ISight Stories March 10, 2016

When Apple posted the Messages Beta for the Mac over four years ago, I knew I would feel right at home. iChat was long overdue for an upgrade, and bringing iMessage to the Mac would further bridge the divide between iOS and Mac OS X. I was excited to start messaging my friends and family from the comfort of my computer, until I realized, “Where’s the camera button?”

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ISight Stories December 18, 2015

iPhone 6 iSight camera

Flickr today released their list of most popular cameras and brands used for photos shared on their site this year, and it’s no surprise that Apple’s iPhone continues to top the list. The iPhone 6 alone tops the list of most popular camera on Flickr in 2015, accounting for 5% of all photographers on the photo sharing site this year. Various models of the iPhone from 2015 and earlier still in use take 8 out of the 20 slots on the top camera list this year. In total, Apple-branded cameras made up 18.52% of ones used on the service this year.

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ISight Stories October 2, 2015

Live Photo Still Linked to this still iPhone 6s Plus photo are both motion and audio that further capture the moment
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Live Photo Still

Linked to this still iPhone 6s Plus photo are both motion and audio that further capture the moment

Live Photos aren’t perfect. The video shot in a Live Photo is a mediocre 12 frames per second, compared to the 30fps iPhones generally capture. Low-light photos are noticeably less vibrant when Live Photos are enabled. Shoot a Live Photo in the wrong orientation then rotate it, and you’ll revert back to a standard photo. Sharing Live Photos is fairly fragmented by Apple standards, even on Macs running the latest versions of OS X El Capitan. And it’s not easy to frame the perfect Live Photo; great ones tend to happen by chance, not technique.

But despite obvious day one omissions in the Live Photo experience, I’m honestly quite surprised at just how much I appreciate the new iPhone 6s/6s Plus feature. Using my iPhone 6s Plus for a full week now, my take on Live Photos has evolved from “curious but confused” to “I get it but when should I use it?” to wishing I had Live Photos years ago. Read on for how I believe Apple can improve the Live Photos experience and how the new iPhone 6s feature has changed my approach to shooting photos and videos… expand full story

ISight Stories September 18, 2015

iphone-6s-ralph-lauren

Update, Sept. 19: Vogue originally posted the wrong photos. They’ve now been updated with the correct images shot on iPhone 6s Plus.

Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus won’t officially arrive for customers until September 25th, but Apple is giving the upgraded camera on the devices a real world test drive at New York Fashion Week. It appears Apple handed over a few of the unreleased phones to Vogue and they enlisted photographer Kevin Lu to shoot the show entirely with the new iPhone. expand full story

ISight Stories September 2, 2015

Apple Unveils iPhone 6

Starting with the iPhone 3GS, every new iPhone has started with 16GB of storage as a base model — a capacity that has come under increasing fire as both videos and apps have grown in size. Despite new capabilities and the presence of 4K video recording in the new iPhones, sources say that the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will retain the same storage tiers as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. On-contract pricing will also be the same as the 2014 models: $199, $299, and $399 for the iPhone 6S, versus $299, $399, and $499 for the iPhone 6S Plus. We previously posted images of pre-production next-generation iPhone components that indicated that the 16GB option could remain.

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ISight Stories August 26, 2015

iphonecameras

Apple has called the iPhone “the world’s most popular camera,” a title originally earned by aggregating all iPhones together for counting purposes. But while the exact sales numbers for each iPhone model are difficult to quantify, there’s no question that Apple has already sold over 750 million iPhones, and well over 100 million iPhone 6 devices. Those are huge numbers, and well beyond the typical sales of individual point-and-shoot cameras.

Few people appreciate that growing iPhone demand has created an unusual challenge for Apple: reliably sourcing the tens of millions of parts needed to meet first month demand for tens of millions of iPhones. To that end, Apple’s camera maker Sony had to upgrade its manufacturing plants twice this year to produce more of the CMOS image sensors needed for smartphones including the iPhone. Even with a partner as large as Sony, however, iPhone-specific engineering requirements and the risk inherent in brand new technologies have led Apple to hold off on using the latest and greatest camera innovations in its devices. Instead, iPhones go with thin, lower-resolution sensors that offer great overall image quality for their size, and never eclipse rivals on raw specs.

So what can we realistically expect from the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus cameras next month? Here are my educated guesses…

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ISight Stories June 10, 2015

iPhone 6 Camera

Code found in the first iOS 9 developer betas reveals that Apple is planning to support some significant camera features and upgrades with the new software version. Presumably planned for the next iPhone hardware version, developer Hamza Sood has discovered code in iOS 9 that reveals support for long-awaited changes to the front-facing FaceTime camera. According to the code, iOS 9 adds support for a FaceTime camera with 1080p video capture, up from the current 720p camera on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus… expand full story

ISight Stories May 26, 2015

iphone-6-protruding-camera

A trio of new rumors from a handful of Asian sources have popped up over the holiday and today, each predicting a different facet of the upcoming ‘iPhone 6S‘. While these are still just very unverified whispers at the moment, odds are that at least one of these will end up coming at least partially true.

Here’s a roundup of the latest iPhone rumors, in no particular order:

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ISight Stories April 14, 2015

LinX

Apple has reportedly bought Israel-based camera technology firm LinX Computational Imaging Ltd, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, the acquisition may have been for an estimated $20 million.

LinX specializes in producing “miniature multi-aperture cameras designed for mobile devices.” Apple’s motivation for purchasing the firm would clearly be to improve the camera technology on mobile devices including the iPhone. expand full story

ISight Stories November 7, 2014

iPad mini in Silver or Space Gray: $199 shipped or pickup at Walmart ($50 off)

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Walmart offers Apple’s iPad mini (non-Retina) in new condition either Space Gray or Silver for $199 shipped or ship to store. That’s $50 off Apple’s current price (though Walmart mistakenly says $100 off last year’s price) and tied with the lowest price we’ve ever seen. A nice pickup for the same price as the iPod touch. Features:

  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit display
  • A5 chip
  • 5MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording
  • FaceTime camera
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life *
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

These often sell out pretty quickly so you might want to jump in early.

ISight Stories October 17, 2014

store

The online Apple Store is down as Apple readies the site to take pre-orders of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

The iPad Air 2 is 18% thinner than the original Air, adds Touch ID, M8 motion-sensing chip and an AX8 processor that Apple says is 40% faster than the previous model. It also has camera and wifi improvements, and is available in gold …  expand full story

ISight Stories September 22, 2014

iPhone 6 Camera

With the release of iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, a ton of new video shooting features are now available to iPhonographers including Time-lapse mode, 240-fps Slow-mo mode, 60-fps HD capture, and Cinematic Video Stabilization. Apple demoed some of these video shooting features earlier this month at the September event, and the iPhone 6 camera microsite includes sample videos of each mode.

With Apple selling over 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets from pre-sales and launch weekend, we’re likely to see a more and more incredible videos shot on Apple’s new devices, and below we’ve put together a collection of some of the best videos shot in each mode from early iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus adopters. expand full story

ISight Stories July 1, 2014

Apple’s new & cheaper 16GB iPod touch with rear camera goes international

Apple has launched the cheaper 16GB version of the iPod touch with a 5 megapixel iSight camera internationally. The new iPod also comes in the same Space Gray, Silver, Pink, Yellow, Blue, and (Product) RED models as the 32GB and 64GB configurations. The new 16GB player first launched in the United States last week, but today marks the first time that the units are available at Apple’s sales channels across the world. The pricing of the 16GB iPod touch is now local equivalents to $199, which is a reduction from $229. The device is shipping within 24 hours from several online stores, including the ones for the U.K., France, Italy, and Germany.

ISight Stories June 26, 2014

screen-shot-2014-06-26-at-13-33-35Apple has updated its Online Store with a new $199 iPod touch, discontinuing the frontside-only $229 iPod touch in the process. The new 16 GB iPod touch, which ships today, is now almost identical to the 32 GB and 64 GB models, including a rear camera. However, it seems that the $9 loop accessory is not bundled with the $199 model. Customers wanting the loop will have to purchase it separately. Incidentally, this means that the 16 GB SKU is now available in the same color choices as the more expensive sizes, no longer limited to only Space Gray.

The prices for the 32 GB and 64 GB model have also fallen. The 32 GB model now costs $249 (down from $299) and the 64 GB model costs $299 (from $399), a significant $100 drop.

These new price points aren’t particularly shocking or unprecedented since we have seen better prices for both models within the past couple of months. Staples ran a 1-day sale that yielded the 32GB iPod touch for $224 and the 64GB iPod touch for $299. Also, the new retail prices have prompted Apple to drop refurbished prices. The 32GB model is now $199 (down from $219) and the 64GB model is now $239 (down from $299). The 16GB model without a rear camera is now just $149 refurbished (down from $189). As always, make sure you are following 9to5Toys to keep up with the best prices for everything Apple.

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ISight Stories February 11, 2014

iphone-5s-hero-xl-201311

Sony is positioned to dramatically increase its sales of CMOS cameras to Apple for use in an unreleased iPhone, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Sony already supplies most of the rear-facing iSight cameras shipping on iPhones today, and as the report suggests, negotiations between Sony and Apple to double the amount of CMOS sensors supplied points to Sony also providing the sensor for the front-facing iPhone camera… expand full story

ISight Stories January 9, 2014

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 in 2010, Apple began focusing heavily on the device’s camera as an area for continuous improvement and promotion. That device featured a 5 MP backside camera, and the next three models (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s) featured an 8 MP iSight camera with various improvements along the way.

That pixel count may not change according to a report from The China Post (via MacRumors) which cites financial group Nomura Securities and falling shares of Largen Precision Company.

According to Nomura Securities (野村證券), Largan’s recently lagging performance in the market is caused by rumors that Apple may adopt an 8 mega-pixel (MP) camera with improved optical image stabilization on its upcoming handset, instead of the 16 MP upgrade anticipated by industry observers.

While the report leaves room to speculate a minor bump in pixel count could see the light of day, it’s not too farfetched to believe Apple’s successor to the iPhone 5s could resist increasing pixel count in favor of further improving optical performance with low light and high dynamic range capturing… expand full story

ISight Stories December 19, 2013

Miss Teen USA spied on via MacBook camera while indicator light was off

The Washington Post reports that when a high school classmate of Cassidy Wolf (aka Miss Teen USA) spied on her via the iSight camera in her MacBook, he did so using software that allowed him to keep the green indicator light off while viewing.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University were able to replicate the exploit, demonstrated in the above video, but only on MacBook and iMac models released before 2008.

Stephen Checkoway, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins and a co-author of the study. “Apple went to some amount of effort to make sure that the LED would turn on whenever the camera was taking images,” Checkoway says. The 2008-era Apple products they studied had a “hardware interlock” between the camera and the light to ensure that the camera couldn’t turn on without alerting its owner […]

In a paper called “iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED,” Brocker and Checkoway describe how to reprogram the iSight camera’s micro-controller to allow the camera and light to be activated independently. That allows the camera to be turned on while the light stays off.

While this particular exploit appears limited to older Macbooks, it was recently revealed through court papers that the FBI has the ability to do the same thing with a variety of current laptops including Apple products.

ISight Stories October 2, 2013

iPad-camera

With Apple’s rumored next-generation iPads expected to be launching as early as this month, often reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is sharing some new details on the expected iPad 5 and second generation iPad mini. Kuo is still expecting both products to launch later this year sometime in 4Q13, but in his latest report claims that Apple is prepping a camera upgrade for the new iPads that would include a bump up from the current 5 megapixel iSight camera to 8 megapixels along with other improvements:

Apple could upgrade the camera as a selling point for the new iPad in a bid to increase competitiveness.

We expect the upgrade will include 8MP rear camera, up from 5MP, and larger aperture. Lens module ASP will rise 10-20% on this optics spec upgrade.

As a reminder, the new iPhone 5s includes a new five-element lens designed by Apple that also includes a larger a F2.2 aperture with an 8 megapixel sensor. The device also brings a sensor with a 15 percent larger active area, auto stabilization, and bigger 1.5 micron pixels.

That would indeed be a nice camera to put on iPads. expand full story

ISight Stories September 17, 2013

Apple announced last week that Burberry would be capturing its London fashion show that took place yesterday entirely with its new iPhone 5s, and today Burberry has posted the full video of the event. There’s no mention whether or not the full 15 minute long video above has been retouched after being shot on the iPhone, but Apple and Burberry say the entire show, including photos and video, was “shot exclusively on iPhone 5s.”

We’ve seen a few shots leak throughout the week already, but Pocket-Lint has an inside look at how Burberry’s photographers shot the show using 14 different iPhones and an interview with Burberry’s creative director Christopher Bailey: expand full story

In case we’d forgotten, Apple reminds us the 5s and 5c arrive on Friday …

Apple has issued a press release ‘announcing’ that the iPhone 5s and 5c go on sale on Friday. Phew.

Apple® today announced that iPhone® 5s, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world and iPhone 5c, the most colorful iPhone yet, will be available to customers on Friday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. local time at Apple retail stores and at 12:01 a.m. PDT at the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com). iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK.

For the 5s, Apple highlights the A7 processor, iSight camera with True Tone flash, and Touch ID. For the 5c, which appears in a new ad, the focus is unsurprisingly on the new design ‘packed with features we all know and love.’ Both handsets, says Apple, “offer more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world.”

In the US, the new iPhones will be available through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, select Best Buy, RadioShack, Target and Walmart stores and Apple Authorized Resellers – though you may have to be quick if you hope to grab a 5s on launch day.

Despite encouraging signs on pre-orders for both 5s and 5c, the lack of any hard numbers, coupled with no official word still on a China Mobile deal, is causing a certain degree of nervousness on Wall Street, and it’s notable that the PR provides neither.

Full press release below the fold …  

ISight Stories May 30, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 4.07.20 AM

Late Wednesday night, Apple quietly removed the fourth-generation iPod touch from their online store, replacing it instead with a modified version of the current generation. The new model features only a few differences from the fifth-gen, but the omissions are significant. expand full story

ISight Stories April 23, 2013

The iPhone lockscreen hasn’t changed much in the past six versions of iOS, with the exception of the addition of a camera slider. Atom is a new jailbreak tweak that seeks to completely redesign the lockscreen and add new functionality, and it does not disappoint.

Keep reading to find out how Atom can make your lockscreen even more useful.

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ISight Stories November 5, 2012

iPad mini window display from NorthStar Mall, San Antonio (via @alanweinkrantz)

Apple just announced 3 million new iPads sold in just three days, doubling its previous first weekend record of 1.5 million Wi-Fi-only units sold for the iPad 3 launch.  Apple is of course not including cellular iPad models in its numbers, but it confirmed those models “will ship in a few weeks in the US and in many more countries later this year.” CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company is “practically sold out of iPad minis,” and he noted it is “working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”

“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We’re working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”

However, Apple did not specify how many of the 3 million iPads sold were made up of iPad 4 and iPad mini units. Apple also said in the press release that many pre-orders for new iPads have already shipped, but some are “scheduled to be shipped later this month.”

Apple’s full press release is below:

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ISight Stories October 23, 2012

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller is now live on stage at the company’s special media event in California, and he just unveiled the new iPad mini.

“The iPad mini is every inch an iPad,” announced Schiller.

The iPad mini is the much-rumored smaller tablet from Apple, and it just debuted at 7.9 inches and .68 pounds.

“It’s as light as a pad of paper,” Schiller added.

The new Apple-branded tablet boasts a 1,024-by-768-pixel resolution, like the previous-generation 9.7-inch iPad models, but it has a 7.2mm-thick aluminum shell that is 53 percent lighter and 23 percent thinner. The iPad mini also has a dual-core Apple A5 processor, a 5-megapixel iSight camera, 802.11n Wi-Fi, LTE capability, Lightning connector, and a 10-hour battery life. The base model

Full iPad mini specs:

  • Comes in Wi-FI and Wi-Fi+ Cellular models
  • 7.2mm thick— 23 percent thinner, “as thin as a pencil,” etc.
  • 53 percent lighter, 0.68 lbs, “as light as a pad of paper,” etc.
  • Colors: black with slate, white with silver
  • 7.9-inch diagonal
  • Exact same pixels as previous-generation iPad: 1,024-by-768—all software works unchanged 
  • 163 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Bezels: made of aluminum, where as Android is plastic (Schiller comparing iPad mini to Nexus 7)
  • FaceTime HD camera: 1.2MP photos, 720p HD video, FaceTime video calling over Wi-Fi or cellular, Face detection, Backside illumination
  • 5MP iSight camera: 5MP photos, Autofocus, Face detection, Backside illumination, Five-element lens, Hybrid IR filter, ƒ/2.4 aperture
  • Video recording: 1080p HD video recording, Video stabilization, Face detection, and Backside illumination
  • 802.11a/b/g/n, Ultrafast LTE wireless
  • Battery: Built-in 16.3-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, charging via power adapter or USB to computer system, 10 hours of battery life (ad: “largest and thinnest single-cell battery we have ever designed”)
  • Dual-core A5
  • Lightning connector, 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack, built-in speaker, microphone
  • Supports AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV (second and third-generation) at 720p and AirPlay video streaming to Apple TV (third-generation) at up to 1080p and Apple TV (second-generation) at up to 720p
  • Get more details at Apple’s website.

Go to 9to5Mac’s full coverage of the iPad mini for more information on pricing and availability.

An image gallery is below.

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