A new iPhone is likely headed our way September 9. Just ahead of Apple sending invitations to press, a cleverly seeded rumor suggested the next iPhone camera would be able to shoot 4K video, and get a 50 percent megapixel bump as well.
But… do you even need all of that?
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The rumor came from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, who has a good track record with Apple rumors, so I’m willing to take what he says at face value on these matters. To that, let’s just assume (for a moment) he’s at least mostly right about the new camera.
According to Gurman, the rear camera on the iPhone 6S will be 12 megapixels (it’s currently 8), and the iPhone 6S will have an upgraded A9 SoC with an improved image sensor processor so picture quality doesn’t suffer. And — as previously mentioned — shooting 4K video will be possible.
That’s all really cool — but do you need those features? The megapixel bump seems to serve 4K video; it’s not as if people were damning the iPhone’s camera. Even at 8 megapixels, it takes still shots that rival or beat Android phones with much larger sensors.
Distilled to 4K video being the big pitch at Apple’s event, it’s worth considering that you’re just not ready for it. Is your computer monitor 4K? Do you have a 4K TV? Hell, an iPhone screen doesn’t technically display content in 4K (not that you can actually tell with its pixel density, but I’m admittedly splitting hairs here), so why would you need 4K?
The short answer: you don’t.
There are already plenty of phones that shoot 4K — and you probably don’t have those, either. When the Note 5 was announced, its ability to shoot 4K video probably didn’t even move your meter on whether you’d consider buying it. If 4K won’t encourage you to migrate from iOS to Android, it’s probably not doing much for you elsewhere in life, either.
The long answer: we’ve been toying with 4K for far too long. Apple’s foray into 4K would be the most significant thing to happen to user-generated video in a long time. With an iPhone that can shoot video in that resolution, Apple will also have to update its other products to support it.
You don’t need 4K, but you’ll want it even more now that Apple is including it on its most popular device. And by the time the iPhone 7 rolls around, 4K will seem standard.
Then you’ll need it.