Steve Jobs wanted Lytro camera technology for iPhone

By on January 24, 2012, 11:00 AM

A new book titled “Inside Apple” discusses how former chief Steve Jobs wanted to reinvent photography on the iPhone in addition to television and textbook markets. Jobs reportedly met with Ren Neg, CEO of photography company Lytro in June 2011 to discuss this topic, according to 9to5mac who received an advanced copy of the title launching on January 25.

As the excerpt reads, Ng caught wind that Jobs wanted to meet with him and dropped everything to rush to Palo Alto. Ng gave Jobs an in-person demonstration of the Lytro camera technology. Jobs then asked Ng to send him an email outlining three things he’d like Lytro to do with Apple.

Ng did indeed send the email but as far as we know, a deal was never agreed upon between the two. Jobs passed away two months later following a storied bout with cancer, just one day after the introduction of the iPhone 4S.

Lytro went on to unveil the world’s first light field camera as a consumer-friendly device in October 2011. The Lytro camera works by capturing the light field, which is described as all of the light traveling in every direction in every point in space, including the color and vector direction. Lytro’s light field sensor is able to capture 11 million light rays in a single shot. This data is lost in a conventional camera which simply adds all of the light rays and records them as a single amount of light.

The real selling point of this camera is the ability to focus anywhere in a photo after you have snapped it. This eliminates the need to focus before taking the picture and ensures that a timeless shot won’t be ruined by incorrect subject focus.

Pricing starts at $399 and you will need a Mac to edit your photos. Lytro’s website still lists “early 2012” as the shipping date, although you can place a pre-order now.

It remains to be seen if we will ever see a Lytro-based camera inside an iPhone but the idea alone is enough to get excited about.

User Comments: 4

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Forget about Apple. This tech in the next professional Nikon DSLR would be awesome. It would at least give pro photographers some room to improve focus after the shot without the disadvantages of current post-processing focusing techniques.

p51d007 said:

You might be able to "improve" focus, but at least from what I've seen, you can't change depth of field. I played around with their online demo thingy, you can change the focus on foreground, middle & background object, but not the whole picture. Unless you can do that, I don't see this going anywhere other than point & shoot, camera phones etc.

I'm no pro by any means, but I shoot photos to achieve a certain look. Sometimes I want the entire photo in focus, other times I want the depth of field that only a good lens & camera can get you. This would be a great device inside a pocket camera or cell phone, but now, I just don't see the "professional" or hard core amateur like me wanting something like this, especially given the price point. Price comes down, technology improves, who knows, but I'd pass for now.

Rieksfier said:

Because buying out other companies technologies and using them in your own product is totally re-inventing.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

Rieksfier said:

Because buying out other companies technologies and using them in your own product is totally re-inventing.

Everyone does it. As long as you (or the company you buy) holds the patents, what's the big deal?

Being able to spot ground-breaking technology and put millions (or sometimes billions) on the line to buy exclusive rights to it, takes as much a talent as engineering the technology yourself. As if often much, much cheaper.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.