Steve Jobs called the iPhone a phone, an iPod, and an Internet device. But even he may have underestimated its role as a camera. Supposedly iPhones and other smartphones had all but killed the point and shoot camera, previously a staple of families and students chronicling their lives. Now smartphones (the apps they’ve enabled more specifically) might be the source of new life for these relics of the early 2000s.
Newly minted Snap Inc.’s Spectacles are being called wearable tech, stripped down Google Glass, and so on, but what I see is the new point and shoot. In an age where all our devices are supposedly doomed to be consolidated into one mega device, Spectacles represent a true peripheral to the smartphone hub.
There is no reason for a camera today to be trapped in a metal rectangle. The part of the camera that actually captures the light is now a tiny component that can be dismembered and attached to basically anything, like a pair of plastic sunglasses for instance.
The functions that feature-rich cameras had previously housed are now outsourced to your phone — playback, editing, filters, and so on. And of course, sharing, but it should be made clear that you cannot share to Snapchat directly from Spectacles. In this regard, taking a video with the iPhone’s built-in camera is still way faster as far as time from capture to publish. (with apps like Periscope you can cut that time to zero)
Google Glass was amazing in that regard — you could take a pic or video and share it without ever taking your phone out of your pocket.
But it’s early days. This is the beginning of an exciting continuum. For now, Spectacles isn’t pretending to be a replacement for your phone or pretending to be a realtime broadcasting device. The idea is simply to capture memories and post them later.
Sounds a lot like the trusty old point and shoot.