What Does the New iPhone Mean for Video?

Before I bought a FLIP Mino HD two weeks ago, more than one person suggested I wait and just get the iPhone 3G S that became available last week. As posited in this blog post — the iPhone is good enough.

The 3G S is the first iPhone that will allow you to shoot a video, edit it, and share it with others. The wildly popular tech blog engadget was very much taken by the video features, writing, “Video recording on the iPhone 3G S is really quite impressive, and there are two reasons why. For starters, the phone handles pretty fantastic looking VGA video at 30 frames per second, which makes for not just passable mobile video, but usable mobile video.”

This is a giant step for possibly a million different reasons. I won’t bother to count them, but follow me on this. First, Apple put portable music on the map with a business model. Before Apple came out with its iPod and iTunes, just about everybody had been screaming for years about the difficulties of doing digital music. Apple had a vision for how to serve music fans, developed a compelling product, and delivered it to millions of people — selling billions of songs in the process.

Then there’s this little thing called the App Store, which reinvented how people use their phones. The store has launched cottage industries with everything under the sun including productivity apps, gaming apps, and marketing apps such as the Zippo lighter or the Coca-Cola Spin-the-Bottle iPhone App.

Which brings us back to why iPhone 3G S (the “S” is for Speed) may actually serve as the tipping point for bringing a sustainable business model to mobile video. I don’t know exactly what shape the newly empowered iPhonerati video world will be, but I do know a few things.

If history is any guide, a few individuals will make money from either creating content or tools for the iPhone video world. A handful of companies will seize upon the aspirations and talents of newly empowered video users and they, too, will make money by offering services and content. Significantly more video will consumed, leading to more ads being served against that video. If that happens, a business model for online video will emerge — or at least allow for more learning. And perhaps most importantly are the numbers. Apple reported it sold more than one million iPhone 3G S over three days since it first becoming available Friday, representing an increase in the number of mobile video users. This should spark interest from all corners of the video world.

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