Writing is a very weird experience for me. Sometimes it feels almost like an act of divine intervention. Not because of the divinity of it, but because of the intervention part. It’s almost as if I were a vessel for a guy (at least I hope it’s a guy) inside my head trying to communicate with my readers. I sit down to write, and letters spill into words and then into sentences, and then I see these new ideas and find myself thinking, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of this!”
Somehow thoughts that are trapped in my subconscious commit a prison break into consciousness and then end up polluting the innocent white screen of Microsoft Word. I had this experience a few days ago. I sat down to write an intro to the article that I’m attaching below. I was going to write a paragraph or two. I somehow started, and then I couldn’t stop. An hour or two later I had a full-blown article on Apple’s iPhone, Amazon’s brand, Apple’s car, the death of … various industries, geopolitics … and other stuff.
That “introduction” will be published soon on Institutional Investor magazine’s website. In the meantime, here is the article I was writing that intro for. I probably should stop right here and let you read the article … but I can’t help sharing with you a thought about Apple’s new iPhone. I spent the weekend with an iPhone 6s. I didn’t find many differences between the 6 and 6s. In fact, 3D touch – a feature that is supposed to elevate the functionality of the phone – was a frustration, because it only works with very few (mostly Apple-developed) apps. When you try to use it with apps that are yet to be modified to work with it, your touch puts iPhone’s screen into edit mode, putting a little “x” next to all app icons on the screen.
The iPhone 6s is faster, but the 6 was very fast, too. If it wasn’t for the improved camera I wouldn’t have bought the new phone. In fact, looking back, “the improved camera” was my justification for almost very iPhone purchase I’ve made. My kids are still young, and I am one of those crazy dads who feels the need to document every moment of his kids’ existence.
I’ve been telling myself that when my wife and I look at these pictures and videos ten or twenty years from now, it would be shame if their quality was poor. Of course, in all honesty, that excuse probably expired a few iPhones ago. Overall iPhone picture and video quality has improved only marginally from year to year, and certainly not enough to justify buying a new iPhone every year.
However, the new iPhone has a feature that I found surprisingly cool and worth the upgrade: Live Photo. When that feature was demonstrated at the iPhone announcement event, I thought it was a gimmick. And maybe it is, but it’s a gimmick I really like. You point your iPhone at something, hold it still for a second and a half or as long as you want, then take a picture, and then hold it still for another second and a half. In your camera roll you’ll see a photo at the moment you pushed “take a picture” button, but if you touch that photo it will show you a video of your subject one and a half seconds before and one and a half seconds after you pushed the button. Sounds like a gimmick, doesn’t it?
My initial response was, why wouldn’t I just take a video instead? After all, Live Photo is basically just a video wrapped around a photo. Here is the genius of it. I have pictures of my kids when they were very little distributed abundantly around my office. Each one of those photos is a microsecond frozen in time. I would love it if I could just touch a picture and see a video of the moment when I took the picture. In other words, that embedded video brings the photo to life.