How the iPhone 3G S Video feature will change media and news

Just yesterday I was outside a Dunkin Donuts in Lake Worth Florida with my kids and laughed when I saw the newspaper headline about Twitter’s impact on the current unrest in Iran.

World hangs on every tweet - front page headline Palm Beach Post June 16, 2009
World hangs on every tweet - front page headline Palm Beach Post June 16, 2009

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a derisive Internet cool kid laugh about old media, or a Twitter early adopter sneer. I was reacting as both participant and observer to the democratizing power of online publishing tools like blogs and Twitter. I was seeing popular culture change before my eyes.

Fast forward to this coming Friday when the iPhone 3G S arrives

The iPhone 3G S with its high quality video recording and editing could eventually have the same kind of impact on news and communications as Twitter.

Click to see Apple's Demo of iPhone 3G S video editing and recording
Click photo above to see Apple's Demo of iPhone 3G S video recording and editing.

Millions of people around the world will buy the iPhone 3G S and it’s succesor due out next year. Many people will buy the new iPhone with little to no interest in the video capture feature. Millions more will buy yet-to-be-released successors to the iPhone 3G S from competitors like BlackBerry, Google, Nokia, Palm and Microsoft that have the same or better video capture, editing features and ease of use. OK, maybe not Microsoft. 😉 You get the point, the iPhone 3G S will be the catalyst. It is not as much the innovator as the fast follower that breaks through to the masses. If today’s mobile video capture was a Van, the iPhone 3G S is the Minivan.

In 24 months millions of people will be carrying around high quality movie making equipment in their pockets. The number of these high quality video phones will continue to grow at an exponential speed as the gee whiz technology of today is pushed down to less expensive devices. Like next summer when a newer iPhone with dual core processors is unleashed and today’s $199 iPhone 3G S becomes the $99 entry level offering.

Along with this more capable mobile hardware we’ll use high speed wireless infrastructure to upload and share those movies in just a few minutes. In the States we’ll even see the end of AT&T’s exclusive iPhone agreement and even greater iPhone penetration as networks like Verizon pick up the iPhone. Similar stories will play out everywhere.

Not only will be able to quickly record and upload video, we’ll also be able to livestream our video. We’ve already been doing that, it’s just that geeks were the only ones who knew how to and the phones that had the capability were few and far between. This will change because of Apple’s worldwide sales volumes and impact on smartphone competition. This will change because of the iPhone’s ease-of-use and the third party iPhone applications that developers will make in the coming months (not years).

This will create a new critical mass of mobile videographers and that in turn will create big change in our media and communications.

For the first year I think this change will sneak up on us. For starters, the verdict on predicted sales of the iPhone 3G S is still out. Many people feel the 3G S won’t be as big a seller as the 3G because many of the features are small incremental improvements. For ninety percent of the upgrades, they’d be right. Some prognosticate that next year’s iPhone model will see larger sales based on likely enhancements and upgrades.

But it won’t be the specification sheets that will change things - people with access will.

Access and lots of people with access. That’s the change we mark with a this is where it all began on Friday with the release of high quality video capture and editing on the iPhone 3G S. When enough people have the right tools and access we’ve shown that we can unleash amazing amounts of rich and compelling content. The kind of content that TV producers, journalists and Hollywood movie makers only dream about. The kind of content that makes CNN’s news ratings spike. We’ll be capturing this on our video recordings and mobile livestream video.

It’s already been brewing for a while now. Internet types, video bloggers and journo’s have been showing us the way with mobile vlogging. As we’ve seen, the video will range from the interesting and sublime and highly entertaining to the stuff we should have left in the editing trash can. Just like Twitter or blogs but with video.

Things won’t really start to change though until surprisingly crisp video and sound clips start showing up all over the Internet. Uploaded and livestreamed by people who aren’t even a little geeky and don’t know the word videographer or vlogger. We’ll see video in real time of rock concerts, along with video of interesting and shocking events from all over the world. We’ll see interesting locally relevant content that we can use to shop, pick a restaurant or find a home. Good content, relevant content, in ‘good enough’ quality.

Not the junk quality that’s common on mobile video recording today. The increased quality, access, ease-of-use and bevy of sharing tools will allow business users to shoot snippets of keynote speeches at meetings and publish them for niche audiences of hundreds or thousands, connecting peers and friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Babies first cry will get chronicled in real time with family members in different states or countries watching raptly and feeling every moment like CNN’s trucks have rolled up outside with Wolf Blitzer in tow. News will get recorded, uploaded and livestreamed of just crashed airplanes and street riots. This video content will make news and rich connections. This video will help people learn, communicate, laugh and connect. We will see and experience the kind of visceral, immersive connection with this video content that we first saw with Television.

In two years this will be reality TV…but real life in real time.

That’s my prediction. What’s your take?

Here’s an excerpt of engadget’s iPhone 3G S review talking about the video feature along with a video sample.

engadget review

Okay — you got us. Video recording on the iPhone 3G S is really quite impressive, and there are two reasons why. For starters, the phone handles pretty fantastic looking VGA video at 30 FPS, which makes for not just passable mobile video, but usable mobile video. The size, clarity, and smoothness of the sequences we shot looked tremendous to our eyes — certainly on par if not outclassing many of the contenders in this space. In our opinion, the 3G S video quality is high enough that we’d consider this a viable stand-in for lower end camcorders or flip cams — if you want to capture your kids at the park but don’t want to come packing a ton of gear, this produces totally reasonable results. – full engadget review here

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