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5 things iPhone photographers want from WWDC



Apple often uses the WWDC logo to hint at announcements. Tech journalists are speculating that this logo indicates a new approach to Apple's iOS interface.

This time next week, Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference will be under way. Most of the major Apple announcements are expected to arrive during the keynote on June 10th at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, but tech journalists have been surmising new technology for weeks. 

According to Apple experts and industry insiders, it is safe to expect a new version of Apple's mobile operating system iOS. Most people expect the new, Jony Ive-designed iOS 7 to appear "flatter," but what will the overhaul mean for the user interface and photography tools?

Here at Connect, we spend a lot of time covering iPhone cameras and the people who use them. As we look forward to next week's announcements, we are hoping for a few things to make iPhone photography better. While some of them seem likely, we may have to wait a while for others. 

In anticipation of WWDC, I have taken a bit of time to reflect on my personal phone of choice and its operating system to explain what I want from the upcoming Apple announcements. 

1. Better manual capture tools in the native photo application

iOS 4 gave us HDR, iOS 5 came with instant camera access from the lock screen and iOS 6 introduced panorama mode. If a new version of Apple's iOS operating system is launched (which seems very likely), we can only hope that the camera application will see a new photography feature. We are not sure what it will be, but here's hoping that it includes some more elaborate manual capture settings.

What will the camera application look like on iOS 7?

As far as native photo applications go, the iPhone's user interface is the simplest of all smartphone offerings. Depending on your Android device, you can find everything from GIF creation to special scene modes inside the native photo application. Windows Phone 8 users can even add on "lenses" within the camera app. Meanwhile, iPhone photographers are left with a simple tap-to-focus interface that leaves many serious photographers rushing to the App Store for something better.

What I want: A little "Pro Mode" toggle right under the HDR and Grid options. When turned on, my hypothetical new user interface would allow for separate exposure and focal points as well as white balance and ISO control.

Will it happen? Maybe, but not likely. There is a reason why Apple doesn't have an excess of features in the camera native app. Not every iPhone user wants elaborate manual camera features, and those who do can easily download a third party application. Apple likes a clean user interface — and that sometimes means leaving the bells and whistles to software developers. 

2. A iPhone 5S equivalent with improved camera hardware 

Is it time yet for a new iPhone? Probably not, but if Apple follows the formula its set forth with the iPhone 4 and 4S launches, the next iPhone will likely be seeing a major camera hardware upgrade. The iPhone 4S took a 3-megapixel leap from its predecessor, raising hopes for an improvement in the next iPhone installment. The iPhone 5's launch last year saw a new sapphire lens and more processing power to handle low-light images.

What I want: A larger sensor. The Lumia series has its megapixel-packing 808 PureView camera, HTC's One uses "ultrapixels" and the latest 13MP Samsung Galaxy S4 focused heavily on software in its camera marketing. Apple can reach the cutting edge by offering a smartphone camera that has a larger sensor instead of just packing the megapixels into the same tiny camera unit.

Will it happen? Not right now. According to most Apple sources, we will not be seeing a new iPhone next week.

3. Better photo organization 

When it comes to organizing your images on an iOS device, you are on your own. Besides creating new folders for apps to dump photos in, iOS doesn't have any tools to automatically sort your photos on a mobile device. On OSX, iPhoto will organize photos based on facial recognition or added keywords. For $4.99 in the App Store, you can download iPhoto for iOS and use its flags to help organize your mobile images and there are plenty of third-party apps to help automatically organize and share photos. But shouldn't these tools come standard?

What I want: Ability to sort photos via automatic geolocation tags, time taken and user-added keywords. 

Will it happen? Anything is possible with a new iOS update, and the Photos application is in major need of attention, so we will likely see some sort of update.

4. Improved app management

If there was a TV show about virtual hoarders, there would have to be a whole season on iPhone photographers. The plethora of great apps available in the iOS App Store means that some iPhone photographers are packing dozens of niche photography apps. Instead of allowing app lovers to shove all their software into one giant folder, Apple limits folder sizes based on device. The iPhone 4S can only hold 12 apps per folder while the iPhone 5 can handle up to 16.

What I want: Removal of folder limits! Please! (Also the creation of an App Hoarders Anonymous program so I can have a place to talk about my problem.)

Will it happen? I sure hope so. And these guys want it, too. (Maybe they can join AHA with me.)

5. Share and edit photos straight from the Camera Roll

Every iPhone photographer who uses the native camera application has had this problem. You take a photo and want to share it quickly. You tap on the tiny preview in the bottom left of the screen and end up on the Camera Roll preview screen (left image above). From here, you can delete your photo, but that's it. If you want to share it or edit it, you must first exit the Camera Roll and open up the image in the Photos app (right image above). Likewise, when you are in the Photos app and you suddenly want to take a photo, you have to exit in order to go back to the camera. The interface of the Camera Roll and Photos app are almost identical, just the tools and options available are different.

What I want: Full integration of the Camera Roll and Photos app — tap that tiny preview on the camera interface, you are now in the Photos app, when you open the Photos app, you can easily tap into the camera interface. 

Will it happen? If Apple does any updates to Camera Roll, this super obvious navigation problem will hopefully be addressed.

 Let's hear from you: Do you use an iPhone to take photos? If so, what do you want from WWDC? 


Total comments: 26

I want a way to change white balance! At least add a tungsten white balance for indoor use!


For photographers the beautiful Retina display on the Ipad can be very useful for checking camera images in the field. However, the Ipad also has some severe deficiencies that make it frustratingly inefficient for this purpose. The problems are probably all fixable in the operating system and apps.
1. There is no direct way to read SD cards larger than 32GB.
2. After downloading the images from a 32GB SD card, there is no simple way to batch remove the images. A 32GB load of more than 1000 images is too much to remove one-by-one. This deficiency is extraordinarily short-sighted--no other computer system lacks this basic capability.

Edited 2 times; latest 5 minutes since posting
1 upvote

A new Mac Pro. That is all.


How about a Mac OS Tablet, a Post Processing machine with full version of Aperture and Lightroom. Ommm

1 upvote

Number 5 is incorrect; you CAN edit and share photos from the camera roll.


No you can't. Not from inside the Camera App


Relocate the lense at the top most edge of the iphone in such way you are taking pictures like you are reading something. Its like the iphone you are holding at 30 degree angle while taking pictures. And also exposure compensation at +3 to -3 will be great.

Greg in London

come on Apple how about Aperture is it dead in the water or is it supported ?
I am not getting that warm cosy feeling of Apple support that I am used to !


Edited 39 seconds after posting

iOS improvements are all well and good, but how about support for an updated MacPro for photographers who still take pictures with real cameras.

1 upvote

Seriously, there is only one thing that I want.
I want to use my phone or ipad to tag photos with keywords or rate photos with stars AND have it sync across devices and to my computer. When I found out that iphoto for IOS had tags and ratings, I thought that finally, I will be able to review my images without sitting in front of the computer.
NOPE, they only make those tags and rankings available on the device it is on. It's like some kind of trick about proving the uselessness of photostream.
ok, I'd also like an iphone pro mode, or even just whitebalance.


That's freaking crazy that no any Apple user is not outraged about colors on Apple hardware. Nothing but the iMac 27" support AdobeRGB !


I have always used Mac Pros and any monitor I hook up supports AdobeRGB. I don't think it depends on the monitor you just need to calibrate the monitor in use and have the correct color profiles. This can be set in the system Preferences and almost all photo editing apps for monitor and printer.


I just want one thing from apple: That their products will become affordable for students from families that aren't rich.


Exposure compensation would be nice...


Photographer's WISH LIST

1. Collaborate with one of the top 5 DSLR makers and implant an iPhone on one of their cameras...
"Hello? Oh, yeah...I'm in the middle of a shoot right now... click,click,click..."

2. Forget about thinness or smallness, Apple! Come out with a WATERPROOF slab with a bigger sensor camera like the Olympus or Lumix underwater bricks.

3. Make your components modular and with optional DIY plug in choices.

4. WiFi earphones! Why not?

5. Come out with 3 models having the same innards. Covers all the bases...

Comment edited 100 years after posting


Edited 1 minute after posting

So, basically. Android with all the iOS apps. Will someone make that happen on either one platform or another, pretty please?

1 upvote

How about an Aperture "lite" for iOS devices? And while we're at it, Aperture 4 for MacOS. Please!!!


An Aperture for iOS would be really nice.


Also of note, the caption on the banner:
“Where a whole new world is developing”

Here's to hoping there'll be a smart camera iOS device announced. Developing RAW on an iCam? If it was still pocketable and had optional wireless, could replace my iPhone.

As the Steve Jobs bio noted, he wanted to revolutionize 3 industries: textbooks, TV and __photography__.


Sorry, but developers can't produce any meaningful improvement over default app because camera API is completely locked up. For example it's impossible to create application where you'll set manual exposure settings or capture images in RAW. Availability of advanced functionality for developers is the real problem number one.

Edited 2 times; latest 37 seconds since posting

645 Pro captures in what they call "RAW" it's really Tiff but A lot better then jpeg. If 645 Pro does not give meaningful improvement it sure unlocks a lot of meaningful features.


"Sorry, but developers can't produce any meaningful improvement over default app because camera API is completely locked up. For example it's impossible to create application where you'll set manual exposure settings or capture images in RAW. Availability of advanced functionality for developers is the real problem number one."

You're mistaking adding features / layers / added functionality to the stock Camera apps (which is indeed impossible) for third-party access.

The latter is certainly possible: the camera API's allow one to use separate exposure and focus carets, set the resolution of both stills and video etc.

However, it's still a far cry away from just adding some added-on functionality to the stock Camera app. You can easily do it for example in Windows Phone 8, let alone Android.

Edited 25 seconds after posting

1) The ability to nest folders

2) The ability to have unlimited items in a folder

3) Removal of the barriers between apps sharing data

4) A "finder-like" application that allows file management

Without all of these things, no app can benefit from synergy with another app; meaning, every benefit and feature has to be re-invented by every app developer. If the iPad is to become more than a one-trick-at-a-time-per-pony, the original idea of a sandboxed, childproof toy needs to die in favor of a more robust, general computing-friendly platform.

The bad news: Apple shows no signs of realizing this.

The good news: Someone eventually will, and Apple will be left supplying tablets to the clueless until they catch up.


Items 3 and 4 were the main reasons I moved to Android......


Absolutely agreed. For example, (3) makes it impossible to effectively share the same huge video file between multimedia players. This IS a major problem and, currently, can only be fixed by jailbreaking and using symlinks created in, say, iFile as is explained at .


So basically:
<b>What I want:</b> less limitations
<b>Will it happen?</b> hahahaha... NO!

Total comments: 26
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