I’m going to venture a guess that some of the most photographed moments in life are birthday parties. We’re using our phones to snap pictures of our kids, friends, and relatives on their special day, but when the cake comes out and the lights go dim, picture quality decreases into a grainy, blurry mess. Sony wants to help clean up this mess. Yesterday it announced new censors built specifically for cell phones that will bring white-light detectors into the picture (literally). White light detectors help a camera make out what lurks in the shadows of your shot. From the BBC: “Although white-light sensing pixels cannot distinguish colour, they have a higher sensitivity to light across the entire visible spectrum thanks in part to the fact they do not have a colour filter covering them.” I know, this sounds like I’m trying to feed you a fork-full of science, and maybe I am, but even if you don’t care about white-light sensors and you’re drinking your coffee thinking “oh, he’s all pixel this and pixel that,” just think about how much better your life will be when you capture and post a photo-set of granny singing happy birthday just as her dentures are decide to come loose.
Speaking of your phone and pictures, the new, tell-all Apple book, “Inside Apple”, says that one of the three things Steve Jobs really wanted to revolutionize was photography (TV and textbooks were the others). The book says he contacted and had a meeting with Ren Ng, CEO of Lytro, the camera that everybody’s been going bananas over for the past year. The same camera that lets you change the focus of your picture after you’ve snapped it. Mac Rumors quotes from the book about a meeting Ng had with Jobs: “Ng, who is thirty-two, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of Lytro’s technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs’s request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he’d like Lytro to do with Apple.” So, add focus-later cameras to the list of possibilities for the iPhone 5.