Last July I published the eBook "Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution" on Amazon. It's still a great resource (yeah, of course I'd think so) if you want to understand why smartphones are shaking up the imaging business and why they're going to get even bigger. Still, with news coming from Zeiss and now Leica about entering the smartphone space, I feel a need for an update.
When I bought my iPhone 6S Plus just months ago, I opted to go onto Apple's annual upgrade program. You can argue whether or not it's the most cost-effective way to own this level of tech (probably not), but for me, that wasn't the point. The fact is, smartphone imaging is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace, and at the front of it all are multi lens/sensor combos and powerful stitching software. I expect the next iPhone will have dramatically improved imaging capabilities, and I want in.
For traditional camera and lens manufacturers, it's "get on board or get lost" time.
Lelca needs no introduction, but you may not know about Huawei or the central role Chinese manufacturers already play in the smartphone ecosystems. According to Wikipedia,
"Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (i/ˈhwɑːˌweɪ/) is a Chinese multinational networking andtelecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen,Guangdong. It is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, having overtaken Ericsson in 2012."
To put this into perspective, Apple's iPhones are produced in China by Foxconn, even as components are made by companies such as Samsung and Sony and others.
So: Leica is getting on board, and I predict within a year, 18 months at the outside, we'll have Leica lens-branded smartphones the same way we already have Leica branded lenses for Panasonic - which in turn is what Zeiss already has for Sony, and already announced for ExoLens.
It's a brave new world.