It won’t capture even a tiny percentage of the attention the world will give Apple’s event, but Polaroid—a company that was in multiple ways the Apple of its era—is holding its own press bash this Wednesday in New York. The Polaroid site is already hyping the event in a way that seems to suggest it will involve new Polaroid analog instant cameras and/or film. Polaroid discontinued the production of analog cameras in 2007 and instant film the following year–in retrospect, a wrongheaded business decision given that the Polaroid mystique remains strong years later and FujiFilm’s Polaroid-esque Instax cameras appear to be quite popular. (One Instax is even available, in rebadged form, under the Polaroid name.)
A shadow of its once-great self, Polaroid has suffered through multiple bankrupticies and sales, and exists today primarily as a zombie brand that licenses itself for use on everything from HDTVs to coloring sets. In May, it was acquired by a new ownership group led by a family that also controls the Impossible Project, the startup that bought an abandoned Polaroid factory and began making new Polaroid-compatible film in 2010. That presumably opens up the potential for new film that once again carries the Polaroid name.
Impossible’s film has steadily improved in quality over the years, but still isn’t up to the standard of Polaroid’s original product. Even so, it’s fun to think that it may help Polaroid make an unexpected return to the business of analog instant photography.