Video On the iPhone: A Few Theories

It seems all but confirmed by Apple that video capabilities will be present with the next-generation iPhone. It may be in a few months. It may be next year. But what I’m really curious to know is what will video recording on the iPhone look like? There are a wide range of possibilities and I have a few theories, so let’s take a look.

Record now, upload later

This is the most boring of the possibilities. iPhone users will record videos, watch them on the iPhone, and eventually sync with a computer to upload them. In this case they will probably appear in the Movies section of iTunes on your computer where they can be exported to iMovie or uploaded to YouTube directly. I’m limiting this scenario to YouTube because that functionality already exists in iMovie.

This will be a closed system. Third-party applications on the iPhone will not have access to videos. The only way to upload the videos to the Internet is through syncing with a computer.

Record now, upload through the camera app

This is another closed system. The difference is iPhone users will be able to record videos and immediately upload them to the Internet through the camera app. Possible services include:

  • YouTube — Likely because it’s an established feature in iMovie.
  • Flickr (with a maximum length of 90 seconds) — The latest version of iPhoto allows Flickr photo uploads, so this may be an expansion of that relationship.
  • Facebook — Likely because it’s another new photo upload service in iPhoto. A video agreement between Facebook and Apple could significantly increase the number of video uploads to Facebook.
  • MobileMe — Perhaps Apple will introduce a basic video upload service for MobileMe subscribers. Anyone can view the videos, but only subscribers can upload to the service.

This will most likely require a Wi-Fi connection since AT&T’s 3G bandwidth is so limited.

Record now, upload from any application

Videos will be able to upload through any third-party application on the iPhone. For example, Facebook’s iPhone application will have a new button for recording video. Flickr apps, like Mobile Fotos, will also have this new button. Now imagine your favorite Twitter app (Tweetie!) adding a video record button. The recorded video will automatically upload to a video service, and a tweet will be generated with a link to the video. Cool!

Sadly, this will still require a Wi-Fi connection.

Record now, upload any way you want

Upload from any application. Upload with any connection speed…except Edge. This is obviously the most “open” format, but it seems it would fight against Apple’s desire to control the details.

What do you think? If and when video comes to the iPhone, what do you think the functionality will be like?

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