Ever since Apple introduced the iPhone 4 with an LED flash, people have been legitimately using their iPhones as flashlights.
I say legitimately because there were
apps shticks from day one in the App Store that produced a solid white screen, aka “flashlight”.
There’s an endless supply of Flashlight apps in the App Store (some paid) that will turn on the iPhone LED light when launched. Some offer strobe lights, an S.O.S. light pattern, and other “neat” effects to help distinguish them from the competition.
Anyways, the purpose of this post wasn’t to discuss the 3rd party apps, but rather discuss whether or not Apple will ever officially recognize the LED light as a flashlight.
I purchased a flashlight app just because it promised to turn on the LED light immediately upon launch (and it does). I don’t use the flashlight all that often, but when I need to use it I want to access it quickly (which is why it’s in a folder on my home screen).
When I went into the wild in October, I didn’t even bring a real flashlight with me – I just relied on my iPhone. While the iPhone won’t ever replace a flashlight entirely (battery life, range, etc.), it’s perfectly good enough for fumbling under a dark desk looking for a plug, inspecting a used car’s engine bay, or finding your way around a dark room when you’re not near the light switch.
It’d be handy (but maybe overkill) to be able to access the “flashlight” right from the iPhone lock screen. It could also be available in the multitasking tray, or perhaps from Notification Center. This would mean that Apple themselves would have to build a flashlight app/widget, something I’m not sure they’d ever do.
Nevertheless, I think a lot of people use their phone as a flashlight, and having quicker access to it (without launching the iPhone Camera app and switching to Video > Flash On, or requiring a third party app), would be useful.