Video Microblogging on the iPhone (Sort of)

A video-sharing startup offers a clever way to sidestep the iPhone’s video recording limitations.

Dec 18, 2008

One of the more frustrating aspects of the iPhone is its inability to record video. While a hacked, or “jailbroken” iPhone can do it, users are still waiting for Apple to add video as a legitimate feature. But, in the meantime, the developers at 12seconds, which allows people to record and instantly post 12-second-long videos on its site, have found an interesting workaround. (See “Video Microblogging Has Arrived.”)

Today, the San Francisco startup released its iPhone app that lets people choose three photos from their library of images, record 12 seconds of audio, and upload them together a mini slideshow to the 12seconds’ site. The results are surprisingly compelling. See a couple of examples below.

Mean Girls at 2nd Thanksgiving on 12seconds.tv

Cold Cuts - Chinese Food Style on 12seconds.tv

The Ken Burns Effect, in which photos are displayed with a slow pan or zoom, provides the sensation of actual video.

While the slideshow idea is a neat trick, it has no hope of competing with live video uploading services like Qik that work with non-Apple handsets. This announcement seems to just be a placeholder project for the 12-second developers, to get them ready for the day when Apple finally enables video recording on the iPhone.