Earphone Camera By Signal9 [ Earphone Camera - Signal9 ] is a simple camera app that enables you to easily take photos and take videos by using the iPhone’s earbuds like a wired remote.

Earphone Camera is a simple but handy app. I’m not sure whether the app’s funtionality changes the use of the iPhone’s hardware and violates Apple’s terms of the SDK like the VolumeSnap feature that caused several camera apps to be removed a few months ago. Regardless, there’s nothing else like it currently available. Just in case, grab it now in case Apple change their mind.

Earphone Camera screenshot

Earphone Camera is a simple camera app. Plug in your Apple iPhone earbuds (the ones with the button on the cord). It also works with select, iPhone-compatible third-party earbuds. Open the app. Earphone Camera then allows you to use the middle control button on your earbuds as a shutter release for stills or video (or the middle button on some third party and older Apple earbuds). No controls to set. The app is extremely easy to use.

The camera is a basic Apple camera API with auto-focus, flash toggle, and front camera controls on supported devices. Zoom and HDR are not supported.

There are no problems if you’re using the iPod app to listen to music. Earphone Camera fades out and pauses the track while you use the app. Exiting the app picks back up where the track left off. This feature eliminates any accidental iPod weirdness when using Earphone Camera while listening to tunes.

It’s a handy app to have, especially for a dollar. For self portraits, it gives your reach an extra couple of feet. It gives you a little extra room to set the iPhone down to take a picture. It’s also great for street photography. When taking street photos, a remote shutter release like Earphone Camera helps the iPhone look less like a camera and more like a phone or MP3 player.

It saves images at full resolution straight to your camera roll. It doesn’t save any EXIF or geo-tag data with your photos, though. If the app is allowed to develop, this would be a good feature to add soon. There seems to be an in-app camera roll preview button, but it never worked for me. Pressing it did nothing. UPDATE: As several readers have pointed out, the app also has a pretty bad shutter lag. For me, on my iPhone 4, recovery time was anywhere from 7-9 seconds. Although not a dealbreaker for me given the limited scope of this app, recovery time really needs to be improved significantly. =M=

I’m not sure if Earphone Camera violates violates terms of Apple’s SDK. I haven’t read them in their entirety. Technically, though, Earphone Camera doesn’t remap any of the hardware functions of the iPhone or iDevice itself, but it does remap the function of the control button on the earbuds. Earphone Camera may have squeaked through the approval process because of this loophole. Or, the app may disappear on Monday.

Until then, Earphone Camera is a good app to have. It’s probably a good idea to grab sooner rather than later. It’s a handy remote shutter release that extends your ability to take photos. For street photographers, it’s also another great utility to have in your toolbox.

I’m an earbud guy and this app worked great with my Altec Lansing buds. I’m not sure if or how well this app works with a Bluetooth headset, but I’d be interested in finding out. If you’ve used (or been unable to use) Earphone Camera with a Bluetooth headset, let us know how things went in the comments below. =M=

Earphone Camera is $0.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Earphone Camera - Signal9