Steve Jobs Was Considering Lytro In His Quest to Reinvent Photography

In November of last year, Steve Jobs’ official biographer Walter Isaacson revealed that Jobs had wanted to reinvent three things: television, textbooks, and photography. Last week Apple announced that it was reinventing textbooks with iBooks 2, which is intended to start a digital textbook revolution. The company is also rumored to be working on a Siri-enabled TV. Now, hints about what Steve Jobs wanted to do with photography are starting to emerge, and the murmuring is centered around one company: Lytro.

Apparently in Jobs’ final months of life, he made an effort to meet with Lytro founder Ren Ng to discuss the light-field technology, which eschews traditional focusing by capturing an entire “light field”, allowing the focus and depth of field in photos to be applied after photos are taken. In his upcoming book Inside Apple, Adam Lashinsky writes,

The company’s CEO, Ren Ng, a brilliant computer scientist with a PhD from Stanford, immediately called Jobs, who picked up the phone and quickly said, “if you’re free this afternoon maybe we would could get together.” Ng, who is thirty-two, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of Lytro’s technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs’s request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he’d like Lytro to do with Apple.

Lytro’s consumer light-field camera has yet to hit store shelves, but perhaps the company is already working with Apple to bring the technology to a future iPhone… That would certainly be a big step towards ‘reinventing photography’.

(via 9to5Mac)

Image credit: Steve Jobs Keynote by acaben

  • Jeff Adair

    This makes perfect sense and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see something from Apple. I think they always wanted to re-enter the photography market..

  • eenoog (one-eye)

    You mean rediscover.

    Like he rediscovered this video and made the vision his own. Inventions were not his forte.

    Light-field photography celebrated its 100th birthday in 2008.

    He would probably love what these guys do as well (another design patent!):

  • Werter

    mac can discover only stupid things, its anothe lord of money .. stupid i-everithing

  • outdoorWI

    I’m pretty sure that the consumer Light Field Camera was Ren Ng’s vision, not Steve Job’s.  

  • Chris Newhall

    Inventions were not his forte but turning other people’s inventions into something magical was.

  • Gavin Stokes

    How is bringing something to the i-phone (the lytos) which has already been invented, reinventing photography. My god when people are writing about the iphone do their heads just spaz out or something and they become incapable of constructing an article that makes sense. Mac freaks….jeezzzzzzz. Please stop posting stuff my incompetent writers

  • Murano

    mac suck

  • Dale Berman

    I am a professional photographer and I would say Lytos is the next big thing.  Lytos is not yet ready for the consumer and professional market.  This is exciting technology.  Being able to control your focus after you have taken the picture is amazing.  If Apple brought that to the Iphone it would be a major step and if Lightroom has something to do with the technology that would be what I would be interested in plus being able to shoot this Technology on a Canon camera would be great too.  Not sure if Lytos is going to make a line of professional cameras or will they license the technology.  Apple knows how to take existing technology make it better and apply it to their products before others can.  That is why they are the best at what they do.

  • Tom Upton PhotoSaurus Rex

    Don’t hold your breath on Lytro, The technology is still hardware intensive, and focus is not the problem everyone thinks it is. Just for dilletantes and the lazy. At $500 a pop they re dreaming.