Apple's iPhone is changing the way we do, well, just about everything these days. With the release of the 3G version things are really heating up in the mobile market. The 3.5″ 480×320 pixel display makes for a great portable platform for video and with either 8GB or 16GB there is ample space to store a fair amount of it.. So it's no wonder that applications are popping up for all sorts of interesting things to be done in regards to video. With the powerful processor, large screen and ample storage space the iPhone is a great platform for video, but what about apps?
Video Recording and Live Video:
There are already applications in development which will allow you to record video on the iPhone via its 2.0Megapixel camera at up to 30 frames per second. The most notable is Drunknbass (I hope they change the name) from MonsterandFriends.com as it was one of the first to be able to do it from a third-party developer (functional demo on the original iPhone). The application is still in development but it makes the future of iPhone video recording an exciting area to track. Strangely Apple didn't include any built-in functionality for this in either version of the iPhone, but it has to be the most highly anticipated of the iPhone video applications for users.
Flixwagon, a mobile live video broadcasting platform (sometimes referred to as lifecasting), announced back in June that using their alpha client, they successfully streamed the first-ever high quality video stream from unlocked iPhones to the internet.
The people over at Veveo developed vTap for the original iPhone and it's still rather popular. What is it? Well it's a simple and fast way to get video content from the web streaming to your iPhone. By pointing the iPhone's browser at vTap you can gives you the ability to search, browse and view web video all from one site. This is not only Youtube video but expands into professionally developed content from IPTV providers, news agencies, and of course, video advertisers.
In addition, several new, free applications have been developed that offer iPhone 3G users the ability to search for and watch online videos:
- Truveo.com - Video search engine owned by AOL which finds videos to play on the iPhone.
- - Offers content from sources such as CBS, Spike, VH1, G4, and The Style Network, direct to your iPhone.
- mDialog.com - This application, enables video sharing on the iPhone, as well as Apple TV.
Origin Digital is one of the first video content distribution companies that believe they can cater to the iPhone market. Their end-to-end solution can capture video from any source and then pipe it into the IPTV channels making the video scalable and easily accessible to a variety of platforms. I imagine this will start becoming a standard the norm in the near future as those millions of iPhone users start searching out video content on their phones. While Origin Digital isn't doing much new in regards to online video they do seem poised to connect users, broadcasters and advertisers and gather all the metrics into one place for the content providers.
iPhone Video Future Perfect?
For some reason Apple has now released two versions of the iPhone without a video recording application. We know that they have the technical savvy to pull it together, so why are they lagging behind? Perhaps this is simply a case of 'no profit no need,' or else it's a case of '$10 a pop via the App Store' meaning a lot of profit for them in the future. Of course with third-parties already developing video recording apps it could leave Apple out in the cold on this one whether they distribute their apps through the App Store or not.
For video playback the iPhone is an ideal platform. Unfortunately, at present the compatible formats are limited (see below) but at least those formats are able to display in fairly high quality considering the size of the screen and the unit in general. Expect to see alternative video players coming out that will add on codecs and functionality to take advantage of better compression in order to save storage space but maintain quality.
From a video content viewpoint while no standards are set in stone at present Apple has driven technology in the past and could do so again with only supporting H.264 natively. Many in the industry have called for it to be the standard video format while many others have protested it becoming a standard. As the IAB recommends H.264 and AAC in its Video Ad Format Standards it could be a foregone conclusion at this point.
That's a Wrap:
iPhone video is still in its infancy but it is set to explode. By the end of the year, thanks to the App Store, there should be loads of video applications in the works and available. Expanded compatibility, new features, recording, viewing and maybe even editing should all be available eventually, as well as video chat (maybe in iPhone version 3). That means video and video ads will need to be optimized to fit onto that 3.5″, 480×320 pixel screen because it's going to become a major platform for video consumption. If the recent Nielsen report is correct then the mobile video viewing trend is going to keep climbing, driven by the iPhone and other large screen, powerful mobile devices.
Technical Specs for 3G iPhone Video:
The 3G iPhone supports H.264 up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats