But I'm unconvinced. Digital cameras, quality color printers, and
decent photoediting software combined will still cost your average Joe
Sixpack $500 to $1000 on top of his computer. I'm not convinced that
97% of the country is ready to pay for something like this. Not now,
not yet, at least. So when the article talks of for whom the bell
tolls, I think they're overly optimistic: give them 15 or 20 years and
maybe I'll believe the public is ready for them.
Of course, for the 3% of us, all these new toys are like a dream
-------------- included article:
Did you realize the photofinishing industry is one of the world's
largest? I've heard estimates as high as $100 billion. And growing.
After years of stagnation, the new Advanced Photo System (a simpler film
system spearheaded by Eastman Kodak) has given still photography a shot
in the arm, thereby boosting demand for photo processing.
Don't let the enormous size and strength of this industry fool you. The
photofinishing business is about to receive a wound so terrible it will
survive only as a shadow of its former self. Starting this year and
accelerating into the next century, PC-based "desktop photography" will
steadily amputate more and more of the photo-processing trade. Rather
than use traditional film that needs to be developed and printed,
consumers will snap digital photos that can be viewed, manipulated and
printed with their home PCs.
Desktop publishing was made possible by the simultaneous arrival of
three technologies (powerful PCs, graphical interfaces, and laser
printers). In the same fashion, desktop photography represents the
confluence of three trends:
Cheap, easy-to-use digital cameras. This Christmas season, "Digital
cameras were spectacular just explosive growth," reports Wayne
Freedman, vice president of marketing for the Atlanta-based Wolf Camera
and Video chain.
Cheap, near-photographic quality color printers. Previously, you could
manipulate photos on your PC, but you had to go to an expensive,
inconvenient service bureau to print them out. Now you can get
startlingly good results from printers that cost less than $500.
Cheap, easy-to-use image editing software. Adobe Photoshop is an amazing
piece of software, but it practically requires a graduate degree to
operate. With the arrival of programs such as Adobe's $89 PhotoDeluxe
and Microsoft's $89 Picture It, photo manipulation is now within the
grasp (and pocketbook) of mainstream consumers.
PC servers took years to supplant proprietary minicomputers. PC word
processors took years to usurp dedicated word processors. Desktop
publishing took years to decimate traditional typesetting. Desktop
photography will take years to displace traditional photofinishing. But
the trend will gather steam during the Christmas '97 season, and
accelerate from there.
You might think of the photofinishing industry like a healthy man who
has just been diagnosed with a deadly disease. He still has years to
live, even a few more years of vigor and vitality. The ultimate
prognosis, however, is fatal.
To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really
grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really
thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow
it. Most people don't take the time to do that.
-- Steve Jobs