The Cameras on the iPhone 4, Plus the HD Video in Action

There has been a lot of hype with the iPhone 4 lately, with its new iOS 4 and multitasking, speculation on a CDMA version, video conferencing via Wi-Fi, and all that (512MB) RAM. However, far less attention has been paid to the new camera configuration itself and its potential. Could Apple’s implementation make having two cameras (one on the front and one on the back) essential to compete in the smartphone market?

First, lets look at the quality of the regular (rear facing camera). A 5 megapixel with an LED flash, it takes pretty decent pictures on par with cheaper standalone point and shoot. The real magic though is the 720p HD video at 30fps that it can take. Electronista has reported that a Czech has gotten their hands on a working release version of the iPhone 4 and has uploaded some footage that they shot.

Pretty nice. While it will never be a replacement for a real video camera, it sure beats trying to lug around one when you need convenience.

Now for the front facing camera that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has promised will allow iPhone 4 users to video conference via Wi-Fi. At VGA quality, it will work decently for the job. Kind of like a little webcam right on your smartphone. Skype anyone? But the really cool news is that developers have already started working on apps that take advantage of it.

While perhaps not the most innovative of ideas, the Mirror App (comes out June 24th), will let you use the front camera as a mirror by running the video output straight to the screen. That could come in handy for women who would like to check their makeup on the go. Or the particularly vain among us who will be lost staring into their pseudo-reflection for hours at a time. The app even offers color correction for strange lighting situations.

Plenty of new and innovative uses could be found for the little camera in the future. I’m thinking of poker games that allow you to see each other’s facial expressions while playing, the ability to send MMS video messages of yourself, or maybe even some type of Chatroulette. On second thought, no iChatroulette please.

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