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iOS 5 can export video in 1080p, suggests high-res camera for iPhone 5

by Phil Hornshaw

A peek into the code of the upcoming iOS 5 software update due this fall from Apple (AAPL) shows that the operating system will allow lots of iOS devices to export video in 1080p resolution.

The story, from 9to5Mac, suggests that code found in the beta version of iOS 5 currently available to developers will let users watch video in the kind of resolution previously reserved for HDTV, Blu-ray discs and some Internet video (YouTube carries a fair amount of high-def video in 1080p). If you’re not a TV buff, just know that 1080p is good, and that having iOS devices that are capable of that resolution is going to make for some pretty video.

According to 9to5Mac’s story, the code enables app developers to create apps that will export video in full HD resolutions. Think of apps like iMovie, where users are able to cut and edit video using iOS devices. The new iOS 5 capabilities will mean that those users can save their finished products in HD resolutions when they send them out into the world or back to their computers for finalizing. That’s a high degree of quality that iOS devices are now capable of, jumping substantially from the previous max export resolution of 720p.

This new export capability also suggests that the iPhone 5 will have a powerful camera capable of capturing high-def video. We’ve been hearing rumors that Apple is packing an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera in the iPhone 5, which is expected to be available this fall along with iOS 5, and now it seems pretty likely that that same camera will have the ability to capture 1080p video. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Apple to include the exporting feature without the ability for users to shoot video with that same kind of resolution.

More cool features have been discovered in iOS 5 when it comes to video capability. The software also allows users to play 1080p video on their iOS devices, regardless of the resolution of those devices. It works by allowing iOS 5 to actually scale down the resolution of the 1080p video on the fly by re-encoding it, resulting in the software running the 1080p video at the highest resolution the device can handle. In lay terms, it means the video looks about as good on an iPhone or an iPad as video can look on an iPhone or an iPad. The feature has been tested by 9to5Mac with some quality results, allowing users to make use of high-def videos even with the older A4 processor found in current and older versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch and the original iPad.

Basically, all this suggests that the cool things about iOS devices and their high degree of video capabilities are getting even cooler. The 1080p resolution uptick might not necessarily be felt all the time, especially by the less tech-savvy among us, but it’s a nice upgrade for Apple to toss in and should make for some stellar iPhone videos when the iPhone 5 rolls around, if the rumors are to be believed.