360 Camera News and Info

Insta360 ONE is now available from the Apple store with bullet time handle; why this is GREAT news

Insta360 One is the first 360 camera in the Apple Store
Insta360 One is the first 360 camera in the Apple Store

Apple is now selling a 360 camera on their online store, and it’s the Insta360 ONE!  The bundle includes Insta360‘s selfie stick, a mini-stand,  and the new bullet-time handle.  This is huge!

Insta360 ONE now at Apple Store
Insta360 ONE now at Apple Store

Apple is now carrying Insta360 ONE.  It’s somewhat buried in their site.  You need to go to the online store, go to accessories, and click to see all the categories.  Under the Photography category, you’ll see the Insta360 ONE bundle, alongside the Red Raven camera, GoPro Hero 6, and many DJI products, among others.  Nonetheless, I think it’s fantastic for the 360 industry that Apple has decided to include a 360 camera in their store.

I don’t know if Apple held a beauty pageant or Insta360 persuaded them to carry the ONE, but if there was a 360 camera that would be best for Apple’s market, I would also choose the Insta360 One (reviewed here).

Among consumer 360 cameras, the Insta360 One doesn’t have the best photo quality or video quality per se, nor is it even the absolute easiest to use, but what it does have is the best balance of performance, function and workflow (see my 360 camera ranking).  While the GoPro Fusion has significantly better video quality, its workflow isn’t so convenient yet (especially not for Macs, which seem to take longer to stitch Fusion videos).  In contrast, the One has a polished interface with few bugs, and a smooth workflow both on mobile and desktop, plus many features including the best overcapture style interface (which is why I rated it 8.8 for usability).  At the same time, its photo and video quality are both very good (rated 8.8 and 8.5 respectively).  It has no glaring weaknesses, except perhaps for those who are dependent on remote live view (which is not available on the One).

Future implications?

I’m hoping that Apple is carrying Insta360 One in order to test the market demand for them.  And I’m hoping that if the Insta360 ONE does sell well, Apple will consider either creating a 360 camera accessory of their own or perhaps releasing an iPhone with a built-in 360 camera.  (I know that naysayers will say this is wishful thinking!)

Just yesterday, we were talking about 360 cameras being ready for prime time, and one comment on Facebook was from Etienne Leroy (a developer with V360) who commented that 360 cameras would become mainstream when they are added to phones by major smartphone manufacturers.

Samsung of course created their own 360 cameras – indeed two of them: one in 2016 and another in 2017.  But they didn’t announce another one at this year’s Mobile World Congress.  I don’t think either of the Gear 360s failed (in fact, Gear 360 is the second most popular 360 camera after the Theta, and for video, it may very well be the most popular).  At the same time, they haven’t become mainstream devices either, despite being given away for free in some Samsung smartphone promotions.

As I mentioned yesterday, I think the issue is lack of public awareness of a 360 camera’s benefits for non-360 photos and videos.  As I responded to some comments yesterday, it may be too difficult to inspire average consumers to take up 360 photos or 360 videos as completely new ways to capture their lives.  Instead, I believe it is more practical to show how 360 cameras can be better for non-360 photos and videos than their smartphone.  This will enable the 360 camera industry to get a solid foothold for consumers.  Only then can we consider persuading them to try shooting 360 videos.

This is where I think Insta360 has an opportunity and a challenge.  Insta360 internally is very active about developing features not just for 360 photos and videos but also for non-360 photos and videos, such as Freecapture or Multiview.  But the 360 community needs to help get the word out about how 360 cameras are great for non-360 photos and videos as well.  Here’s a video that can help do that (it’s for the Nano, but many of the benefits apply to other stabilized 360 cameras as well).

BTW I’m also hoping that this means the bullet time will be available soon on Amazon. I’ll try to find out.

Thanks to tech vlogger Pepe Vazquez (360 Tips & Tricks) and reader Francois for bringing this to my attention!

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  • Given we have already said elsewhere that the market is already over saturated (too many manufacturers of 360 cams), I am not sure I would care for yet another manufacturer (Apple) to get into 360. I’d rather Apple just support some of the existing ones.

    And, as for integrating a 360 camera to a phone, I think the Nano S does a pretty good job (more so than the One) at grafting itself to an iPhone. (I am surprised that Apple does not carry the Nano S). Anyhow, if Apple made its own 360 camera, it would be iPhone compatible only…

    As for full integration of a 360 camera in a phone, as I’ve mentioned in another post, it’s already been done with the ProTruly Darling, as you know. But I wonder if integrating a 360 camera in a phone is really the best way to go. Many of the applications of 360 cameras call for them to be some distance away (mounted on selfie sticks / monopods) and I am not sure people want to have their phones at a distance, should they need to take a call ! 😉

    • Hi Francois. It’s true the market is saturated, but if Apple created a 360 camera or integrated it into their iPhone, that in itself would ‘validate’ 360 cameras and cause people to become more interested in it.

      Yes I saw ProTruly — I even have a video demo of it on one of my posts. For Protruly to do it on one of their phones, vs. for Apple to do it would be totally different. 🙂

      Yes 360 cameras need to be some distance away. That was the point of my other post though — you can crop it to a somewhat conventional FOV (around 90 degrees FOV) and even as a cropped footage, the quality is ‘acceptable’. Because it can do this, it is now feasible for manufacturers to use it as a general purpose camera.

      Best regards,

      • > but if Apple created a 360 camera or integrated it into their iPhone, that in itself would ‘validate’ 360 cameras.

        So far, Apple has not produced any camera besides those integrated into their products. Therefore it would be a first if they did. They didn’t even jump into the action camera market. So I doubt they would want to go into an already overcrowded market that I am sure they perceive as yet another niche market. I think they are well aware that most people are satisfied with the built-in camera on their phone. And adding a 360 camera to their phone would add bulk and cost and might actually hurt the rest of the industry. So I’d prefer they just leave it alone.

  • Thanks for the insight, has that “90° handle” become available for sale separately now or is it going to stay an Apple exclusive ?

    • Hi Bill! For now it is available only from Insta360 directly or from Apple. But pls stay tuned for my review video of the insta360 one for another alternative. In the meantime, you can see my older alternative here (which I believe was the inspiration for Insta360’s handle): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83beUsu-IiE
      Best regards,

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