We’ve already become a culture obsessed with the image. From Kodak brownie cameras to a high-resolution smartphone camera in every pocket, the current internet age has produced a vertical fuck load of image data, all filtering through social networks like Instagram or Facebook, not to mention Flickr and Picasa.
Let’s not overlook one detail in today’s iPhone 5 launch: the Panorama.
Sure, there are already a ton of third party apps out there that allow us to take panoramic photos. But none are built into the vanilla install of the iPhone, the camera we all have in our pockets. Now everyone is going to be taking these monstrous images–28 megapixels in the Apple keynote this morning–and they’re going to want to share them.
What kind of effect will this have on our collective understanding of image on the internet? I’m willing to bet that we’re going to start expecting our photos to include more visual information as more and more people get their hands on this new iPhone. All the hosting sites will need to support these larger, wider picture formats. Facebook, Instagram, and any new savvy startup could come in and win the photo sharing game with some fast panoramic support.
Just like the transition from 4:3 to 16:9 televisions, this new, quiet development on the iPhone 5 will most likely happen subtly but inexorably. Personally, I can’t wait.
It comes down to this: Apple is the best at making technology simpler and easier to use than its competitors. Its success in the personal device market is a direct result of their efforts in that direction. The goal has always been to make tech for people to use, simply and without fuss. With the iPhone 5 and the new iPod touch offering a chimp-simple way to capture and share panoramic photos, our collective understanding of what a photo “is” is going to change.