The Future Is Ours To See...

We're about to have an example of how I think about tech versus how the camera makers think about tech ;~). 

The rumors are pretty strong that Apple is about to add Thunderbolt capability to the iPhone 15 Pro when it's announced on September 12th. I'm sure Apple thought why should they just switch to the USB-C physical port as Europe now requires, when they can rub Europe's face in the reason why forced standards can be inhibiting to tech? If the rumor is true, Apple's going to still control the connector on the iPhone, despite the EU trying to reign them in.

But that's a different story for a different day. 

In Silicon Valley, one of my side jobs at most companies was trying to figure out what tech would be available in five to ten years, and what that might now allow in terms of product and solving user problems. 

Guess what? Truly fast data speed on the smartphone's physical port has been one of the things I've been looking at for some time. It's one of the reasons why I hated the Lightning connector Apple used, as it's not a speed demon by any sense of the word (plus it doesn't fit into the known progression of standards and requires unique cabling).

At the first rumor of an iPhone getting Thunderbolt speed capability (or even USB-C 3.2 full speed), I would have been on the horn to try to get into Apple's early developer program if I were directing R&D efforts on a camera such as the Canon R3, Nikon Z9, or Sony A1. Why? Because it could help solve a key problem the top-end users of those cameras have: moving data off the camera at ridiculous speeds. 

I've railed against Nikon's NX MobileAir. Besides being minimal in features and performance, Nikon wants to charge you US$4.49 a month to save unlimited files and folders on the phone you already own. It's not a cloud charge, it's simply a charge that lets you store more than one folder and 999 images on the phone you already own in the memory it already has. Money grab! Enough of a money grab that I've been tempted to design and write my own solution.

Imagine, however, that Nikon actually added useful features to their app and enabled 10Gbs+ transfers. Yes, I might pay for that. 

Now, from the camera maker's perspective, things work differently. "Wait, you want us to do something that works just with an iPhone 15 Pro?" The bean counters in Tokyo will almost certainly automatically say no to that. What they don't understand is that with the right NX MobileAir type software, most of the R3, Z9, or A1 users who live at the top of the PJ/sports image chain would rush to buy an iPhone 15 Pro to dedicate to using the fire hose pipe it enables. But only if the camera maker (a) optimized the output from the USB-C port on the camera, and (b) built a truly useful smartphone app. 

I'm pretty sure I can build a solid business case to jump on the iPhone 15 Pro's improved communications ability. It's not just a modest small revenue/profit win, it's also a huge bragging win amongst the user base that is most influential and most likely to jump ship when something "better" comes along. 

But that's me. The camera companies think differently*.


* Yes, an oblique Que Sera, Sera reference.
** Yes a Steve Jobs Apple reference. But one thing about those words is that they could be construed two different ways, one positively, one negatively. 

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