Report: Steve Jobs Wanted Lytro’s Crazy Camera Guts In The iPhone

Before Steve Jobs passed away, he apparently had made it known he was interested in meeting with Lytro CEO Ren Ng about the possibilities of light field capture technology in iPhones. And as the story goes, Ng obliged, setting up a meeting as swiftly as is humanly possible.

This is the account given in the book Inside Apple -- and excerpted by 9to5mac -- which also has insider info about Jobs's plans to transform the television and education industries. But even more so than the other two, the possibility of Lytro's technology in an iPhone excites me the most, because of how new the actual tech is in the consumer world. When they met, Jobs was apparently impressed enough to ask for a formal email from Ng.

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.

Could you imagine the possibility of light field capture combined with apps? Of course, getting the Lytro's guts shrunken down to fit inside a phone is a completely different challenge. But it will eventually happen someday, and when it does, I'd venture to guess it will be awesome. [9to5mac]



    I'm wondering how they'd get it to fit. It's my understanding that the physics of light field photography dictates the size and shape required for this.

      Not really. The physics of all photography dictates a roughly similar shape fundamentally - a set of lenses in front of a sensor - but packing, prisims, mirrors and minaturisation can change that shape and size a lot. The challenge with lytro would be the quality at a tiny size would be unacceptably low with current technology.

    Look at - the image engine is not that big, it uses nano-lenses to do the light field magic, most of the form factor is a kick-ass focus free optic system and the battery "brick". A mobile will get this soon, because it eliminates the need for autofocus.

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