Today Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, the latest in its series of mobile cameras… oh, and apparently it can make phone calls and surf the web as well. Here are the points of note for photographers in the new device and the new operating system (iOS 5 will be released on October 12th).
Fast Camera Access
The camera on the iPhone (or other smartphones) has become the point and shoot device of choice for many photographers. The notion that the best camera is the one you have with you means that a cell phone camera is almost always best. With the current iPhone 4, the process of creating a photo is:
- home button to wake up the phone
- enter unlock code
- find the camera app
- wait for it to load (slowly)
- compose and press the button to make the image
Often, the photogenic moment has passed.
With iOS 5, there is an icon to access the camera directly from the lock screen. Once in photo mode, the volume button can act as a shutter release which is a great tactile way to create the image (and a tactic first seen in the Camera+ iPhone app before it was removed from the app store for that very behavior). The iPhone 4S can capture the first photo in just 1.1 seconds.
Eight Megapixel Camera
The already-great iPhone camera has received a resolution boost and it now offers 8 megapixels. While the 5 megapixels in the iPhone 4 created perfectly good images that could be sold, the additional resolution on the iPhone 4S should allow for iPhone images to be used as larger prints or other materials. The camera now features a better IR filter and a lens that opens up to f/2.4.
The A5 processor, introduced with the iPad 2, will bring a welcome speed boost to the iPhone. This processing power will be nice when it comes to processing and managing photos on the device; some of the more sophisticated photo editing applications can be a tad sluggish on the older iPhone 4 devices.
One Phone: GSM and CDMA
Gone are the days of separate hardware for GSM and CDMA networks; a single iPhone 4S unit will now support both wireless networks. Here in the US that means the same phone will work on AT&T and Verizon; for photographers traveling around the world this will be one less hassle to worry about.
iCloud and a Synchronized Photo Stream
With the introduction of Apple’s iCloud system, the iPhone’s camera roll (the library of photos created by the device) can be automatically pushed to the cloud and synchronized down to other devices. Moments after an image is created, it can be viewed on a computer that’s linked to the same iCloud account.
Cards (new app)
A print-and-mail-on-demand service allowing a user to upload a photo from an iOS device and have it turned into a greeting card which Apple will mail. Available October 12th.
Will you be upgrading to the new iPhone 4S? Will this cause you to acquire a smartphone for the first time? Do you care?