According to Adam Lashinsky, author of the upcoming book, Inside Apple, the late Steve Jobs arranged a meeting with Ren Ng, a Stanford graduate and the CEO of the incredible Lytro light-field camera company.
The company’s CEO, Ren Ng, a brilliant computer scientist with a PhD from Stanford, immediately called Jobs, who picked up the phone and quickly said, “if you’re free this afternoon maybe we would could get together.” Ng, who is thirty-two, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of Lytro’s technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs’s request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he’d like Lytro to do with Apple.
Lytro, if you've not heard of them, uses radical new imaging technology that involves capturing the entire light field into one single file. Edits can then be made post-production, including refocusing the image or any portion of it.
Given the nature of their technology and how it works, it all seems like something Steve Jobs would have been interested in, especially when you consider the amount of attention Apple gave to how the iPhone 4S camera worked.
According to Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs had three things he wanted to reinvent - the television, textbooks and photography. We've bared witness to the beginning of one of those things at Apple's education event with the introduction of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author for Mac OS X. And Apple Television has been rumored for a while now.
One could argue that Steve Jobs and Apple have already changed the photography world with each iteration of the iPhone, as the cameras got better with each new release. The the iPhone 4S has an 8 megapixel camera equipped with a fast f/2.4 lens, and is certainly capable of taking great shots and that photo taking ability has caused some folks to drop their point & shoot cameras and strictly use their iPhone for shots as needed.
Could we see a portion of Lytro's camera technology in the some iteration of the iPhone and possibly even the iPad? It's quite possible - but we'll have to hold on for that. One meeting does not a next-generation iPhone 5 camera make.
- Inside Apple - Amazon link