While reading the live-blogs for Apple’s iPhone 5 event, I stopped to think about why Apple continues to improve cameras and microphones in the iPhone — and not in little ways, and certainly not in cheap ways. It occurs to me that perhaps Apple improves these factors because they are one of the most outward facing images of Apple’s brand that potential consumers will see.
In other words: People share photos, and Apple doesn’t want photos from their iPhones looking like crap. Likewise the owner of iPhones don’t really notice better sounding microphones, but the people on the other end of the call *do*.
So my theory is that Apple wants consumers to always think things like: “Man you can really tell when someone is talking to you from an iPhone — they sound great.”
Apple wants this as it’s a fantastic boost in value to their brand and something that sticks in your head when you go to buy your next phone.
The iPhone camera — and it’s popularity on Flickr — is evidence of the power that the quality of the photos taken with iPhones must be good. Apple’s been very good at not focusing on jazzy features for the camera, things like higher megapixels, instead Apple improves the camera in the spot that cameras are weakest in: low light.
I bet most of you have had this scenario happen to you:
– You show Uncle Bob a great photo you took.
– Uncle Bob loves it, and asks: “What kind of camera you have, Neb?”
Apple wants you to answer, with pride, “an iPhone”.
Because in the consumer mind it’s not the photographer, but the camera — so if Apple makes the camera really great at the really tough photos, then people will notice and ask the same question Uncle Bob asked. Apple wants to be your answer.
And consumers will remember this the next time they buy a phone: “Neb’s iPhone takes such great photos, I haven’t seen any photos people take with the `Samsung EEw577 S™ REPPPER`, so maybe I should get the iPhone.”
The photos you take with your iPhone are, themselves, a lasting marketing tool for Apple to sell more iPhones — so it only makes sense that they spend so much time improving the camera with each version. ((A bit of anecdotal evidence I had never given second thought about, is that my Wife will often say: “Can you take the picture with your iPhone, it takes better pictures.” My wife is always one generation behind with her iPhones.))