With the first LYTRO ILLUM cameras soon to be shipped to the photographers that preordered the camera, I wanted to summarize some of the media buzz of the past few months here on my blog… and it has been crazy!
The coolest exposure that the Illum received was probably Joshua Topolsky introducing the camera to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Many other media outlets focused (pun intended) on the product’s extraordinary design. Engadget’s Nicole Lee writes:
And what a design it is. The Lytro Illum looks like something out of a museum or a designer piece from a Parisian fashion house. It’s a sleek and stylish thing, with a unibody magnesium chassis that’s attached to a gorgeous anodized aluminum lens barrel equipped with both zoom and focusing rings.
Also David Pierce of the Verge likes the Illum:
It’s big, with a wide round lens and a large grip, but it weighs less than 2 pounds and is perfectly comfortable in my hands. Its back face is slanted, like someone chopped off part of a larger camera to form this one.
Slashgear’s Chris Davies calls the product “a menacing stealth-black camera”, while Les Shu of Digital Trends finds that “the sleek, wedge-shaped body suggests it’s anything but traditional” and Harry McCracken of Time Magazine really understands who the Illum is designed for: “the Illum targets what the company calls ‘creative pioneers,’ which it defines as professionals and passionate amateurs who are serious about staying on the cutting edge of storytelling technology.”
As one would expect, the Illum’s angled design caught the attention of many writers. Wired’s Matt Honan explains
The angled touchscreen is designed for photography where you’re less likely to be holding a camera directly up in front of your face.
Mashable’s Pete Pachal talks about the inspiration of this aspect of the product:
The back LCD is angled downward. Lytro designed it that way because the camera doesn’t have a viewfinder. The company found that when people take photos using just an LCD screen, they tend to hold the camera below their eye level, so slanting the back came naturally. Helpfully, the display is also on an articulating arm.
Last but not least, Todd Bishop of Geekwire feels that other cameras will follow suit:
expect to see much more of this angle in all sorts of cameras in the future. The reason, of course, is that we’re increasingly holding cameras (and smartphone cameras) away from our bodies and looking at larger displays, not pressing the tiny viewfinder up to our eyes. So an upward tilt makes a ton of sense.
In the bigger scheme of the product development effort behind Lytro Illum, Artefact’s industrial design involvement was fairly brief, yet Wired’s Liz Stinson was interested in hearing about our design process and Core77’s Rain Noe spoke with Artefact’s co-founder Gavin Kelly and I about our work on the product, and I was selected to being Geekwire’s Geek of the Week, due to my role in the design process of Illum… and being that geek, I simply cannot wait to receiving my own Illum and to putting it through its paces.
[Update, August 3, 2014]
Now that Lytro Illum is shipping, some journalists had the chance to review the product in person, and the feedback regarding the product’s industrial design has been very favorable.
Writes David Pierce of The Verge:
There’s also no mistaking it for any other camera. Partly because its slanted back (designed so you can see the screen while you hold the camera at chest-level) gives the Illum a vaguely aggressive look, like it’s coming for you and your loved ones. Partly because the matte gray body with blue accents looks like it maybe fell from a spaceship or was lifted from the set of Battlestar Galactica. The Illum is big, bulky, and almost intimidating. I love the way it looks.
Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler observes:
When I walked around with the Illum, the camera’s near-futuristic lines prompted bystanders to compliment it.
Intel’s “North Cape” detachable tablet reference design had been introduced at CES in January of 2013 and it did garner quite some buzz…
Different media outlets focused on different aspects of North Cape, and I wanted to take a moment to review what the press had to say about the product over the past few months:
Laptop Mag talked about the fact that this is a reference design and expressed their hope that the product would make it to market:
As a reference design, North Cape is meant to inspire OEMs rather than become a shipping product, though Intel said that it’s possible one will adopt this design. We hope they’ll take the hint.
Mashable was certainly excited about seeing the prototype at CES in Las Vegas:
Intel Shows the Awesome Laptop You’ll Be Using Next Year
The Verge clearly saw the value that North Cape’s Smart Frame adds to the product:
Smart Frame sounds like a gimmick, but when you see how narrow the bezel is around North Cape’s screen, you can understand why people might want some more free space for their thumbs.
Laptop focused mainly on the aesthetics of the product… and it sure sounds as if they liked what they saw:
A system that reminded us of a spaceship from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’
After all the dust around our Camera Futura concept seems to have settled, I took a look back at some of the hundreds of articles that were written about it. The publicity didn’t start all too well, with our little “rogue” CES video being at first considered it a hoax by some. Engadget spoke of it being “unbelievably fake” and called our initial video a “pathetic viral campaign”… we’d probably take a different route the next time around.
Still, after we posted a video vignette, describing the product’s user experience and after ReadWrite picked up on the design, the media started to focus more (pun intended) on the concept, rather than the way we first introduced it. ReadWrite’s Richard MacManus wrote the following:
As we increasingly rely on our smartphones to take photographs, wouldn’t it be great if there was a lens that could easily be added to their smart phone. That’s exactly what this camera concept aims to achieve. The Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens is an idea that would allow users to easily attach or remove a professional lens to almost any device.
My favorite article about Camera Futura was written by Wired‘s Bruce Sterling, who said:
There’s something really contemporary and even beautiful about the way this provocative “concept camera” is packaged and rolled out. First, there’s the way cameras are re-imagined “after the death of cameras” — actually, they’re imagined as if there had never been any cameras, as if cameras had always been component-based platforms and operating systems mashed-up through APIs.
And then the article itself, or the WVIL provocation, behaves as if there had never been camera companies. No economies of scale, no mass-production muscle… just an atelier shaping the tech conversation while vaguely threatening to find a production method somewhere-or-other. It’s a provocation, but it’s also a disruption. There’s something very of-the-moment about this. It’s like the camera-biz equivalent of BitCoin.
Here is what other media outlets wrote:
When can we buy one? (Please excuse the drool as I type this.)
John Pavlus, FastCo Design
Oh how I wish the 31 megapixel, full frame sensor Camera Futura camera phone were real.
This is one of the most beautiful and innovative concepts you’ll have seen in a long time, and acts upon something I’ve always wondered about—why can’t manufacturers just add cellphone guts to a camera?
Kat Hannaford, Gizmodo
Artefact has created a concept camera for the smartphone age
Jonathan Eger, Photo Weekly Online
Artefact have imagined a new camera that fits portability, flexibility and quality requirements.
So here I am, sitting at Las Vegas Airport waiting for the plane that’ll take me back home to Seattle after a few exhausting days at CES in Vegas… I feel worn out from all the meetings, I feel hung over from last night’s party, but most importantly, I feel like a naughty kid that got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
Over the past few months at Artefact, I have been working on a camera concept that aims to paint a vision for where photography could go. As we were thinking about how to best start the conversation with the industry that we are looking forward to having, we came up with the idea to staging a “stealth product introduction” on the CES show floor.
Now you have to know that the concept currently is in “appearance model” stage, meaning all we have as of today is a non-working “looks-like” mock-up of the product. Nevertheless, we shot the video next to the Polaroid and Nikon booths at CES, with Fernd and Tucker asking questions to a “WVIL product manager” (played by me) about his new product.
Issara and Yaque from Dos Rios Films pulled an all-nighter to superimpose the product’s user interface onto the camera’s screen and posted the video less than 24 hours ago.
We didn’t explain that the camera is just a design concept, but offered glimpses at the our website’s URL WVIL.de that would explain the whole story.
A few hours later, the video has over 1,500 views and some commenters are crying “fake”, completely dissecting Issara’s and Yaque’s late night work… I’ll have to catch my flight now, but will see how this story unfolds after I’m off the plane.
It feels fantastic to be a naughty kid!
We are always striving to enhance the onboard experience in creative new ways. FlightPath elevates the passenger dining experience while enhancing revenue opportunities and improving workflow for the cabin crew.
On first blush, the new FlightPath application for Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment systems looks simply like a cool flash interface. But look a little deeper and you’ll see that it is an entirely different approach to the whole passenger experience.
If you are a frequent traveller, then you are going to love this idea.
a nice juicy insight of what type of products might be around the corner.
Tom’s Hardware finds that
the possibilities for multitasking are very enticing.
Geek.com‘s Matthew Humphries clearly sees the value of Tangent Bay:
Screen space is always limited on a laptop and if you can save some by pushing a music player, Skype, IM chat window, or calendar on to a completely separate area, then all the better.
I’m sure there are apps we could keep an eye on “in the background”. Think of World Cups, for example, with games on during work hours… or the Ashes, or the European Championship, or Wimbledon, etc…
With the Epson Endeavor, I led the creation of a slim and light notebook that the US media seems to love, except maybe for the fact that the product is only available In Japan.
Akihabara thinks the notebook is a miracle:
Are you looking for a light and powerful notebook? Here’s the latest wonder from Epson, the Endeavor NA801.
In his brief report Technology Tell‘s Kian Henry focuses on the great performance-to-weight ratio and wished that he could buy one stateside…
Its also nice to see that power doesn’t have to weigh a ton, the NA801 weighs in at just over 4-pounds.
The Japanese Epson website confirms that the NA801 will retail for around $1000 when it is released, sadly this will be available only in Japan.
Reuter’s Sheena Lee has published a story on the value of innovation and design for Taiwan’s contract manufacturing businesses, in which Sheena quoted me from a recent interview…