Recently this week, a fresh beta version of iOS 10, the newest iteration of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, was rolled out to developers, and it comes with a Portraits feature, which is designed to help users capture better portrait shots, according to a report published by MacRumors. Some may remember that when the tech giant officially unveiled its new iPhone 7 models around a couple of weeks ago, it also talked about Portraits, and now, the functionality is being tested.
One of the things that makes iOS 10.1 so cool is that it is looking to take full advantage of the twin cameras present in the bigger variant of the new iPhone 7 devices, specifically the iPhone 7 Plus. Basically, what the Portraits feature does is allow mobile users to shoot pictures that bring the subject of a portrait image into crystal clear focus while at the same time providing a sublime blurry background effect. How is this achieved exactly? Well, it involves the use of a built in signal chip that has the ability to recognize people’s faces (thanks to machine learning), and then keep them focused while creating a blurry background (also known as a bokeh to photography enthusiasts).
What is amazing about this whole thing is that no zooming (digital or not) is being done. What the Portraits feature does instead is make exclusive use of the iPhone 7 Plus’ 56 millimeter lens to capture the image, and then utilize the smartphone’s wide angle lens to collect the depth information needed to generate a 9 layer map. The 9 layers in the map represent different depths with varying sharpness. Portraits then applies all layers in the final resulting photo, making sure that the layers pertaining to the intended subject (of the portrait) are the more focused.
Because the feature is still in beta, there are bound to be some slight issues. Early testers have noticed that Portraits still can improve in processing tricky objects like glass, leaves, or wires, just to name a few. But so far, the results have been very impressive overall.
It is not clear yet when the iOS 10.1 update will be made available, which means that iOS mobile users, especially those who own or looking to buy an iPhone 7 Plus, will have some waiting to do. Still, Apple has mentioned during the iPhone 7 launch event that the roll out of the new software update will likely commence next month.
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