How Apple’s iPhone devastated the camera industry

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the most powerful and advanced smartphones ever, feature a triple-camera cluster
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the most powerful and advanced smartphones ever, feature a triple-camera cluster

Felix Richter for World Economic Forum:

One of the standout features in Apple’s latest iPhone XS is the camera. Many reviewers agree that, hidden behind terms like Smart HDR and Neural Engine, the XS takes significantly better photos than its predecessors, with results edging ever closer to the quality once reserved to expensive interchangeable lens cameras…

According to CIPA, a Japan-based industry group with members such as Olympus, Canon and Nikon, worldwide camera shipments dropped by 84 percent between 2010 and 2018. The steep decline was mainly driven by a drop-off in shipments of digital cameras with built-in lenses, the type that casual photographers used to rely on prior to the rise of smartphone photography.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s rather amazing that worldwide camera shipments dropped by 84% in just eight years! iPhone, killer.


  1. Before the iPhone we had invested in “consumer digital cameras”. They were smaller and easier to carry on trips, and were handy to reach for “events” like the kids birthday parties. All the stuff that smartphone cameras now take care of.

    The professional market is probably now the last profit market for camera makers. Watch a national broadcast of a football game and check the cameras on the side line. The pros are using lenses that can be more expensive than the most expensive iPhone. I don’t see that market disappearing.

    Te most interesting factor in the explosion of smart camera photography is that there are so many cameras out there that it is going to be hard to commit a crime without people taking pictures or videos of you breaking the law.

    1. It’s about usage. iPhones are used far more than Android devices. A smaller number of devices more actively used as cameras because of the better camera tech and ease of use translates to the iPhone disrupting the camera industry while Android did not. Also the majority of Android devices are cheap with poor camera tech (compared to the iPhone). Flagship Android devices with really good camera tech don’t sell in large numbers. Put that fact together with usage and you have a fairly simple answer to why a device with a small total market share is disruptive. Nobody needs to “pock a lane” (sic).

      1. Could disagree more. Available Android cameras in the wild right now are as good, if not better than iPhone cameras.

        Users with less active usage likely wouldn’t use a commercial camera either. Just as iPad users typically didn’t use more features of a laptop.

        1. For someone who claims to stick to the facts you sure like to make stuff up to support whatever negative point you’re trying to make about Apple. Wow. The votes on the comment by Usage say it all, five stars from everyone but you.

  2. Smartphone cameras certainly have come a long way thanks to improved image sensors, compact lenses and high-speed digital processing. Mid-range digital cameras are just one less device to carry around on trips.

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