Short answer: A good one.
“For the iPhone 4S, we set our sights on competing not with other phones, but with point and shoot cameras.” – Phil Schiller
Why focus so much on the camera?
Why does Apple want to compete with point-and-shoots?
The iPhone 4 is the #1 camera on Flickr (in quantity of pictures). It even beats out professional DSLRs like the Nikon D90, Canon 5D Mark II, and the Canon Rebel. Apple wants to remain #1.
What makes the iPhone 4S camera so great?
“The custom lens uses five precision elements to shape incoming light, which makes the entire image sharper.”
A5 processing power
“The A5 chip is designed with an image signal processor that’s just as good as the ones found in DSLR cameras.”
The A5 processor improves the white balance by 26%. The A5 improves face recognition, which ensures that each of the faces in the photo has the right amount of exposure.
Better low-light photos & videos
Thanks to a backside illumination sensor and an impressive aperture of ƒ/2.4, the iPhone 4S takes quality pictures in low light. Aperture is an indicator of how much light a camera can take in. The lower the aperture, the better.
Snap your first photo in 1.1 seconds. Each photo afterwards takes half a second. Other smartphones take 2 – 4 seconds for the first shot.
HDR takes multiple photos at different exposures and combines them to make one bright and vivid photo. This is particularly useful in settings where parts of the picture are significantly brighter than others.
Tap to focus makes it significantly faster and easier to pick the right focal point.
1080 HD video with image stabilization
In addition to taking great pictures, it’s easy to edit & touch up photos. There is a multitude of apps that let you do creative things with your camera. Another big plus with iOS 5 is that PhotoStream will sync your photos across all of your devices.
It looks like the iPhone 4S camera will be able to compete with point-and-shoot cameras, as Apple intended.
We’ll let you know how well the iPhone 4S camera works once we get a hold of one, but we’ll let Apple’s original, unchanged photos speak for themselves. Click on a photo below to enlarge: