Talking Pictures For iPhone A Start

One of two reasons I decided against getting an iPhone was because it lacks video-recording capability. The micro-vlogging startup 12seconds hopes consumers will enjoy its compromise solution: The ability to make a three-photo, 12-second-long slideshow on your iPhone, accompanied by audio of your choice.

This new application went on sale at the iPhone App Store at 8 a.m. Pacific time today. Also today, 12seconds is going beta and will now allow the public to register for its service, after having been in alpha mode since August.

“This is still not a perfect video solution–Apple refuses to let people record video with an iPhone, “admits David Speiser of Stage Two Consulting, one of 12seconds’ business partners. But he says about the new app: “I found that in some ways there’s an advantage over real video, because you can re-think and re-word your audio to fit the images you’re sharing… There’s a real storytelling ambiance in using the 12seconds app, where you’re presenting pictures and sharing the details behind them.”

It’s a start. There are plenty of YouTube videos that are simply slideshows, after all. And remember those hilarious slideshow skits Conan O’Brien used to do? Marketers can use 12seconds’ iPhone app for guerrilla marketing, such as reporting on a promotional event. Or they can use it to get consumers to interact with their favorite brands, for example by encouraging people to upload their slideshows about a product or service to the brand’s website.

Then again, if I were to buy an iPhone, I would want some way to be able to take video footage. I’m not alone–there are already video-recording apps for “jailbroken” iPhones, Mr. Speiser points out, though most average consumers won’t want to resort to that. Still Apple won’t release an application and the SDK doesn’t support it, Mr. Speiser said. I’m sure this is because Apple wants consumers to depend on content purchased from iTunes.

Cupertino is going to have to change its stance sooner or later. Consider that smartphones by the major makers all have video-recording abilities, in addition to their touchscreen and motion-sensor technologies that at least try to compete with the iPhone’s. Maybe those other devices aren’t as user-friendly or intuitive as Apple’s, but they will be.

For now, 12seconds’ video slideshow solution is as good as it’ll get.