meriko borogove: Design Tangents Episode Fifteen

Nerding out with the ever-insightful designer, engineer, director and photographer


meriko borogove: Design Tangents Episode Fifteen

Nerding out with the ever-insightful designer, engineer, director and photographer

It’s challenging to reduce the immensely influential, future-defining contributions of meriko borogove—a designer, engineer, director and photographer, as well as a close friend to COOL HUNTING—into a smattering of introductory words. For instance, though you may not know her name, if you’ve used an Apple device with a camera, you’re familiar with her work. borogove led the team behind the creation and development of the iPhone camera for years. A warm, insightful human being who uses her grasp of technology and passion for creativity to forge togetherness, borogove experiments in the worlds of VR and AR. As a part-time contributor to Scanlab Projects, a London-based art and technology studio that believes 3D is the future of photography and cinematography, borogove questions the future of audiences, devices and performance. In this latest episode of Design Tangents, borogove enlightens us with tales from her early days at Apple, shares the origin story of the iPhone’s camera, offers up thoughts on Vision Pro, and even the essence of connection in spatial computing.

borogove took a temp job at Apple on the QuickTime team in 1995—years before joining the team that would imagine the iPhone. “We didn’t sleep for a year and a half when we were launching the phone,” she says. “I remember knowing it was going to be important, that it was going to be big, but none of us really understood.”

“We were such a small team on the first iPhone. We all did a lot of things,” she continues. “I was responsible for power and performance. I was responsible for the Q18. We built all the demos that Steve launched with. I was also really embedded and responsible for the media stack, so that’s graphic, audio and sound.” borogove also worked on camera raw and aperture, before Apple made the first phone. It gave her insight into computational imaging and a vision for what an iPhone camera could do. “I believed we should not be competing with camera phones, which all sucked,” she says, “but I knew that we could be competing with point and shoots and DSLRs.”

A lot of it comes back to holding space for what’s possible and being able to imagine what’s possible.

meriko borogove

Her world after Apple has demonstrated a commitment to exploring the convergence of technology, artistry and community. It’s led her to a co-director role of a production with the Berliner Ensemble to a professor position at Royal Holloway, University of London. Whether it’s through her iPhone camera, or the LIDAR technology employed by Scanlab, borogove maintains her passion for photography, as well.

Ultimately, she’s hopeful for our technological future. “I believe that there is a generation that is going to be dreaming past us and building past us and I believe it is going to be multidisciplinary,” she says. She also wholeheartedly believes that the next generation of creators understand that we must all start from a place of respect. To hear more of borogove’s insights—like never swipe through other people’s camera rolls, or pay attention to the future of volumetric capture—tune in to Design Tangents now.

Subscribe to Design Tangents on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Spotify, so that when each episode comes out it’ll be ready and waiting in your player of choice.

Design Tangents is presented by Genesis and produced and edited by SANDOW Design Group. Special thanks to the podcast production team: Rob Schulte and Rachel Senatore and to Amber Lin for creating our show art.

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