Poll: Now that Nikon has gone Android, does Apple need to get into the camera business?

Nikon has announced a new Coolpix S800c digital pocket camera, but one with a twist -- it runs the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.. That means not only can you take photos, but once you've taken them, you can do pretty much anything with them you could do with smartphone photos, including processing them and sharing them to your favorite social networks.

Now the iPhone 4S already has a pretty great camera, and who knows what the iPhone 5 will be packing, so do dedicated point-and-shoots even matter anymore? And this Nikon will be running a relatively old version of Android, quite a bit behind the current Android 4.1 Jelly Bean that all our friends over at Android Central are raving about. So... should this even matter to Apple?

I don't see Apple licensing out iOS to Canon anytime soon, but I don't see them making a traditional, dedicated camera any more either. That's the past and Apple is all about the future. We asked our resident product rendering expert, John Anastasiadis, what he thought. The image above is what he came up with -- using an iPhone as the "brain" for a camera attachment. It would slide onto a next generation iPhone and add profoundly better optics to the already excellent internet connectivity and interface.

Apple's late co-founder, Steve Jobs famously said he wanted to revolutionize photography the way he had computers, phones, tablets, and music. Did he mean making a camera, or making Apple's existing digital devices better at photography than conventional cameras? Or something else entirely?

What do you think? Now that Nikon has gone Android, does Apple need to get into the camera business? Would you buy an iOS-powered camera from Apple? An iPhone camera attachment? Neither? Something else? Vote up top and let me know the details below!

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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Reader comments

Poll: Now that Nikon has gone Android, does Apple need to get into the camera business?

16 Comments

That does not look right it needs to be phone shaped anyways that's false because that guy is not vice president of design but he tried, right?

People don't use point and shoot cameras anymore, they just use their phones. As long as they keep improving the cameras in phones, there will be no need for the average person to even need a point and shoot camera.

I agree. Look at Nokia's 808 PureView 41 megapixel camera e.g.. Sure we will still have (semi) professional cameras, but the standard p+s camera will slowly disappear. Camera's on cellphones do need to evolve however. Imo quality is still average in comparison to most of the p+s cameras.

Apple's target audience is the general consumer.

And what do general consumers use? Camera phones or DSLRs?
I rest my case.

The rendering is very nice, but the lens depicted would never be appropriate for a camera phone. The diameter of a lens is directly related to the physical size of the sensor, and the depth of the camera body (more correctly, the distance between the sensor and the back of the lens.) Since iPhone's camera has an image circle of only around 5mm, you'd never need a lens that is more than about 5/8" wide. The lens in your rendering would be more appropriate for a camera with a full size DSLR size sensor.

Excellent point. Sensor size is the limiting factor for image quality, and a bigger lens or more pixels doesn't solve the problems related to sensor size. The current crop of sensors, when coupled with a decent lens, are good enough for what most P&S users want. - a picture good enough to email to friends or post on Facebook. They'll even make a decent regular print, but I'd bet 90% of the photos shot with phones are never printed. In short, add on lens are a solution without a problem.
Most photographers that need more than a phone camera are going to need a lerger sensor and probably have a dSLR anyway to meet their needs.
Trying to turn an iPhone into a camera really misses the point, which is it already more than mets the photographic needs of most users as well as the most pressing need of any photographer - you have a camera with you when you want a picture.

Back in the early 90s Apple actually had one of the very first digital consumer cameras on the market: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_QuickTake

Just like with the Newton they were too early to the game back then and now they'll probably just keep enhancing the iPhone camera, which makes way more sense anyway…

I'm with most here saying point and shoot cameras are already on their way out. In order for iPhone to outdo what they do now with their camera, it would require DSLR sensor sizes and lens sizes. Bottom line is that it just won't be happening any time soon. The idea of any OS on a camera beyond what is completely necessary is silly to me.

There is something the P&S cameras have over cellphone cameras: Optical zoom. Anyone who cares even a little about image quality will know that digital zoom sucks. For that reason alone, I would like to see something akin to an iOS camera. Or at least a zoom clip-on like the Olio, but with the ability to zoom IN, not merely make it a wide angle.

True photographers have cramers, lenses, basically expensive equiptment. The iPhone camera is great. It is usually with you, when your fancy camera is not. I do not see Apple making a camera only device. Is there a big enough market to risk the expense? Not sure on that.

Two things:

1. Answer to thread title: "They already did"

2. FIXED: "Now the iPhone 4S already IS a pretty great camera..."

one main reasons i have a smart phone it to NOT have a big bulky camera in my pocket. In fact i just stopped using it it was so bulky so i have no interest in such products.