Apple Could Release a Point-and-Shoot Camera

Most of the hype in the Apple rumor mill lately has been surrounding a purported “iTV” television set, next-generation iPhone, and smaller iPad. If that wasn’t already enough for you to digest, a two-page spread in iLounge‘s New iPad Buyers’ Guide suggests that Apple is working on a point-and-shoot camera project that could revolutionize the photography industry.

The article notes that today’s camera can very easily confuse consumers with a myriad of options based on older technologies such as ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Apple would look to solve this problem by releasing a simpler device that produces pro-quality results.

As supporting evidence for his claim, iLounge Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Horwitz notes that Walter Isaacson’s official biography of Steve Jobs reveals three industries that the Apple co-founder wanted to reinvent: textbooks, television, and photography.

With the new iBooks Textbooks platform released earlier this year for iPad, and a rumored Apple television set around the corner, the digital camera and photography market would remain the only one that Apple has yet to tap. Jobs once met with the CEO of Lytro, a light field camera startup, but is unclear how interested he or Apple was in their products or technologies.

It would appear that there has been a gradual shift from digital cameras to smartphones in terms of what devices consumers primarily use to take quick point-and-shoot pictures, which could question why Apple does not simply improve the point-and-shoot ability of the iPhone. As noted in the article, however, Apple would aim to reinvent the digital camera without the software and hardware 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.

This rumor is only being shared in the interest of discussion, since iLounge does not expect an Apple-branded digital camera to be revealed until at least after the purported Apple television set is released. Its two-page spread calls the camera “iSight,” which is currently the name of Apple’s webcam found on its lineup of Macs. On a related note, remember the iCam concept?

[iLounge via MacRumors]

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