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Appletell exclusive: Peter Csathy, CEO of Sorenson Media, addresses iPhone 4 video

Sections: Apple News, Conferences, Features, Interviews, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, WWDC

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Peter CsathyAfter all of the information announced about the iPhone 4 in Steve Jobs’ WWDC Keynote, there was certainly a lot to wonder about in terms of the impact of the iPhone’s new camera, video editing, and FaceTime capabilities. Peter Csathy—CEO of the video solutions company Sorenson Media—was just the man to offer some insight into the new features Apple announced.

We recently had the opportunity to get Peter’s unique insight into these new elements of the iPhone and tech sector in general.

What impact do you believe FaceTime will have upon Skype and other video calling applications for the desktop?

Desktop and mobile video calling use cases are very different. Accordingly, I believe both will thrive. However, live mobile video calling certainly offers “freedom” that desktop cannot. Remember, on the mobile side, we aren’t just talking about two-way live video chat—we also are talking about one-way live “See What I’m Seeing.” I have written about this several times on my blog. (Mobile Video Calling Part III — Uniquely Capturing the Ordinary & Extraordinary)

Do you see Apple expanding the FaceTime platform to future products such as the iPod Touch and iPad, or will this remain as a reason to get an iPhone over/alongside of those products?

Absolutely. It is inevitable. FaceTime—and live video chat and “See what I’m seeing”—will be relevant and powerful on any and all mobile devices ultimately. It will come as standard equipment, and it will be just another part of our everyday overall communications arsenal over time. We ain’t “seen” nothin’ yet in this regard.

Seeing as how FaceTime is only available on WiFi in 2010, what makes it better than simply logging on to a computer with a webcam?

Mobile offers the “freedom” that desktop cannot for obvious reasons. Mobile is anywhere, anytime, spontaneous. Desktop is more planned and restrictive in many aspects. And, once again, mobile live video is not just one-to-one video chat—it is one-way “See what I’m seeing”—seeing and sharing the spontaneous moments in life. Apple—the masters of marketing—offer a great video about FaceTime that emphasizes this “freedom” and spontaneity.

If the iPhone is capable of 720p video at 30fps, do you think we’ll ever see FaceTime available over a cellular network?

Certainly not for some time until the networks are significantly upgraded.

Do you see Apple’s iMovie for iPhone 4 becoming large enough of an application for simple editing that many people stop using iMovie on their Mac?

I really don’t. iPhone editing will emphasize simplicity and ease of mobile use. Accordingly, it, by definition will be very “basic” in terms of its editing capabilities. Remember, let’s focus once again on the different use cases for mobile video versus desktop video. Mobile video, typically, will be more transient—and, typically, will be about immediate uploading and sharing in a social network type environment (although mobile videos certainly too will be “archive worthy”). Desktop video editing, on the other hand, will be more “powerful” and, hence, more complex with more features. This kind of video will generally be more “archive worthy.”

What does Apple’s new camera on the iPhone 4 mean for the Flip video camera series and other similar devices? Will they remain single function devices for people wanting something cheaper than the iPhone?

Apple’s iPhone 4 just “Flipped” Cisco on its head. As much as I like the Flip cam, I never believe that there would be a long-term market for a single function video capture device. I have always believed that video capture would simply be another feature—an important one for sure—in a compelling smart phone package. Well, Apple’s iPhone 4G is that package—we are now talking about HD video capture—and, with all of the iPhone’s other “goodies” thrown in. That is a tough act to follow for the Flip. I have blogged about this several times as well. (Apple’s iPhone 4 Makes Cisco’s Head “Flip”)

At 720p with 30fps, the iPhone 4 can shoot video as well as my Nikon D90 DSLR and it’s capable of changing focus while shooting. Do you see this phone as not only impacting the phone market in terms of digital video, or the DSLR and video camera market as well?

It already has. The Flip was a game changer in the first place. While the usual suspects in the video camera market kept adding features and functionality to their video cameras, the Flip “flipped” the video camera market on its head by simplifying things—and doing it in HD. The video camera market will never be the same. Similarly, the iPhone 4G is “flipping” the handheld video camera market on its head—now making HD video capture simply another feature in the smart phone experience. Why carry several devices? One smart phone—all the video functionality you need. Now, that is powerful!

HD video editing requires quite a lot of RAM and processor speed. Do you believe Apple’s A4 chip will be able to handle any projects larger than a couple of minutes or is iMovie on the iPhone meant mostly for short YouTube uploads, etc?

The iPhone 4’s video editing is not intended to supplant powerful video editing products and solutions. The iPhone’s video editing is all about simplicity—ease of use—and social networking. Essentially, it is all about instant gratification.

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  • Rob

    Is the front facing camera locked into apples facetime system or will the skype app have access to it too. My whole family is already on skype and whatt has been lacking is the video conferencing in the iPhone skype app. Video chat only with other people with iPhone 4s seems a very limited experience.