Apple's iPhone Software 4.0 suggests next-gen iPhone will have camera flash

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's plans for its forth-generation iPhone, due this summer, appear to include the addition of a camera flash that will improve the quality of snapshots and videos taken in dark scenarios or dimly-lit venues, AppleInsider has learned.



People familiarizing themselves with the first beta of iPhone Software 4.0, released following the conclusion of the company's special media event this morning, say the distribution includes a new framework that will give developers access to a wealth of new camera functions, such as the ability to control white balance and so forth.



Additionally, the framework includes three telling new functions labeled AVCaptureDevice.hasFlash, AVCaptureDevice.flashMode, and AVCaptureDevice.hasTorch. The first function appears as if it will check to see if an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad includes a camera flash while the second will activate flash mode. The third appears to be a reference to a flashlight function powered by the camera flash, or a "torch," as it is commonly referred to in the UK.



Word that Apple planned to include a flash in it's next-generation iPhone stretch back to January, when I reported that the Cupertino-based company was moving to procure such significant quantities of LED camera flash components that they could only be destined for the iPhone or iPod touch.



At the time, people familiar with Apple's initiative said the company was seeking allotments of LED camera flash components in the tens of millions for delivery during the 2010 calendar year, meaning future iPhones. Those same people said that Philips' Lumileds Lighting sector was believed to be the front-runner for Apple's business and may have already secured the design win.



The Amsterdam-based firm is well-regarded for its LUXEON LED camera flash technology, which was the first to combine the brightness of regular lighting with the long life and small footprint of LEDs. The technology is commonly coupled with 5+ megapixel cameras and has seen shipments of over 200 million units worldwide.



A flash isn't the only improvement to the iPhone's camera expected this summer when the new hardware arrives. It's been rumored that OmniVision, the supplier of CMOS image sensors for the iPhone, has secured a deal to supply upwards of 45 million 5-megapixel camera sensors for the next-generation handset.



The lack of camera flash technology has long stood as one of the iPhone's glaring omissions. Although the handset's existing 3.2 megapixel camera produces surprisingly sharp and vibrant images when employed in sun-drenched scenes and aptly lit venues, its lack of flash often leads to disappointing, dark and grainy photographs in more dimly-lit scenarios.



Say cheese: iPhone with flash mockup, source unknown.



In making the jump to the iPhone 3GS last spring, Apple was content in focusing on enhancements to the overall user experience of its mobile phone to maintain its high level of satisfaction amongst consumers. Improvements to the device's camera technology were limited to an updated image sensor capable of capturing 1.1 more megapixels, and software technology to improve the quality of motion photos and those taken in poor lighting.



Despite these changes, clarity in photos taken indoors and at nighttime continue to elude users, often leading to frustrating results or images that are completely blacked out. A move by Apple to build flash technology into future versions of the iPhone makes more sense now than ever, especially given the increasing popularity of the device as an impulse point-and-shoot camera, as well as rising competition from rival handset makers who count camera flash technology and 5-megapixel sensors on their handsets as an advantage over the iPhone.



For example, Palm's Pre, Motorola's Droid and Google's new Nexus One each ship with LED flash technology. And in the case of the the latter two, both include image sensors suited for capturing 5-megapixels compared to the 3.2-megapixel sensor on the iPhone 3GS.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Font is incorrect after the image.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    great finally flash!

    maybe optical zoom sometime in the future also :P
  • Reply 3 of 35
    jetlife2jetlife2 Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The third appears to be a reference to a flashlight function powered by the camera flash, or a "torch," as it is commonly referred to in the UK.







    As George Bernard Shaw said "Two peoples separated by a common language".
  • Reply 4 of 35
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    torch for video
  • Reply 5 of 35
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    I thought HTML5 was going to obviate the need for Flash. Oh, wait...



    Perhaps this is why SJ thinks that Flash runs down the battery on an iPhone :-)
  • Reply 6 of 35
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rhyde View Post


    I thought HTML5 was going to obviate the need for Flash. Oh, wait...



    Perhaps this is why SJ thinks that Flash runs down the battery on an iPhone :-)



    Yeah that is one thing that HTML5 won't be doing any time soon is access the video camera like Flash can.
  • Reply 7 of 35
    nanoakronnanoakron Posts: 122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jetlife2 View Post


    As George Bernard Shaw said "Two peoples separated by a common language".



    Well, it's neither a burning rag soaked in flammable liquid, nor is it a periodically repeating incandescent source, so looks like we're both wrong...







    -Nano.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 863member
    Most built-in flashes on cameras are terrible. Anyone have experience with one built-in to a phone? Are they really that important? Currently I recompose the shot to match the hardware I've got.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    N.D.A.? N.D.Shmeah.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    jonnybjonnyb Posts: 64member
    It's very sweet of you but we didn't need a translation of flashlight. We familiar enough with US TV and movies to know what you mean.



    It doesn't work quite so well in reverse though, I often translate on the fly when I'm conversing in the US so I don't get blank looks when I use words like pavement, roundabout and tube.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    i believe Steve announced 5x optical zoom today.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    If it doesn't have flash, it will be very disappointed.
  • Reply 13 of 35
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    the torch mode is for when they can't figure out how to make the new cameras take still pictures and market them only as video cameras.
  • Reply 14 of 35
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,138moderator
    if not AVCaptureDevice.hasFlash():

    window.location = "http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/";



    A Flash is a great addition to the iPhone and overdue. 720p H.264 video recording with digital zoom while recording would be nice. Optical zoom isn't going to happen obviously as it means mechanically moving the lens.



    It would be cool if the Apple logo was like the white logo on the Macbooks with the light shining out from behind. The plastic would help diffuse the light to avoid horrible specular highlights in pictures.



    They could do with allowing cut in the video editing mode too rather than just trim with the option of 3 transitions: fade in/out of black, jump-cut or dissolve.



    The 4G iPhone is certainly going to be a great device. If they get the A4 in there with some better display tech, the camera + multi-tasking + iBooks, there's not much else left to do while it's strictly viewed as a phone.



    In future, if they get 32-64GB Nano-SSD, dual 1-2GHz CPU 512MB-1GB RAM, display output, storage access, the phone can be your phone, your desktop, your slate, your set-top box, everything some people will ever need - that's your netbook killer right there. 85 million and counting.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nautilus. View Post


    i believe Steve announced 5x optical zoom today.



    No, digital zoom.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    if not AVCaptureDevice.hasFlash():

    window.location = "http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/";



    A Flash is a great addition to the iPhone and overdue. 720p H.264 video recording with digital zoom while recording would be nice. Optical zoom isn't going to happen obviously as it means mechanically moving the lens.



    It would be cool if the Apple logo was like the white logo on the Macbooks with the light shining out from behind. The plastic would help diffuse the light to avoid horrible specular highlights in pictures.



    They could do with allowing cut in the video editing mode too rather than just trim with the option of 3 transitions: fade in/out of black, jump-cut or dissolve.



    The 4G iPhone is certainly going to be a great device. If they get the A4 in there with some better display tech, the camera + multi-tasking + iBooks, there's not much else left to do while it's strictly viewed as a phone.



    In future, if they get 32-64GB Nano-SSD, dual 1-2GHz CPU 512MB-1GB RAM, display output, storage access, the phone can be your phone, your desktop, your slate, your set-top box, everything some people will ever need - that's your netbook killer right there. 85 million and counting.



    You're drinking the koolaid if you think they're going to release a 4G version of the phone this iteration... or even next iteration... In fact, the craziness of what you just posted is so out of touch with reality, I'm left slightly bewildered. None of the far fetched stats you just posted for a future release will be in the upgrade path. Apple has gone on record as saying that their differentiating factor will always be software, so you can expect them to only trail further and further behind the competition as time goes by because they are intending to charge a premium for the hardware based on the software it runs(and its warranted, except that android is not crap despite what apple zealots might say).
  • Reply 17 of 35
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    neato burrito
  • Reply 18 of 35
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post


    You're drinking the koolaid if you think they're going to release a 4G version of the phone this iteration... or even next iteration... In fact, the craziness of what you just posted is so out of touch with reality, I'm left slightly bewildered. None of the far fetched stats you just posted for a future release will be in the upgrade path. Apple has gone on record as saying that their differentiating factor will always be software, so you can expect them to only trail further and further behind the competition as time goes by because they are intending to charge a premium for the hardware based on the software it runs(and its warranted, except that android is not crap despite what apple zealots might say).



    Next iPhone won't have 4G because of the simple fact that there is no widely available 4G network yet. Even Sprint doesn't have 4G in most states yet. If apple makes a 4G iPhone, only maybe 12 states will be able to benefit from it.



    You are drinking a lot of koolaid if you think that's just because apple wants to charge a premium for their software.

    but then again you have no problem with google parsing all your data that goes through their server, so maybe you really are drinking a lot of koolaid.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jonnyb View Post


    It's very sweet of you but we didn't need a translation of flashlight. We familiar enough with US TV and movies to know what you mean.



    It doesn't work quite so well in reverse though, I often translate on the fly when I'm conversing in the US so I don't get blank looks when I use words like pavement, roundabout and tube.



    It was probably also for the benefit of Americans who don't know what a "torch" is...besides the thing you use to hunt down the Frankenstein monster.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post


    You're drinking the koolaid if you think they're going to release a 4G version of the phone this iteration... or even next iteration... In fact, the craziness of what you just posted is so out of touch with reality, I'm left slightly bewildered. None of the far fetched stats you just posted for a future release will be in the upgrade path. Apple has gone on record as saying that their differentiating factor will always be software, so you can expect them to only trail further and further behind the competition as time goes by because they are intending to charge a premium for the hardware based on the software it runs(and its warranted, except that android is not crap despite what apple zealots might say).



    By 4G I believe he meant 4th Generation iPhone.
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