Apple Shows Off Panoramic Photos, Better Photo Sharing In New iPhone

Apple is showing off the new iPhone 5 camera this morning, which is essentially the same as the iPhone 4S’s camera, but packed into thinner housing. The camera offers an 8-megapixel sensor, a 5-element lens and f/2.4 aperture, and it includes a dynamic low light mode and 40% faster image capture. But the more intriguing thing about the camera and the accompanying photo album features, is that Apple is again encroaching on app developers’ territory with the addition of things like support for panoramic photos and shared photo streams.

We heard about these features previously, but now they’re official. The Shared Photo Streams feature is arguably the most practical addition, since previously sharing photos by email limited users to sending 5 photos at a time. MMS’ing photos is also not ideal. Photo Streams allow users to share a set of photos, and those photos you share will then pop up on your friends’ iPhones. You can “like” and comment on them, too. This is something which a number of iOS apps allow for today. For some apps, sharing photos is all they do. Apple’s message to developers: if the only thing your app does is make it easier for iOS users to share photos, it’s time to retool and rethink.

The Panoramic photos feature can now produce a 28-megapixel image, which is also impressive. And yep, apps like 360 Panorama will now have to convince their user base that they’re offering a better alternative to Apple’s default here.

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