First Click: Live Photos could be Apple’s most disruptive new announcement

September 10th, 2015

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Imagine the influence you’d wield over photography if you made the world’s most popular camera. That’s Apple with its ubiquitous iPhone. So it’s a big deal when the company introduces a new feature that’s enabled by default on every photo taken.

Announced yesterday, Live Photos extends the moment of capture by a second-and-a-half on either side of the 12 megapixel stills snapped by the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. A Live Photo isn’t a GIF (it includes sound) and it’s not a video (motion is created using a "space efficient frame-to-frame technology"). It's something "new" from Apple and the results are pretty dramatic.

What’s more, Facebook will be supporting Live Photos in the iOS Facebook app this year. And Facebook owns Instagram. In 2014 the two combined for about 400 million of the roughly 1.8 billion photos uploaded and shared each day.

Sure, HTC had Zoe long before yesterday’s Apple event. But the difference between Zoe and Live Photos is the execution and scale. In typical Apple fashion, it's not first to use the tech but it stands a good chance of being first to make it popular. But what does that mean for photography when every moment captured will soon be a 3-second clip?

As my colleague Sam Byford mused today in The Verge Slack room, "what’s the point of Cartier-Bresson capturing ‘the decisive moment’ if you can just scroll through a few seconds on either side and change the composition? The power of a photo is in what isn’t shown."

So, if photography is about removing things. And if a single frame is the ultimate expression of a moment. Is a Live Photo even a photograph?

Apple Event: Live Photos premiere

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