Phones with cameras only started appearing on the market in late 2001; now they’re everywhere. By the end of 2003 more camera phones were sold worldwide than standalone digital cameras, and by 2006 half of the world’s mobile phones had a built-in camera.
The social impact of this phenomenon should not be underestimated; the ubiquity of these devices has had a profound affect on society and on the way that news and information propagate. Mobile phones are constantly carried, which means their camera is always available. This constant availability has led to some innovative third party applications, especially with the new generation of smart phones. The iPhone has been designed with always-on connectivity in mind.
Until recently, only the iPhone has featured a camera in all of the available models. However the latest generation of both the iPod touch and iPad now also have cameras.
The original iPhone and iPhone 3G feature a fixed-focus 2.0-megapixel camera, while the iPhone 3GS features a 3.2-megapixel camera with auto-focus, auto-white balance and auto-macro focus (up to 10cm). The iPhone 3GS camera is also able of capturing 640×480 pixel video at 30 frames per second. Although the earlier models are physically capable of capturing video, they are limited in software and this feature is not available at the user level. The latest iPhone 4 features a 5-megapixel camera with better low-light sensitivity and backside illuminated sensor. The camera ...