In July 2008, Apple introduced the second-generation iPhone, which gave users the ability to download and install both paid and free native applications. Since then, nearly all new mobile devices have been equipped to support small applications, more commonly known as apps, made by either a third party or the original manufacturer, to add functionality to a device. Who doesn’t enjoy the ability to check their email, use iTunes, or tweet their status to the world while on the go?
What if, much like the smartphones that we use on a daily basis, our cameras were equipped to support aftermarket applications which added functionality and never-before seen levels of customization?
Imagine plugging our camera into a computer or using a Wi-Fi connection to download third-party apps for our cameras. Take for example, an intervalometer app. Rather than having to use clunky OEM software and oftentimes pricey components that are left to dangle haphazardly off of our cameras, we can pay $5 at the fictional Canon App Store or Nikon App Store and download a third party intervalometer. Using the camera’s LCD and built-in joystick and navigation buttons, we’re able to program our camera to take a shot every 10 seconds for the next two hours to make a time-lapse video.
How about an app that triggers the camera via sounds heard through the built-in microphone? The camera could be set to wake and fire when external sounds reach a user-specified decibel level. This would be incredibly handy in remote camera environments: nature photography, surveillance, or scientific applications where noise or danger levels are simply too much for humans to comfortably work in.
While not particularly useful for the seasoned pro or savvy enthusiast, what about a Hipstamatic or retro-camera app for DSLRs? They’ve proved unbelievably successful with the younger crowd on mobile devices, and I can only see a similar app for a DSLR being downloaded in enormous numbers to appeal to the point-and-shoot DSLR crowd (not that there is anything wrong with this).
Once third party (or even OEM) apps became a reality, it would seem that there would be no end in sight to the amount of tools that we could have at our disposal. How about an app that not only embeds the regular EXIF info with a photograph, but also includes details about off-camera lighting and flash power? Given the currently technology level seen in off-camera lighting solutions, this seems very feasible. Something like this would be infinitely useful for teaching and sharing.
Do you think that in-camera apps are a possibility? Do you have any ideas for apps that could be installed in the camera of tomorrow? We would love to hear your thoughts!