The iPhone and Instagram get credit for being the first shoot-and-share social network, but even Steve Jobs would say that’s wrong. The Polaroid camera introduced a social component to taking pictures in the late 1940s, the first instant photography with three steps — shoot, shake and share.
Polaroid brought disruptive innovation to the market and also became a casualty of it when it failed to change course in time to be part of the digital photography revolution.
But a new version of Polaroid is thriving and even stirring up some buzz this week at CES in Las Vegas with new products covering iPhone photography, consumer 3D printing, camera drones and fun cameras that produce an on-the-spot print.
Each week we share great deals on standout products and lessons, but some deals are greater and standout-er than others. To make sure you get a shot and the best of the best, every Sunday we’ll be posting a roundup of the especially special deals we find each week. This week, we’re reminding you of a wearable that makes sure you never miss a call, lessons in ethical hacking, a tough and classy iPhone wallet, and a camera that revives the Polaroid format.
If the fear of loss doesn’t persuade you to print the pictures on your smartphone, perhaps your curiosity about cool gadgets will. In this case, consider the Polaroid ZIP photo printer.
It is a tiny ink-free printer slightly bigger than a deck of cards that, with an easy-to-use app, lets you make small prints from your phone or tablet. The photos are the size of a business card, adding charm and fun to the photo sharing experience.
The Polaroid Snap is a new 10-megapixel camera that instantly prints out photos you take without any ink. It works with ZINK paper that produces 2-inch-by-3-inch prints and essentially lets you keep physical copies of photos you’d put on Instagram and probably quickly forget about.
Legendary German camera maker Leica spent nearly 20 years patenting technology that would take focusing out of the hands of photographers. As with the 35 mm still camera the company created in 1925, Leica stood ready to once again revolutionize photography, this time with an autofocus system.
But after spending the last part of the 1970s working on prototypes, Leica dropped plans to bring autofocus to consumers. Leica figured its customers already knew how to focus their cameras.
“There’s an element of truth in that,” said Heinz Richter, who was a member of the Leica Historical Society of America when he held one of the first autofocus cameras at a meeting in Minneapolis in 1980. “Leica used to be an extremely conservative company. The autofocus mechanism as they were available then didn’t fit into the company’s ideal of precise focusing.”
I think we can all agree that the iPhone and other smartphone cameras have been a boon for photography. For the first time in history, the vast majority of people have an incredibly powerful camera in their pockets at all time. Because of this, our age will be the most well-documented age in history. And that’s awesome. But some critics claim that because we can take as many pictures as we want now, we give a lot less thought to what they shoot, and how, than they did when they had to measure out each and every shot.
That’s why I love this new app for iOS, White Album. It basically makes a disposable camera out of your iPhone. But don’t worry, you don’t have to throw your iPhone away when you stop using the app.
These days, the closest most iPhone owners come to experiencing what it’s like to take a picture on a Polaroid instant camera is loading up the Instagram app. But a new startup is hoping to bring a built-in instant printer to your iPhone by way of a Polaroid style case, with a little dash of augmented reality on top
Although the vast majority of us now take for granted being able to carry super powerful cameras around in our pockets at all times, there’s still something joyful about taking a photograph and having it instantly print out, creating a physical artifact of a moment.
Over the last few years, Fujifilm’s Instax series of Polaroid-like cameras have managed to capture that joy in a number of ways, but their newest gadget melds the strengths of the Polaroid with the flexibility of an iPhone.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – The truth of the matter is that there’s just no way to have a telescopic lens phallically jutting out of the back of your iPad in a way that Jony Ive’s sense of dignity in design would approve of. Props to Polaroid, then, for not even trying, instead going a more playful route with their brand new line-up of iPad, iPhone and iPad mini cases that support snap-on external lenses.
I can’t remember the last time I picked up a proper camera and took a photograph; every picture I take these days is on a smartphone. The problem with that is, I usually end up transferring them to my Mac, and then that’s where they stay. Forever. Making good quality prints isn’t as easy as it should be.
Polaroid is hoping to change that. The company has announced that is to open a bunch of new Fotobar stores across the United States that are dedicated to printing your smartphone snaps. You can pop in, upload your pictures, edit them, and then print them.
Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
Today, we’re looking at last-minute stocking stuffers. To be honest, if you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, you should really be out hitting the malls today. But seeing as you’re here reading this instead, here are a few ideas.
If you’re looking for that retro-nostalgic Polaroid-style experience from your iPhone, you could wait till March of next year and purchase one of those fancy soon-to-be-in-production Instagram Socialmatic cameras. That’s if they actually come to fruition.
Or, you could try out Polatax, an unfortunately named photo filter app that builds itself around the concept of Polaroid-like photos.
Steve Jobs was irreplaceable, but he does have his analogs. Driven, charismatic men who created their own companies based upon their ability to imagine a complete product that had never existed — “a perfect new product, whole, already manufactured sitting before him” — and spend tireless years to bring it to the world.
One of those analogues was Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid. And the number of parallels between his life and Steve Jobs’s life were incredible.
If you’re going to add retro-style filter effects to your photos, then you might as well use Instant, a new app for the iPad (and Mac) which goes the whole way: not only does it Instagrammatificate your images, but it forces you to watch the results pop out of a Polaroid camera, and then you have to wait for the pictures to “develop.”
Which is not to say that I don’t like the app. In fact, it turns out to be rather excellent.
At one time, deep back in the swirling mists of time, Polaroid was like the Apple of photography, not only making the best stuff but also inventing new ways to do things. Now, the brand is nothing but a label slapped onto a bunch of crap by the current owner.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing amazing going on in the analog instant film world. Take a look at the Impossible Project’s FPU (Film Processing Unit), an amazing gadget that marries your iPhone to real, instant analog photos.
Ahh, Polaroid – how far you have fallen. Once a true icon, an essential tool for photographers and a medium for many artists, as well as being the only way to take dirty photos without getting arrested at the processing lab.
Now you are stuck licensing your name and Logo to any cowboy who wants to stick a crappy ZINK (zero-ink) printer inside a box with a cellphone camera.
As my esteemed colleague Charlie pointed out yesterday, Polaroid releasing an “official” app that takes Polaroid-style pictures now is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Then returned, bolted again, walked at a leisurely pace to an airport 2000 miles away, paused for a week, gone trekking in Bhutan, spent some time finding itself in Goa, and finally bolted some more for good measure.
So let’s all just agree that this app is woefully late, because there are already twelve dozen Polaroidish apps on the App Store, many of them very good at their job. So is Polamatic actually any good? The answer’s yes. Yes it is.
Speaking of Polaroid, the ailing-but-once-awesome instant photo company has come out with its own iPhone app. And guess what? It’s yet another Instagram clone, only it’s not free and it even has extra in-app purchases.
The app is called Polamatic, and it lets you snap photos, add filters and grames, and then upload them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr or Instagram (just like Instagram!). The schtick here is that the frames aren’t just any old Polaroid-ish
frames. No, they’re actual scans of “new, used, and vintage Polaroid frames.”
After months and months of waiting, Spotify finally released its iPad app this week, and it does not disappoint. It features a terrific interface optimized for the iPad’s larger screen, plus plenty of other great features. There’s no wonder why it’s at the top of this week’s must-have iOS apps roundup.
Other picks include a great little app for controlling Bluetooth from your home screen, an impressive photography app from Polaroid, an innovative new web browser, and more.
The only problem with Instagram is that all the photos I’ve taken of the delicious lunches I’ve eaten are all stored in “the cloud”, which means I don’t have any physical evidence to support my wild stories of debauchery. Those faux-vintage snapshots I’ve taken with friends need to be preserved in an analog format, and with a little bit of funding, Instaprint is hoping to ease all my worries.
Photographer Lisa Wiseman , who describes herself as “addicted to Polaroid film,” snapped a series of pics with her iPhone in everyday settings she called “the new Polaroid.”
About them she says,”These images are the evolution of the Polaroid: they were all taken with my iPhone camera. Because the iPhone is becoming a ubiquitous and trendy accessory, on-the-go picture taking is now the norm.
I see people using their iPhones to take spontaneous photos in the same carefree way that cheap Polaroid has been used in the past…Just like Polaroids had a specific size and look, iPhone photos are unmistakable because the technology limits them to a fixed size and resolution.” (NB: we’ve resized them here).
Complete album on her site.