iPhone 4S cameraSteve Jobs was very candid about Apple’s future agenda: to reinvent television, textbooks and photography. The jury is still out on the TV despite incessant rumors, and the company is currently dabbling in the textbook industry. So what of photography? We heard all the way back in January that Jobs had taken a particular interest in Lytro technology, possibly hinting that a collaboration of some sort might hit a device like the iPhone. Or maybe a standalone point-and-shoot.

iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz said in a Tweet earlier this month that “Apple appears to be working on a standalone camera.” Our first question is: Why? Second: How? Horwitz has an idea why Apple wouldn’t just focus on solely improving the iPhone’s rear shooter. “A standalone digital camera could accommodate a bigger sensor and integrated zoom lens, which Apple would select as a “satisfies most needs” option rather than offering detachable lenses,” he said.

Furthermore, iLounge’s New iPad Buyers’ Guide makes a case for Apple’s interest in the $68 billion photo market.

Today’s cameras confuse users with way too many options based on legacy concepts — ISO, aperture and shutter speed hugely impact images, but most people don’t understand what they mean or how they work. Just like the iPhone, Apple could disrupt the camera market with a simpler device that produces pro-quality results, continuing the instant photography mission of Polaroid’s Edwin Land, a hero to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Apple previously attempted to produce its own digital camera in partnership with Kodak, but the project was scrapped by Steve Jobs in 1997. Technology has improved greatly since then and Apple now has an enormous worldwide presence. Perhaps it’s not so crazy to think the idea is being kicked around the Cupertino campus.

[via MacRumors]