iOS 5 Panoramic Camera Feature Spoiled for iPhone 5

A programmer and iPhone user has discovered a hidden panoramic camera feature in iOS 5 that was obviously meant for the iPhone 5. With the panoramic camera feature spoiled, how will Apple now upgrade the camera feature for the next iPhone? 

All throughout the 2011 iPhone 5 rumor mill, analysts and pundits predicted that one of key features on the 2011 iPhone would be a panoramic feature. Few were dismayed by the lack of the panoramic feature on the iPhone 4S — partly because disappointment in the iPhone 4S had more to do with it not being the “iPhone 5,” and partly because the camera upgrades on the 4S were impressive enough in their own right. By all assumptions, any introduction of a panoramic camera feature was to be reserved for the iPhone 5 in 2012.

A computer programmer and iPhone user, however, has put an end to any grand plan by Apple to roll out a panorama feature for the iPhone 5‘s camera. According to TechSpot and a host of other media outlets, the panoramic function and an “autocorrect bar” is present in the current version of iOS 5 and can be hacked into. Even more surprising is that “Both items can be enabled without jailbreaking your iPad or iPhone, but not without a few initial steps.”

The articles goes on to explain that “iOS hacker, Sonny Dickson, was responsible for unearthing an “Android-like” autocorrect bar Thursday morning. In fact, the autocorrect  bar is so “Android-like”, it may explain in part Apple’s reservation to include it as a production feature.” At the same time, the fact that Cupertino chose to include in the current release of iOS 5 is surprising; it is hard to believe that Apple developers assumed it would not be found, given the level of exuberance that Apple enthusiasts pour over the details and designs of Apple gadgets.

It very well be that the crux of TechSpot’s theory — that Apple recognized the feature to be too Android-like to promote, and that highlighting it would have invited scrutiny and criticism for being too derivative of the Android platform. Instead, Cupertino may have slipped in with the knowledge that it would eventually be discovered by hackers like Mr. Dickson. Why, however, would Apple include anything in iOS 5 — announced or unannounced — that would be too Android-like?

It is a strange development, and hard to understand. Apple, to my knowledge, has not responded to the discovery.

It remains to be seen whether or not this will disqualify any further panoramic functionality being included on the iPhone 5. It very well may be that Apple will tweak what they already have and give it an official debut in 2012 with the iPhone 5 and/or launch of an iOS 6. Or, in a future iOS 5 software update, Apple may choose to roll it out officially. What seem unlikely, however, is that Cupertino’s developers will overhaul it for official inclusion in the next iPhone. Otherwise, it would make the current panoramic feature’s inclusion seem even more ham-handed and pastiche than it already appears.


By Michael Nace


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