas that Apple is looking to improve. The iPhone already comes with a great camera. Historically, Apple has raised the bar for smart phone cameras.
At WWDC, Apple showed us what iOS 8, the next generation operating system for the iPhone, looks like. A big part of iOS 8 is the new photo features which includes the capability of full manual control of the camera and new intelligent auto-adjust tools. To get the most out of these tools, Apple needs to look past the mega-pixel war and examine other areas that need improvement.
The current iPhones have a 8MP camera, which is plenty big for a smart-phone camera. Instead of looking at the quantity of pixels, users need to look at quality. There are three areas Apple should put their time in improving before they start adding more pixels.
- Focus: To improve users’ photos, the photos need to be in focus. Blurry photos will never have enough information to work with. To create clear photos, Apple can improve the auto-focusing speed of the camera. The other area is image stabilization. Digital stabilization is probably the first step since optical image stabilization may not fit inside the small iPhone case. Apple does have an optical image stabilization patent, but going from patent to product takes more time. With digital stabilization and faster focus, Apple could really improve the users’ snap shots.
- Dynamic Range: Our eyes can see a very wide dynamic range, which is the range of darkest dark to the lightest light. The current iPhone has a fairly narrow dynamic range, so images will look washed out or too dark. These are hard to adjust after the photo has been taken. Apple’s new auto-adjust settings would be greatly improved by a much wider dynamic range camera. A camera where you can darken the highlights to create blue skies and lighten the shadows to add detail.
- ISO: Pictures taken in the dark turn out very noisy with most smart-phone cameras. When a photo is taken in the dark, the sensor basically has to turn up the volume of the light that comes in. The volume adjustment is called ISO or film speed. With better or cleaner ISO capabilities, the iPhone could really take a lead in smart-phone cameras.
It is time to look past the mega-pixel war and focus on other areas of the camera. Focus, dynamic range, and ISO are the big three. All three areas will greatly improve the quality of the photo instead of just the pixel count. With these improvements, Apple could surpass most point-n-shoot cameras on the market today.
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