Apple Working on Standalone Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera?


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

In Walter Isaacson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder was quoted as saying that his desires for the future involved the reinvention of three industries: television, textbooks, and photography. With Apple's iBooks Textbooks initiative for the iPad underway and the company reportedly working on television from both hardware and content sides, it has been unclear exactly what Jobs and Apple might have had in the works to address photography. Isaacson's biography did note that Jobs had met with the CEO of Lytro, creators of an innovative new light field camera system, although it is unclear how much direct interest Jobs and Apple had in Lytro's technology.

Earlier this week, iLounge released its comprehensive New iPad Buyers' Guide, an overview of accessories, apps and other information associated with the new iPad. As noted in the announcement about the guide's release, it includes a two-page spread arguing that Apple may be working on a camera product of some sort. According to iLounge, the speculation in the guide is informed by claims from a source, although the information was not considered reliable enough to make concrete assertions at the time.
Take special note of pages 152 and 153--"Making the case for a standalone iSight Camera." I'll share more on this topic shortly, but for now, I'll say that this two-page spread very nearly had a different title. We were tipped that this project is actually happening at Apple right now, but we didn't feel confident enough in our source to call it a certainty; it's therefore billed as speculation. Still, there's enough smoke to make us think there's a fire.

Excerpt from iLounge's New iPad Buyers' Guide speculation on a standalone camera
iLounge now appears to be becoming more confident in its belief that Apple is working on a standalone camera product, with Editor in Chief Jeremy Horwitz issuing a Tweet a short time ago reiterating the claim.
So, as briefly noted on Backstage, Apple appears to be working on a standalone camera - the third of three industries Jobs wanted to change.
While we've assumed that any advances by Apple in photography would most likely come via the iPhone given that many users are abandoning standalone point-and-shoot cameras for increasingly powerful cameras included on their smartphones, iLounge argues that Apple will look to remake the point-and-shoot market with new hardware and software that isn't constrained by the 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.
Apple had a partnership with Kodak in the mid-1990s to produce the QuickTake line of digital cameras, but the product line was discontinued upon Steve Jobs' 1997 return to the company as he sought to streamline Apple's business. The company has of course continued to work on camera technology, in large part with its line of accessory and integrated iSight cameras over the years, but there has been little evidence of an interest in returning to the standalone digital camera business.

It's hard to place much faith in the rumor at this point, and iLounge doesn't expect any Apple camera product to be introduced until after the long-rumored Apple television set makes its debut, but it does make for interesting discussion and we'll keep watching for any other signs of Apple's interest in photography products as time goes on.

Update: iLounge has now published an article outlining the circumstantial evidence for Apple's work on a standalone camera product.

Article Link: Apple Working on Standalone Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera?


macrumors regular
Feb 5, 2012
Not going to happen, they'll just make the iPhone camera better. (the 4S already has a camera comparable to most point and shoots.)
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macrumors member
Dec 30, 2011
There's not even the slightest chance they would do this.

Edit: After thinking about it further, iLounge could be right that Apple is developing a camera but not for a point and shoot. It could be something like Kinect and would be a companion device to the Apple TV.
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macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
1st a TV, now a Camera?

What next iWash and iDry kitchen appliances ?

iFlush :D
Aug 26, 2008
I hate the copy in that mockup. "Todays cameras confuse users with way too many options based on legacy concepts."

Is this really what its come to? Don't learn anything? Don't understand how anything works? Start insinuating that a skills based task is actually bad? This is the one mentality Apple has brought to the table that I loathe.


macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2007
While Apple has made an awesome camera in the iPhone 4 and 4S, I can't see them doing a point-and-shoot. People are already swaying away from P&S cameras because of phones like the iPhone.


macrumors 604
May 4, 2002
Go Vegan
I think Apple would rather sell you an iPhone or an iPod Touch with a camera built-in rather then a stand alone camera. Your average person doesn't go out and buy a camera every 2 years. Maybe a professional does.

My last camera I bought was in December 2011, before that I had a camera from 2006. I'm sure Apple could figure out a way for users to want to buy a new camera every year or 2 years, but it would be a difficult task. But maybe the refresh cycles will be longer... I guess the TV may give us a hint of things to come.


macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2009
I hope this never happens. Leave the cameras to companies like Nikon and Cannon please.
Yes, and leave the computer industry to IBM, the music player industry to Sony, the phone industry to Nokia, and the tablet industry to Microsoft. amiright? :rolleyes:

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple is researching these type things, but probably to apply to existing products.


macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
Please don't do this, Apple.

Just leave it alone.

If anyone, make a video console in the future.


macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2009
It would be cool if it was wifi-enabled and automatically uploaded everything to iCloud / iPhoto without hooking anything up.


macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
"Between the Hedges"
I love the camera on my 4s and I am much more likely to take pictures as a result of it
While I like the thought of a great stand alone camera or even a DSLR, the truth is, I really don't want to carry another device

Being able to quickly pull out my iPhone and shoot a great picture (to me) on the spot without planning is awesome for me

Sky Blue

Jan 8, 2005
It would be cool if it was wifi-enabled and automatically uploaded everything to iCloud / iPhoto without hooking anything up.
I would imagine that would be Apple's "hook". Not sure if it would be strong enough to get people to buy it in large numbers.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
If they do it, the digital camera market is going to be totally raped. But it doesn't make much sense in their ecosystem.

Big Dave

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2007
Crestview, Fl
I'm for this. Apple is in the business of examining current products and markets and finding solutions to their flaws. If Apple came out with a camera I bet I will be thinking... "Why didn't the other guys do this years ago?"


macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2011
Every good photographer knows that if you want the shot to come out good, you set it up yourself. Even decent DSLR bodies sometimes have a hard time correctly choosing settings in auto mode. For example, my DSLR has a pretty hard time getting the exposure correct in some pretty straight forward situations. I really don't know how they could expect to beat muti-thousand dollar equipment in a PS package.

Is this really what its come to? Don't learn anything? Don't understand how anything works? Start insinuating that a skills based task is actually bad? This is the one mentality Apple has brought to the table that I loathe.
I agree. Understanding the technical skills described, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, isn't really hard. After a little reading on the topic and some practice, anyone can get the skills learned quickly.


Jul 17, 2010
I would love an apple camera that won't allow me to use memory cards, but instead uses an internal memory that requires me to use Itunes to get my pictures. I am not sure which i would buy a 299 8gb, a 399 16gb, or a 499 32 gb version.....
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