[UPDATEx3 09.03.10 10:10] Today was Apple’s September Event. Typically an iPod-centric event, there was plenty to please current and future iPhoneographers in today’s presentation. Today’s event was more than the traditional refreshing of the iPod line. The iPod Touch now gets not one, but two cameras — but not the high-resolution still camera that was the buzz of rumor sites.
In today’s event, the release for the iOS 4 update was announced. Of interest to iPhoneographers are two very big new features — better iPhone 3G performance and HDR photography with the native Camera app
Steve Jobs acknowledged many of the bugs in the first release of iOS 4. In the new update, iOS 4 performance is now improved on the iPhone 3G. Hopefully, this will enable the OS to be usable on the older devices.
Also, the Apple Camera app will now be able to take actual HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos in the new update. Like the control for the iPhone 4’s flash, the HDR toggle is controlled from the viewfinder. Simply turn it on. Like traditional HDR photography, the camera takes three shots in rapid succession — one normally exposed, one slightly under exposed and one slightly over exposed. The images are then merged, preserving the best exposures of all three shots and greatly expanding the photo’s dynamic range. When both dark and light areas are present in an image, with an HDR shot, both areas should see improved detail, including more detail in shadows without blowing out the highlights of the lighter areas. The feature will save both the normal photo and the HDR photo to your camera roll.
How this will effect the development and sales of apps like ProHDR and TrueHDR remains to be seen. Both apps take only two captures. It’ll be interesting to compare them the Apple’s own HDR. I’m really excited to testing out this new feature!
iOS 4.1 will be available for download in iTunes next week.
Although several refreshes were announced for the iPod line, the big announcement for iPhoneography are the improvements to the new iPod Touch line. The new iPod touch features the same Apple A4 chip that’s currently in the iPad and iPhone 4, dramatically improving the speed of the device. It has the Apple’s new high-resolution retina display with 640x960px resolution — 4 times the pixels of the current iPod Touch displays.
The new iPod Touch has two cameras — a front facing camera similar to the one on the iPhone 4 and a new rear facing camera capable of recording HD Video. The specs of the new rear-facing camera weren’t announced at today’s event. Apple is promoting the HD video capabilities of the camera with only a mention of still capabilities.
UPDATE: Rumor sites were speculating that the new camera would be at least a 3.2 MP camera (like the one used in the iPhone 3GS). But the specs we’re finding on the Apple website show the still camera may have a resolution of just 960×720 pixels. That’s more in line with a video-focused camera and makes sense given that the cameras on the old iPod Nano only had 640×480 VGA resolution for video. We’ll have confirmation and more information as soon as we can.
The new iPod Touch also has the new 3-axis Gyro, so users will be able to take advantage of all the features of apps like You Gotta See This! which require the gyro.
The new iPod Touch will be available in three models — 8GB $229, 32GB $299, 64GB $399.