Apple, Inc., is currently running a series of extremely beautiful commercials whose theme is quite simple: “Every day, more pictures are taken on an iPhone than any other camera”. This is marketing at its very highest level. An overpriced telephone is facing severe competition from a number of directions, so pitch it instead as a camera. And use honest “facts” so that no one can accuse you of lying about anything. Fair enough.
There is a hook, however. The iPhone is a portable communication device which happens to include a fixed focus, fixed aperture, lens and a light sensor, which can write to the same memory in the unit on which you also store your contacts, your saved messages, your music and miscellaneous data. It is not really a camera, not even a camera in the sense of Geoorge Eastman’s legendary Box Brownie of 1890. The iPhone is being used, and touted, for the same usage as the old Kodak. It is capable of satisfying the need for a simple record of an event or a place at a moment in time. That is no small matter; humans, even Neandertals, have been satisfying that need for thousands of years in some form or another. The Kodak Brownie was the first mass market device to do so, and people have been saving and collecting this type of image for more than a hundred years, to a degree not ever imagined by our forebears. Continue reading