Like most of you new iPhone 4 owners out there, I decided to use my weekend activities to test out some of the phone’s capabilities. Mainly, its quality and ease of taking and sharing photos and videos. Taking and sharing photos was a snap. Upgrading from a 3G, I was impressed by the iPhone’s touch-to-focus capability. Video, on the other hand, was something I was completely surprised about.
When the iPhone 4 was announced at WWDC a couple of months back, it was said its camera would be able to record video in 720p resolution. The camera does, in fact, record in 720p. But this weekend, I learned a shocking truth. If you upload the video onto YouTube or decide to share it on your picture / video Twitter sharing website of choice (i.e. TwitPic, Posterous, etc.), the quality of the video is degraded to a maximum resolution of 568×320. In order to publish video onto YouTube at 720p, you’ll need to connect your iPhone 4 to your computer, import the video into iPhoto (or whatever your import tool of choice is), and then upload the video to YouTube from your computer.
This kind of small detail is one that will make a huge impact on how iPhone 4 users will share their media online. I for one enjoy sharing what I’m doing or experiencing with my friends, family, and followers online. One of the major selling points of the iPhone 4 for me was being able to take better quality photos and video, but this limitation is certainly going to impact my ability to share my videos while I’m on the go.
If I had to guess why Apple decided to limit the the resolution of videos uploaded directly from the iPhone 4, it’s probably to save AT&T from having over 1.7 million iPhone 4 owners uploading 720p video in order to save its 3G network from degrading further. I hope my guess is inaccurate, but seeing as how Apple has been partaking in some shady business practices during their exclusive dealings with AT&T, I don’t see how I could be. As I said, I hope I’m wrong and hopefully Apple allows iPhone 4 users the ability to upload in 720p directly from the iPhone 4 in the future.
As points of reference, here are two videos that I uploaded this weekend. It’s the same video, but uploaded through different means. This first one was uploaded straight from my iPhone 4:
This second video was uploaded by downloading the video from my iPhone 4, to then upload it onto YouTube to make it 720p: