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.