opinion Back before Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the company strayed a bit from its core products. One of those misfit toys was the QuickTake digital camera.
Released in May 1994 for US$749, the first model, the QuickTake 100, was made jointly with Kodak and worked only with Apple computers. The fully automatic, digital camera was one of the first available for consumers. It was followed by the QuickTake 150, which added Windows support, and the 200 (made by Fujifilm), which added focus and aperture control, as well as removable storage.
The QuickTake was killed in 1997, and while the iPhone has pretty much taken the place of a dedicated camera for many casual photographers, there are plenty of people out there who want better pictures and performance in addition to the whole connected world of the iPhone. So, with Tim Cook now at the helm, will Apple stray again into cameras?
The way I see it, there are two ways this can go — one likely, the other not. The unlikely option would be for Apple to develop a new camera on its own, or through a partnership with a camera maker. If any company would be able to pull off an elegant, easy-to-use camera with solid wireless implementation for backup, sharing and syncing across devices, it would be Apple.
However, no matter how much I'd like to see the iOS system in a camera (with a larger sensor, a better lens, faster processing and expandable storage), it just doesn't make sense for Apple to devote time and money to a discrete, single-function device. Plus, Apple would probably need to make more than one camera type; and giving consumers that kind of choice isn't a very Apple thing to do. This seems more like Android territory for a company like Samsung to get involved with, since it already has a digital imaging division and plenty of Android experience with its mobile devices.
But what I can see happening, with or without Apple's input, is a third-party manufacturer creating a whole line of cameras with an iPhone dock at the back instead of an LCD. That way, you could have your pick of lenses, processors and sensors, while still having all app access, iCloud and AirPlay support, and mobile broadband and Wi-Fi. Paired with an app to act as an interface for camera control, you could have the ultimate connected camera.
Since it would just be an accessory to the iPhone, Apple wouldn't end up moving into another category and would give potential iPhone buyers one more reason to switch to an Apple product. Add in the iCloud and AirPlay support, and you would just end up buying more core Apple products, keeping you trapped in its ecosystem.