According to the latest rumors the app Nikon and Apple were said to be developing will be used to update camera firmware, sync custom settings and add features via the camera’s WiFi.
Is Nikon about to revolutionize the camera market?
Since March we’ve been hearing rumors about Nikon USA working with Apple iOS engineers on a secret project at the Cupertino campus. In June Nikon Rumors updated that the app could be used to add or purchase new features as the firmware advances, but that it is not known whether it is designed for DSLRs or for the Coolpix cameras.
The latest (unconfirmed) update from Nikon Rumors claims that not only will compatible WiFi-enabled cameras be able to add features using the app as the firmware is updated, but the firmware itself will be upgradeable using the app as well. This will save users from the hassle of connecting the camera to the computer and downloading the new firmware, and make the process very similar to the way iPhone users can upgrade their iOS.
So why do I think this could be related to the firmware download program we previously mentioned? Well, mainly because developing an app that will allow wireless firmware updates is a terrible use of resources when cameras get new firmware as infrequently as Nikons do today. It just doesn’t make sense in the current state of things, but it would make more sense if cameras were to start getting more frequent updates.
New camera releases, for the most part, aren’t as exciting and groundbreaking anymore as they used to be. That makes it harder to get people to upgrade their current gear and harder to sell the cameras to new customers. However, having the capability to add new features over time (or perhaps purchase add-ons) will definitely be a strong marketing point.
Add to that the fact that such capabilities must require considerably more advanced firmware than what’s currently in our cameras and it seems very logical that the new app and firmware download program will be available with the new models rather than existing ones.
Some might be thinking that being able to update the camera’s firmware and features will negatively impact the sale of the next generation of cameras (D6 etc). This is a possibility, but perhaps Nikon is again following in Apple’s footsteps and is looking to start making money by selling add-ons such as filters, premium features, etc. So people might not upgrade as often after buying such a camera, but the additional income from in-app purchases could more than make up for the lost revenue. Not to mention the new customers that will move to Nikon if all this will actually happen.
While some features could be aimed at the consumer level, it is mentioned that the app can manage a number of registered cameras and update them all at once. That’s convenient, but syncing custom settings between the cameras is the feature that has me most excited at the moment.
As you can see, Nikon could theoretically revolutionize DSLRs as we know them (and its own business model). On the other hand, Nikon might just release a decent-yet-useless app with nothing more than a bit of a cool factor.
There’s no expected release date for the app, if it’s true, but I’m remaining at least somewhat optimistic until I have reason to believe otherwise.
Oh, and no talk about an Android version of the app but it might just be a better kept secret.