As I type, I’m on a kid-infested flight returning from a two week holiday.
I require three things while away (I’ve omitted several ‘givens’): music, camera, entertainment.
Previously, this involved carting around about three-hundred separate gadgets, each of which would end up either coated in sand, broken or lost.
During my time in Kefalonia, however, I’ve made an unexpected decision to sell my SLR camera on my return. Not because I found a better one, or because I have to pay for a costly foreign medical bill, but because I fell, hook, line and sinker for my iPhone 4’s camera. This was unexpected.
Apple chief, Steve Jobs, describes it as a ‘camera system’, casually brushing off any notion that more pixels equals better pictures in typical Apple fashion; indiscriminately and arrogantly with a heavy dusting of patronisation for good measure.
Like many people, I laughed at yet another over zealous semi-branding of centuries-old technology, courtesy of the man who has made the practice something of an art form.
It turns out, however, that the turtle necked one is absolutely correct. The iPhone 4 produces stunning still pictures.
Much is made of them via the phone’s incredible Retina Display (another needless piece of branding), yet they shine even when transferred to any other device.
The same could not be said for my old 3G. That would only produce a half-decent shot when presented with studio-like conditions. Attempting to take photos anywhere else, i.e. houses, parks, pubs, hotels, theme parks or, well, anywhere, produced the kind of grainy, dull pictures associated with disposable cameras.
iPhone 4 rarely fails to adjust itself correctly to prevailing conditions and even manages to adjust depth of field without you having to lift a finger (I’ve never seen convincing depth of field on point-and-shoot cameras, let alone mobile phones).
Video, too is perfectly useable. It’s 720p HD and, while it occasionally suffers from some judder on panning shots, it perfectly captured every moment I asked it to and, more importantly, didn’t make me look like a Handicam-wielding burk.
This got me thinking. Why do I need an SLR which, admittedly, has seen very sparing use since I bought in several years ago. Why lug something around which weighs the same as Eamon Holmes and is about as attractive? It simply isn’t required anymore. Photos are for remembering and sharing. If they look good as your desktop wallpaper, that’s a bonus.
My iPhone is my iPod. It plays games. I can watch movies and TV on it. Show me a better device which does all this and still fits in your pocket. You’ll struggle, before you start looking…
The only thing which did slightly disappoint while away was my iPad. It beats the iPhone hands down as a media player for the flight, and is handy once again to watch movies on in bed (plus the battery is just jaw dropping), but I wasn’t once tempted to take it to the poolside or beach to read an iBook. This was partly due to an inherent fear of scratching, smashing or sitting on it, but in reality, you simply can’t sit outside and use this thing for any great length of time. You spend most of the time tutting at your increasing number of chins, which are the only things visible on the screen. I do not want to study my chins while on holiday.
That said, I have just typed out this entire blog on it. Which is nice.