If you’ve been reconsidering your position as a jailbreaker thanks to recent security threats or Apple’s strong disapproval, there’s now one more reason to consider going legit. Apple just approved a new app that allows iPhones other than the 3GS to record video. That’s right, both your iPhone 3G and even the older 2G model can now shoot video, without jailbreak.
The app will cost you 99 cents, which is kind of aggravating, since this is basically a straightforward admission on Apple’s part that the only limitation heretofore that had prevented the older devices from shooting video was a software limitation, which it could’ve easily resolved itself. iVideoCamera (iTunes link), the app in question, is a third-party program, but at least Apple didn’t kill it from the start, I suppose, and it is still cheaper than upgrading to a 3GS.
iVideoCamera is far from perfect, though, and it has other limitations which are much more noteworthy than its cost. Video can only be shot at a maximum rate of around three frames per second, for instance, which is 10 times less than the 3GS’ 30-frames-per-second capability. As you might imagine, video quality is not the best.
Add to that the fact that the resolution of recordings likewise suffers compared with that of video recorded natively on the 3GS. Resolution is 160×213, paltry compared with the 640×480 SD-quality video shot by the 3GS. Also, you can only shoot clips up to a maximum of one minute in length. Thankfully, Laan Labs, the developer of iVideoCamera, is more than upfront about the limitations of its software, so this is definitely a case where the onus falls on the buyer.
Nor is it all bad news. iVideoCamera has some solid strengths, too, like the ability to share video to multiple sources quickly and easily. Like with the iPhone 3GS, 3G and 2G users who are shooting with iVideoCamera can export their recordings to YouTube, and in fact get more sharing options, including Facebook and Vimeo posting. Twitter integration is said to be coming soon. Future updates are also said to be bringing frame rate and resolution quality improvements.
Even if this particular app isn’t outstanding right now, this approval sets a terrific precedent for App Store policy. If iVideoCamera is allowed access, then in theory there’s nothing stopping Cycorder from coming in from the cold, so to speak, and being offered through legit channels. Cycorder is capable of a maximum of 15 frames per second, and records at a resolution of 384×288, so iPhone 2G and 3G owners might not have to wait long before a decently able video app makes its way into their upgrade-reluctant hands.