I watched the latest Apple upgrade launch having heard that the cameras were the big area of innovation for 2019. Of course, there was a lot of other technology to go through first. Fans will be twitching with excitement about getting their hands on the latest tech.
Pete Phillips explains why videos are becoming more and more important than photos.
But will it be Apple TV+ with that amazing trailer of ‘See’? Or will it be the apparently lifesaving Apple Watch 5, with its increased health monitoring and ability to pester us into a better lifestyle? Or will Apple Arcade separate us from our hard-earned cash and keep us playing ‘Frogger’ all night long. (By the way, much better to leave your phone downstairs than to take it to bed with you – screen light and deep sleep don’t go together well!).
Then came what everyone was waiting to see – the latest addition to Apple’s range of (quite expensive) mobiles phones. The iPhone 11, so Apple tells us, is packed with amazing new innovations including enhanced graphics and screen along with new ‘spatial audio’ to get the most out of those videos you watch on your commute or during the lunch break. Although your fellow passengers might be asking you to put your headphones back in! But most of the innovation centres around a new camera on the back of the phone, an ultra-wide lens 12MP camera. To make this really work well, Apple have also added a new processor, enhanced the neural processor for image rendering, introduced multi-scale tone mapping, stereoscopic depth of field for pet portraits, automatic night mode, and simply incredible hand-held video, and, of course, the ‘slofie’ (slo-motio selfies).
Of course, Apple have also added a super-innovation, professional model with the iPhone 11 Pro with its Super Retina XDR display, enhanced machine learning platform and deep fusion images. But this phone (*I actually typed ‘camera’ instead of ‘phone’ there) has three new cameras forming the face of a kind of three-eyed monster on the back of the phone. But example after example is given of the amazing video footage you can record using this phone: high-quality cinematic movies, filmed by film-makers and professional artists, shot from the new rear cameras and the upgraded front camera. This professional phone even offers live editing of video on the phone itself. In other words, rather than just replacing phones, or cameras, the latest design of smartphones are pushing towards replacing video cameras as well.
It’s not surprising then to note that the video is the latest trend in internet use.
So, at the same time as the Apple Event was being delivered, the Oxford Internet Institute published their 2019 report, which noted that many aspects of internet engagement have stabilised in the UK. Although there has been some increase in posting and commenting on pictures, that increase is not significant. What has increased is e
ngagement with videos both watching (up from 48 to 72%) and posting videos (up from 21 to 44%), as well as people following celebrities (up from 44 to 66%). Similarly, OfCom’s annual Communications Market Report for 2019 notes the increased use of data which seems to be linked to the consumption of video, especially from Netflix and Amazon Prime.
In other words, Apple’s innovation strategy seems to be following the market rather than leading the marker. Video is becoming more and more important with the increase of data streaming made possible by both 4G and 5G networks. With cheaper data, our habits are changing in relation to both what we consume and what we create. Moreover, now that social media platforms have realised that audiences will keep watching a video five times longer than they will look at photo, it is no wonder that Apple have created ‘slofies’ and enhanced their phones to produce even more dazzling videos than before.
For those of us seeking to promote our ministries, our mission, our community, video is no longer limited to high-end church websites, video is fast becoming a core necessity in our digital arsenal.