Welcome to Apple, the Camera Company

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

“What is this thing?! This thing is huge!”

I review phones for a living and I would often change a few as my daily driver in a week, but I’ve only gotten this incredulous reaction from my girlfriend when she saw the Plus-sized iPhone that I’ve been using in the past week or so.

It’s a gigantic phone and its sheer size is a true shock to people who have not used one before.

Yet more and more people are choosing this bigger iPhone. At Apple’s most recent earnings call, chief executive Tim Cook said that the mix of Plus to non-Plus iPhones has grown up to a record-high with the iPhone 7 series. While the smaller iPhone 7 is still the most popular model, the bigger iPhone 7 Plus is attracting more buyers than ever (Apple is not saying exactly how many iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus it’s selling, as it considers that this information could be used by its competitors).

What is it in the iPhone 7 Plus that is driving people to choose this bigger model despite all this shock from its sheer physical size?

Given the fact that the iPhone design overall has not changed much since the iPhone 6 from two years ago and considering that neither the perceived daily performance, nor battery life have changed in a significant way, one comes to the logical thought that it must be the iPhone 7 Plus new camera that drives people to buy it.

We already know how much people use their iPhones as cameras. That’s no news: back in 2010, the iPhone 4 became the most popular camera on Flickr and it’s been this way ever since then with newer models replacing it.

What is news, however, is that - with many other features maturing - it is constant improvement in iPhone cameras that is able to push sales forward. We might be a bit too late, but maybe it’s time to think of Apple not just as Apple Computers or Apple Mobile, it’s time to start thinking about Apple… the camera company.

Looking deeper at the camera on the iPhone, you will see a few important areas that prove that Apple is in many ways ahead of the competition. You will also see that the new Dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is a significant technological achievement, unmatched by any other company.


Historically, Apple iPhones have - and still are - delivering what most experts agree is the best video out of any phone. 4K video recording came late to the iPhone in comparison with the rivals, but it was the first that came with no time restrictions and the iPhone 6s was the first phone able to freely and smoothly edit up to two 4K videos with iMovie. It’s a shocking revelation, but 4K video editing is still not supported on the best Android phones so far in 2017.

Apple has long held the lead in video stabilization as well. The company’s electronic stabilization produces smooth results, a thing that often gets overlooked yet that makes a real difference in the quality of the videos that one actually shoots.


And then we come to the bread and butter of the iPhone 7 Plus, the Dual camera system. Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch argues that the dual camera is currently the heaviest load on the Apple A10 series chip on the iPhone 7 Plus, consistently pushing it to its limits. Apple’s innovative twin capture, where the phone automatically and quietly blends pictures from the two cameras to achieve sharper detail and better quality in the center is one hugely demanding feature.

It’s also interesting that Apple rolled out Portrait mode months after the initial launch of the 7 Plus. The timing alone testifies how much of a technological challenge has it been and one could argue that it is the new Apple A10 chip that makes it possible. Unlike other companies that have introduced the blurred background feature (we can think of Nexus and a few Huaweis), none has committed any serious resources to perfecting it and the result is obvious. No other phone reaches the same level of accurate edge detection and impressive results that one can get with the iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode. In our comparison of Portrait Mode with the similar Google Lens Blur, we reached the following conclusion: "Google's “Lens Blur” effect falls a long way short of the Portrait mode" and "Apple was not the first to do it, but it did it best with Portrait mode".

Last but not least, the camera is the only feature that has gotten its own ad campaign that has lasted for years and is still active, the ‘Shot on iPhone’ series of impressive shorts.

All of this convinces us that more than ever Apple is now “Apple, the camera company.” We’ll leave you with an interesting comment on this topic from none other than Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller in an interview with analyst John Gruber from two years ago.


(The camera part starts at the 48:52 mark)

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123 Comments

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Good article, as much as I love my SE's camera there is no denying that S7's camera is much better. The difference in indoor and night shots is absolutely huge

27. peace247 unregistered

Height of exaggeration....i know its good but this article is too lame. Please tell me which high end android cant record 4k. Heck even $140 redmi note 4 can record 4k.

28. peace247 unregistered

Ok it says editing..but yeah sd 625 can easily edit 4k in powerdirector.

50. sgodsell

Posts: 7209; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If Victor did his research, then he would have found out that there is some 4k video editing apps for Android. Plus if Apple is now a camera company, then shouldn't Sony be as well, since Sony supplies the iPhone cameras, and has done this for years.

72. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Sony is literally a camera company.

92. Subie

Posts: 2353; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Sony is literally an electronics company. Now Nikon I would say is literally a camera company.

73. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Yes, there are options (like everthing in android), but PA always refers as "can't do" or "not supported" for things that are't included as parts of the default features.

78. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Well PA need to stop doing thats its disonest.

84. majp89

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

i think he meant that you can't do it directly from the the phone's native gallery or camera.

101. boinero

Posts: 50; Member since: Apr 18, 2015

Now i know Iphonearena is hugely sponsored by APPLE... i hate this site, they so so biased... I did a research about this camera of a thing today, everyone and site is pointing at S7, H-P9 , Pixel Xl and iphone 7+ last on camera, but here in Iphonearena, they insist Apple is overall best, Mind u, my S6 takes better pictures in any condition than any apple product or my friend's iPhone 7... clowns!!....

77. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

nothing my LG G5 cant do and beat it at it as well.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

One of the best mobile cameras out there.

21. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

While I can't deny it's one of the best camera phone right now, is it really a camera company? One can't just make statements like that.

45. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

No kidding Nathan. I've seen pics from my daughters 7 Plus and they did NOT look as good as pics from my Note 7, nor as good as the Pixel. Not to say Apple cameras are bad, they aren't. They just aren't the top, as many egos need to believe. One could argue that all the top Phone OEMs are "camera" companies - they all put considerable resources towards perfecting the camera experience.

46. Foxgabanna

Posts: 587; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Lol people act like the Note 7 is not a repackaged S7, S7 Edge, or S7 Active with an S-Pen.

48. sissy246

Posts: 7070; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Because it's not.

51. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I have taken pictures with a both the 6 plus and 6s plus, and trust me, all of them looked sharp and accurate, albeit a little warm. But warmth gives a pleasant feel too. Yes, their low-light photography is poor, and details in zooming in become blurry too. But, nevertheless, most of the photos are top-notch, especially those of the 6s plus.

55. darkkjedii

Posts: 30966; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Definitely not a camera company.

86. majp89

Posts: 182; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

I like how easy it is to just pull out the camera and take a picture and expect over the top results every time. However, the Portrait mode is next to useless or produces ugly grainy photos if you aren't in fantastic lighting. I hope next year they either make the pixels bigger in the second lens so they take in more light or increase the aperture size.

4. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

S7 camera is 6 MONTHS ILDER and is beter. Stop with the articles bigging up Apple to take the sting out of the s8.

5. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

*OLDER

16. amasog

Posts: 552; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

S7? LOLs! What is it man?

37. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

something that can easily beat the newest iPhone in camera department.. in all scenario

80. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Same thing my LG G5 beat the iphone 7 and 7+ easily. Only thing 7+ beat both S7 and LG G5 is with the super zoom of second camera but thats its. Colors reproduction and détail LG G5 beat it easily ( beat also S7 ) S7 real force is super precise and fast autofocus and very rich colors ( if you like thats personaly i dont ) but even with boosted colors the colors are still more authentic than iphone...

9. Mikele

Posts: 137; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

Even NOKIA 1020 of 2013 beats all so why the hype here for Apple. Apple is definitely not the King but Nokia for years and non for now

11. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3100; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

“What is this thing?! This thing is huge!” That's what she said. Sorry I had to do this XD

74. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

I was looking for a comment like this. It's a shame that the only time her girlfriend said that it was about a phone ha ha ha

12. haikallp

Posts: 319; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The fanboy-ism is strong in this article.

13. hemedans

Posts: 755; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

lumia 1020 and Nokia 808 are still king of cameraphone, nothing come close, just check steve reviews from allaboutwindowsphone and allaboutsymbian blogs, he did review of pureview against every new phone.

90. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

For resolution its the king. for colors reproduction and white balance its far from the best.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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