Gurman on New iPhone Camera Features: Portrait Mode for Video, Machine-Learning-Based Filters

Mark Gurman, with a few scoops on the upcoming new iPhones:

Apple first added Portrait mode to the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016, and it quickly become a fan favorite. The feature can put a person in sharp focus while blurring the background in what is known as a bokeh effect. For the new iPhones, Apple plans to add this same technique to video with a feature internally dubbed Cinematic Video. Like with still photos, the iPhone’s depth sensor will create the effect and allow users to change the amount of blur after recording. […]

Another feature will let users better control the look of colors and highlights in their pictures. Users will be able to choose from several styles to apply to their photos, including one for showing colors at either a warmer or cooler temperature while keeping whites neutral. Another option will add a more dramatic look with deeper shadows and more contrast, and the company is planning a more balanced style for showing shadows and true-to-life colors with a brighter appearance. The feature will differ from standard filters, available in the iPhone’s Camera app since 2013, by precisely applying changes to objects and people across the photos using artificial intelligence, rather than applying a single filter across the entire picture.

Computational photography is easily one of the most exciting, fast-moving areas in computing today. You can literally see it getting better year-over-year. I’ve noticed in recent weeks that Portrait Mode on the iPhone 12 has gotten better than ever at separating subjects from the background.

Sidenote, but the sort of thing I spend way too much time thinking about around this time every year: Are they going to be the iPhones 13 or iPhones 12S? I’m thinking that since — by all reports — the new iPhones are the same sizes and shapes as last year’s lineup, it might be an “S” year. Also, now that I’m thinking about it, is this numbering ever going to stop? Will we be speculating about the iPhone 23 in 10 years? I’m not even saying it should stop, but it is an unusual naming scheme. The reason, I think, Apple sticks with it is that iPhone models are sold for years to come. Apple’s mid-range iPhones are years-old models that were once top-of-the-line. They need names that make that clear.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021