Apple Could Use 'Broadcast Quality' iPhone Cameras to Stream WWDC 2020 Sessions

"American Idol" is one of many shows to be on hiatus amid the ongoing health crisis, and last month we learned that filming is being done remotely using iPhones to finish out the current season.


According to a new TechCrunch article, the home studio rigs provided by ABC to "American Idol" hosts and contestants comprise a three-camera setup, including three iPhone 11 Pros, a tripod and a ring light, with production teams helping with camera setup and editing at a safe distance from home.

Apple also provided a statement for the article, saying its iPhones offer a novel portable solution for professionals to deliver "broadcast quality" video, despite the stay-at-home restrictions.

We know that people are relying on their favorite shows while staying at home, and we are happy to be a part of that process with the team at American Idol. iPhone offers a unique solution to deliver broadcast quality video, in the palm of your hand, while keeping production staff and on-air talent safe and in their homes.

Apple's consumer equipment has been used before to produce TV shows and other broadcasts from home. For example, well-known talk show host Conan O'Brien shoots his show from home using an ‌iPhone‌, while all of his guests use Skype and the rest of his crew is working from home.

Apple itself is planning to use iPhones for streaming broadcasts at WWDC 2020, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, although the extent of this reliance on iPhones is likely to be limited to developer sessions. Expect Apple's keynote presentation and other prominent broadcasts to involve more professional studio rigs and tracking equipment.

Apple's virtual WWDC event kicks off next month and will be hosted in the Apple Developer app and the Apple Developer website. The event will be free for all developers, and Apple's keynote is likely to fall on on June 22, when WWDC begins.

Top Rated Comments

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13 weeks ago
Just no. "broadcast quality" would mean a 422 codec in HD, far less compression and a lot of other things, from the technical sides alone.

Then there's hardware requirements (4-8 audio Tracks, nice Lenses,...).

Iphones have good cameras for a phone, but they don't hold a candle to TV cameras or even DSLRs. Yet.

There's a reason a decent camera lens cost's more than an iphone. Computational photography and cheaper storage will probably close that gap someday but not that soon.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks ago


High quality, indeed.

Incidentally, I just sold my Canon DSLR as it was very much redundant since the iPhone 11 Pro. Not that this was the expected outcome, by the way.

Were you just not using it much for photography? There’s a clear difference in quality between the iPhone and DSLRs, even on the newest iPhones.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks ago
"Broadcast quality"?



Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks ago
OK Apple now do this for the front-facing iPhone cameras and Mac cameras. We really need higher quality front cameras, as good as the rear cameras, in the age of video conferencing. This includes larger lenses, OIS, larger pixels, and high-output, high-CRI LEDs.

More people are going to use the front camera than the rear camera.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks ago
I own a Canon SL2, entry level and at this point a bit old. There’s no way to compare.

Even more if we’re talking about the subject of the thread: video. You‘re simply not going to get a shallow depth of field out of the iPhone while it can be easily achieved with a Canon 50mm ($120?) lens.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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13 weeks ago
If I was Apple... I would create a bunch of remote kits! Basically, a pair of iPhones with tripods and one ring light and one panel light, one iPhone with a stabilizer handle for moving about, two iPad's one as a prompter with a tripod setup, the second iPad setup as the video switch and editing station for all of the feeds. With all of the needed apps setup on the iPhone's & iPad's.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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