By Mark Gurman | Bloomberg
Apple’s upcoming iPhone lineup will get at least three major new camera and video recording features, which the company says will be key incentives to upgrade from previous models.
The new handsets will include a video version of the phone’s Portrait mode feature, the ability to record video in a higher quality format called ProRes, and a new filter-like system that improves the look and colors of photos, according to people familiar with the matter. Camera features are seen as one of the main selling points of the successor to the iPhone 12, which is expected to go on sale in the coming weeks.
Beyond the improvements to the camera, the new iPhones will benefit from relatively modest upgrades. Apple last year redesigned the iPhone, added a 5G wireless network, and updated the camera hardware. For this year, the company will keep the same regular 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch sizes and the same 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Pro screen dimensions, along with their designs.
The new phones will feature a faster A15 chip and a smaller notch, also known as a display cutout, in addition to new screen technology that could allow a faster refresh rate for smoother scrolling. .
The Cupertino, Calif.-Based company typically unveils its new iPhones in September, but last year’s launch was delayed until October due to production complications from Covid-19. With Apple now delaying its return to the office for several weeks, the company’s next iPhone launch will likely be virtual.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Apple first added Portrait mode to the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016, and it quickly became a fan favorite. The function can bring a person in focus while blurring the background in what is called a bokeh effect. For newer iPhones, Apple plans to add this same technique to video with a feature internally dubbed Cinematic Video. As with still photos, the iPhone’s depth sensor will create the effect and allow users to change the amount of blur after recording.
A new ProRes video recording feature will allow iPhone users to capture clips in a higher-quality format that gives editors more control during post-production.
The format is used by professional video editors in the film industry and is not normally intended for the mass market, in part due to the size of its files. ProRes will record in HD and 4K resolution on future iPhones.
The ProRes feature would follow last year’s addition of ProRAW, a higher-quality photo file format that gives professional editors more control. As with ProRAW, ProRes video recording may be exclusive to more expensive Pro models.
Another feature will give users more control over the appearance of colors and highlights in their images. Users will be able to choose from several styles to apply to their photos, including one to display colors at a warmer or cooler temperature while keeping the 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 to show realistic shadows and colors with a brighter appearance.
The functionality will differ from the standard filters, available in the iPhone Camera app since 2013, by precisely applying edits to objects and people in photos using artificial intelligence, rather than applying a single filter on the whole image.
Apple’s new iPhones, named D16, D17, D63, and D64, are just a few of the new devices set to launch in the coming months. The company is also working on revamped MacBook Pros with internal chips that might be dubbed M1X, a redesigned iPad mini, and an entry-level iPad aimed at students. It is also preparing new Apple Watches and entry-level AirPods.