iMovie for iPhone

Speaking today at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2010, Apple CEO Steve Jobs blew the roof off the joint by showing the new iPhone 4. Not only did he claim that the phone’s new camera will shoot 720p/30 video, but he debuted the new $4.99 iMovie app for iPhone, allowing users to trim clips, apply transitions, and create titles without leaving their mobile environment. What’s more, the new phone will have a very high resolution 960×640 pixel display that should make working with its touch screen a real pleasure, and its front-facing video camera and “FaceTime” wi-fi video-chat capabilities will make remote collaboration a whole new game.

Editing on the iPhone isn’t going to make dedicated NLE workstations obsolete, of course, but it’s another step toward mobilizing — and miniaturizing — the creation of content. While the quality of HD video shot on your phone will be dubious, there may be some situations where pros get a kick out of using their iPhone to shoot and string together some video clips. But having this kind of functionality on a palm-sized device carries clear implications for the entire PC hardware market.

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks,” Jobs said recently, spinning a metaphor at the D: All Things Digital technology conference. “But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy.” If Apple believes desktop and laptop computers are destined to become specialized hardware, it will be pushing mobile devices like the iPhone and the iPad as the new general-purpose platform for users.

One of the biggest advances in post-production technology over the last 10 years has been the usage of powerful laptop computers that help editors move out of dark cutting rooms and onto locations — or even just into their local coffee shop, city park, or commuter train. 10 years from now, will tiny devices with super-high-quality displays, built in NLEs, and the capability to redefine the idea of “face time” with a distant client offer their own miniature revolutions for filmmakers?