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The ongoing global health crisis is having an interesting halo effect on Apple’s product marketing, shining a spotlight on what the iPhone 11 Pro camera is actually capable of.
Due to shelter-in-place and social distancing orders, it’s no longer possible for people to show up on Hollywood sound stages, but that doesn’t mean that the studios have given up entirely.
In fact, a report last month from Deadline revealed that American Idol would be continuing its production schedule thanks to the ability of the iPhone 11 Pro to allow them to shoot broadcast-quality video from their own homes.
According to Deadline, the producers of American Idol sent each contestant “lighting equipment, wardrobe and the latest iPhones” so that they could film their own segments themselves and submit them to the show.
Showrunner Trish Kinane added that “These top of the range iPhones are amazing,” adding that she wouldn’t be surprised if they end up actually using them in the studio.
A more recent article from TechCrunch has offered some more details on exactly what these rigs look like, noting that each contestant and host was actually provided with three iPhone 11 Pros, along with a tripod and a ring light, while production teams assisted remotely with camera setup and editing.
Apple of course was happy to assist by providing the necessary iPhone models, adding that the iPhone “offers a unique solution to deliver broadcast-quality video in the palm of your hand.”
American Idol hasn’t been the only production to take advantage of the iPhone 11 Pro, although it’s certainly the most high-profile show and probably the most ambitious undertaking.
Several talk show hosts, including Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon have also been using their iPhone to record their shows from the safety and comfort of their own homes, while the CBS drama All Rise leveraged FaceTime to produce an episode of the series, and Al Roker of The Today Show set up a backyard studio using an iPhone 11 Pro to transmit his video feed, along with an iPad Pro and an older iPhone model as a teleprompter and the return studio feed, respectively, while also popping in an AirPod as a talkback earpiece.
So it’s probably not a huge surprise that Apple plans to use the iPhone for most of its streaming broadcasts at its virtual WWDC next month. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently confirmed this in a Tweet, although it’s been suggested that this will be limited to developer sessions; Apple’s larger keynote presentation will likely still use more professional studio rigs, and probably still take place at the Apple Park Campus, which is expected to reopen in early June, although it seems likely that Apple will still continue to have as many of its engineers working from home as possible, meaning that many of the WWDC developer sessions may still be conducted in a more unique way.
Apple’s all-new online WWDC will kick off on June 22, and for the first time the conference will be offered for free to all developers, who can access all of the sessions using Apple’s Developer app on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, or by visiting the Apple Developer website from just about any device with a web browser.
While Apple has yet to share a detailed schedule, it’s likely that the event will kick off with the usual opening keynote to announce the usual major OS updates, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and macOS 10.16.