Should Apple Make a Camera?

With Apple’s track record of prioritizing both aesthetics and user experience, an Apple camera could offer a seamless blend of advanced hardware and intuitive software. The iPhone has already disrupted the consumer-level camera market, dominating with its impressive photo and video capabilities. What would that mean for the current market in photography and videography?

Coming to you from Tony and Chelsea Northrup, this video discusses the possibilities, pros, and cons of Apple entering the professional imaging market. Apple recently announced an M4 Pro chip, which would be of massive benefit for pro photographers and videographers. What would it mean if they produced a standalone Apple camera?

The video examines what the camera's design and specifications might include, emphasizing seamless integration with other Apple devices and services, making workflows smoother for professionals already using Apple products. The anticipated user-friendly interface and powerful editing tools built into iOS would also bring major advantages.

However, they also consider the potential cons like the high cost, and Apple's inexperience in the professional camera market, considering competition from established brands like Canon, Nikon, and Sony. Additionally, concerns about battery life and storage capacity are raised, critical factors for professional use. It would stand to reason that Apple would prioritize iCloud storage methods.

They address the potential impact on the industry, suggesting Apple's entry could drive innovation and competition, benefiting consumers. Yet, they caution that it could also disrupt the market, challenging existing players. Overall, Tony and Chelsea provide a balanced view, weighing the exciting possibilities against the practical challenges Apple might face in this new venture. An interesting hypothetical debate, but will this ever be a reality?

Kim Simpson's picture

Kim Simpson is a photographer based in the West of Scotland. Her photographic practice is an exploration of the human experience, with a particular emphasis on themes of identity and belonging.

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13 Comments

Interesting hypothesis, but I think it will stay as that.

Far more likely (and I'm keeping my fingers crossed) would be a "pro" camera app - a stills version of the new Final Cut Camera app. As much as I dislike cliches, this would be "game-changing".

Aperture?

Problem with the camera depicted above is the lack of long zoom. For wide shots, my iPhone 14 Pro Max' 26mm 48MP camera is great. At longer focal lengths, 12MP is OK, but I bring a "real" camera when I want higher-rez tele shots. That's why I also have a superzoom.

Would be just another component in the apple eco system. Not for me as my apples still come from trees, not from electronic industry. Everyone to take his / her decision.

They already do. It’s called the iPhone. Just saw some stats saying that last year smartphones took approximately 3 trillion (yes, trillion) photos. What they should do is to develop a minimalist grip like some of Apple competitors have done. That would make the ergonomics amazing. Don’t think they need to go down the road of conventional camera design. Customers actually like the design of those phones and how easy they are to carry and use. They have said so with their money.

Maybe do a proper flash or flash sync api. I know there was that MFI anker LED cube and the profoto c1 limited to their app, but for my kind of shooting it would make me upgrade my phone more frequently if I could replace my camera for non-professional shoots.

The market is way too small to interest Apple. Like even best case they make an amazing camera and it takes off, its still a pitiful drop in the bucket compared to its typical products. A camera wouldn't be like Apple Vision where they don't expect to sell many but are using it as a PoC and giant marketing tool.

Instead they would have to convince people that this camera is better than an iPhone camera and that you should pay a premium for a fixed lens point and shoot.

The last thing we need is yet another camera "to debate about". The reality is that Apple already makes a camera.

I'm not sure Apple would be able to compete into this market. Add a holder to the iphone and you have an expensive pocket camera, that won't fit into your pocket. That's physics - a small sensor stays a small sensor. Fine with normal light conditions, mediocre when it gets dark like in military fortresses.

That's quite an idea. Being a devout Android person I look at all the awesome things that Sony is doing with their mobile phones and cameras, though, and think (as I have thought in the past and expressed here) that it would be something to see camera bodies with Qualcomm mobile processors in them running Android. Folks have pointed out that this was done in the past, although I wasn't around to see it. But the past is the past and now we have all these truly incredible SOCs and GPUs that simply did not exist back then.

The fact that Apple has engineers working on a camera design means nothing. The company has a long list of products that it ultimately killed before releasing for sale. Most recently this year, the Apple car, an electric self-driving vehicle, was apparently scratched after years of speculation that they'd enter that market. Remember, too, how it seemed inevitable that Apple would make a television. Never happened.

I just can't see Apple getting into another market of professional graphics products with a limited customer base... a customer base of professional photographers that may be extinct in the near future. The Macintosh computer was the heart and soul of Apple in the 1980s. At this point the iPhone is responsible for over half of Apple's sales and the Mac computer is a relatively minor percentage of sales. I think Apple's culture has always been forward thinking and AI must undoubtedly be consuming the lion's share of their research and engineering. It's not the professional graphics customers who drive Apple sales any more. It's the worldwide consumer market.

An Apple dedicated camera outside of the iPhone would surprise me because it would have so few new or significantly innovative features compared to what's already available from Canon, Nikon and the rest. Apple is not known for introducing new products with old established features... they are known for introducing products which change lives. Instead of the same old DSLR design with a couple computational features extracted from an iPhone, imagine how visual capture could be integrated into something smaller and less intrusive, with greater connectivity to other parts of our life. But they've already done that with the iPhone.

The future is always hard to predict with a company like Apple because they invariably introduce products which we didn't know we needed. Imagine how a new product would alter the way that we work, play and interact with other people. That's always been Apple's focus.

We have already seen this in 2013 from Sony and Samsung. Sony made two camera clip on modules with optical zoom and Samsung made compact camera with the ability to use it as smartphone... This was 10 years ago. It is the next step.

Easiest solution for Apple in that scenario is to buy Canon or Nikon etc. They certainly have more than enough cash to do that.