Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has always had an affinity for the camera. The company’s iPhone 6 is one of the best point-and-shoots that money can buy, while a recent acquisition, of Israeli camera sensor maker LinX, shows off the company’s ongoing commitment to improving camera technology.
Hearing that Cuprtino is going to change the camera world forever may not surprise, but the idea that Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) is involved may add perplexity to the idea. For decades the consumer camera has altered the way the world perceives itself. Now that perception is changing once more and Twitter and Apple are driving the transformation.
Twitter and Apple alter reality
Over at Seeking Alpha today Neil Cybart wrote of Apple’s big bet on the camera and the way in which the meaning of the lens is changing. No longer will the camera be about snapshots of life according to Cybart, it will be about straightforward communication.
Cybart breaks down the role of the camera in the future into three different usages, Communication, Interpretation and Memory Organization. The third is that way it’s always been used, but the other two are where companies like Apple and Twitter are changing the way the world uses the camera.
Apple changes the camera world
The iPhone 4 was the first Apple smart phone to have a front-facing camera. It gave rise to two trends that have been running ever since, Facetime, the communication tool, and selfies, the medium of self expression most loved by the younger generation of today.
Twitter Inc has taken those trends and merged them into the Vine, and Periscope. The first is a six second video service, offering a video snapshot, the second is a live-streaming application, Facetime that can be shared, and it’s becoming one of the hottest social media trends of 2015.
Camera will drive the future of Apple and Twitter
Twitter and Apple are at the forefront of a movement that is changing the way people talk to each other. For Apple the most important task is getting great cameras into the hands of its customers. For Twitter it’s about creating tools that allow people to express themselves in ways they never thought they wanted to.
Periscope is the current king in this regard, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to stick around. Video and camera technologies are the future of Twitter, however, so the company will keep innovating until it finds something that gets shutters moving around the world.
Revenue opportunities in Camera tech
While Twitter presumably advertises its way to revenue from the camera, Apple is going to use the technology to bring more and more people to its ecosystem. The quality of the camera in the iPhone is at par with any other smart phone, and it needs to stay that way in order to keep Apple ahead as technology, and the way people use it, evolves.
Tammy Lai, a Macquarie Research analyst, says that the LinX acquisition will allow the iPhone 7 to have a dual lens 3D camera, allowing better pictures and possible 3D images and video to be captured. That sentiment was echoed by Kota Ezawa, a Citigroup analyst in a report on the acquisition.
Mimicking the DSLR in the iPhone 7
If Apple wants to get the image quality produced by its smart phone cameras close to that produced by quality DSLR units, the company may be better going for multiple small sensors rather than a single big one according to Lai and Ezawa.
Getting there isn’t going to be easy, but companies like Twitter are continuing to drive demand for the iPhone camera over camera’s with better quality because of the added utility therein. That’s the key to the next evolution of the camera, and it’s a world that both Apple and Twitter are going to change together.
As Neil Cybart wrote in his piece today, “The camera’s ability to not only capture the world around us, but begin interpreting that world, suggests the camera’s impact on society is still being underestimated. There’s still time to place a big bet that the camera will play a much bigger role in our lives in the future.”