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’.