Apple iPhone 4S captures 1080p video with improved optics, image stabilization

In yet another development that is sure to affect television newsgathering operations, for the better, Apple has announced the iPhone 4S, a new model with a more advanced internal camera that can shoot image-stabilized 1080p HD video.

Featuring Apple's dual-core A5 chip — the same used in the iPad 2 — the new phone has faster performance and more advanced graphics. It has an 8-megapixel sensor with 60 percent more pixels and a larger f/2.4 aperture. The phone has a more advanced hybrid IR filter that Apple said produces sharper, brighter and more accurate images.

The iPhone 4S also features a new real-time video image stabilization feature that allows users to take less shaky videos. Other improvements include increased sensitivity, sharpness and an increased ability to capture video in low light conditions.

With the new iMessage service in the updated iOS 5 operating system, users can now instantly share videos with family and friends, or — when breaking news is captured in the field — broadcast outlets.

Apple said the image signal processor in the A5 dual-core chip is built for performance and is coupled with the features built into the iOS 5 operating system. The company said the camera application launches much faster and the shot-to-shot still capability is twice as fast.

New features in the camera and photos apps give users instant access to the camera from the lock screen, and shooters can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up a shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new app also allows users to crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, as well as organize photos into albums on the device.

IPhones and other smart phones are become increasingly important in television newsgathering at viewers capture video and still images of breaking stories. Users with a video-equipped smart phone can shoot news footage anywhere and send it directly to broadcast news outlets, expanding the station's coverage. Certain applications even allow live shots with the phone. The old rule applies: Having any camera available is always better than having no camera at all.

Up until now, however, the best iPhone camera was 3 or 5 megapixels and only 720p or standard resolution video. There was no image stabilization, so many nonprofessional videos were shaky. The new iPhone will allow users to take significantly better quality images and avoid the shakes.

Apple is now taking pre-orders for the new iPhone.