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iMovie for iPhone Details Surface

During the WWDC keynote last week that introduced the new iPhone 4, Apple also revealed iMovie for iPhone, an app that can edit video clips and still images into a movie. The app creates movies complete with themes, transitions, titles, and other features that go beyond just trimming individual clips, an option found in the iPhone 3GS. The demonstration was impressive (it begins at the 57:00 mark of the keynote video), but several questions were left unanswered.

Thanks to sources within Apple, I have uncovered some details:

  • iMovie for iPhone will require the iPhone 4, and will not be available for the iPhone 3GS. Handling video and creating real-time transitions needs the power of the iPhone 4's A4 processor.
  • Although the iPad runs the A4 processor, the app won't run on that device. I suspect the app is tailored to the iPhone 4's higher-density screen, and therefore wouldn't work within the iPad's pixel-doubled compatibility mode. (I'd be very surprised if an iMovie for iPad version doesn't appear at some point, possibly with the release of iOS 4 for the iPad in a few months.)
  • Projects edited on the iPhone cannot "currently" be transferred to iMovie on the Mac for further editing; projects stay on the phone. (The edited movies can be exported or synced to iTunes, however.)
  • Video clips can be recorded directly within iMovie for iPhone or come from the Camera Roll (clips previously shot using the phone's built-in camera). Based on how the Camera Roll works, I suspect it may also be possible to work with clips you've shot elsewhere by emailing them from your computer to the iPhone, then saving the attachment to the Camera Roll. The clips would need to be properly formatted as H.264 videos (and without having the software or an iPhone 4 to test, I don't know which specifications that entails).
  • iMovie for iPhone is scheduled to ship 24 June 2010 to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 4.

As previously announced, the app will cost $4.99 and be available in the App Store.


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Comments about iMovie for iPhone Details Surface
(Comments are closed.)

Charlie  An apple icon for a TidBITS Benefactor 2010-06-11 11:14
iWantToKnow if iMovie for iPhone will work on an iPad.
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-06-11 11:36
It's for iPhone 4 only. I'll update the article.
Cody Brimhall  2010-06-11 11:57
Don't forget: hits the App Store when iPhone 4 comes out, *if Apple approves it*. And we know how unpredictable that process can be....
RichardL  2010-06-13 21:38
Can someone say fragmentation!
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-06-13 21:45
Does solid state memory suffer the same issues as hard drives when there's a lot of fragmentation? I don't know.
He means device/market fragmentation.
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-06-14 14:37
Ah! I naturally assumed disk usage, since that's often an issue when editing large blocks of video.
Stacy C  2010-06-14 14:51
I don't see a frag issue there with a $5 mobile app vs. iMovie on the Mac. Plus, how much HD video can you shoot on an iPhone before you run out of space? It can't be much, even on the 32 GB model. I like that we can shoot "casual" video on a mobile device and still get good quality though.
Jonathan  2010-06-15 19:42
In H.264 they can shoot a lot... Should be hours upon hours depending on the encoding. Just because it's 720P 30fps doesn't mean it's in DVCPRO HD or some other memory sucker like that. It's probably going to run 1-2GB an hour.
Hamranhansenhansen  2010-06-14 17:04
No, someone can't. This is just generational change. Newer hardware has more features and a small number of apps choose to exploit those newer features. Some apps over the past year exploited the auto-focus in 3GS.

Fragmentation is a software issue. For example, every iPhone ever made can run v3.1.2. Every iPhone from the past 2 years can run v4. But only 27% of Android phones can run v2, and only about 250,000 can currently run v2.2. Even though v2 has been out since late last year, there are still v1.6 devices coming this year that will never run v2 and won't be obsolete until mid-2012. That's fragmentation.
Glenn Fleishman  2010-06-15 20:13
Google keeps harping that there's no true fragmentation because every feature that worked in a given release continues to work, and you don't wind up downloading apps for the wrong release via Market that won't work on a phone.

That sounds like hand waving to me. Just like Apple learned to understand that people wanted about 5 to 7 years of forward system upgrade capability in Mac OS X - and Apple has generally achieved that - so, too, did they plan the iPhone from the start to have enough capacity and capability to be upgradable for a while.

While the first-generation iPhone can't accept iOS 4, I suspect that the iPhone 3G will be capable of whatever iOS 5 brings, and the 3GS possibly beyond iOS 6.

If you look at the history of Intel platform devices for Mac OS X, in which all Intel Macs with 1 GB of RAM can be upgraded to Snow Leopard, that seems like the way to think about iOS upgrades, too.
airmanchairman  2010-06-14 15:58
Hurry tomorrow and iPad v.2.0 or 3.0, which will invariably come with front-facing camera, retina display v2.0 and iMovie for iPad. Can't wait. Good on you, early adopters, your guinea-pig efforts will be worth our while.
Jeff Carlson  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2010-06-14 16:02
Squeak squeak.
Glenn Fleishman  2010-06-14 16:44
I've always thought of myself more of a gerbil.
Hamranhansenhansen  2010-06-14 17:15
But when that comes out, you shouldn't buy it. You should wait for the one with the jet pack and the shower massage.

It's crazy to feel sorry for anyone who has an iPad right now. We get to experience the device before the experience gets old. It's a privilege.

And mine has already paid for itself. Right now, when you show a potential client your portfolio on an iPad, they hire you. They don't ask questions, they just hire you. They throw money at you.

It's a pity it's not on the 3GS. I don't see why not personally. Nokia have been shipping video editing apps on their phones since the N95 and the new version in the ARM11 based Nokia N8 is on par with iMovie. Oh and it's included free.
Jon Wright  2010-06-14 23:47
Well it's a great way to test it on the iOS platform, get lots of feedback and then bring an improved version for iPad. They were made for each other.