iPhone 7 Plus Gets Camera Portrait Mode With Apple's Latest iOS 10.1 Beta: What Does It Bring?

22 September 2016, 1:07 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
Apple's latest iOS 10.1 beta brings a neat camera feature for the iPhone 7 Plus. Using the smartphone's dual rear cameras, iOS 10.1 enables the Portrait mode Apple touted at its recent iPhone launch event.  ( Apple )

Apple released its new iOS 10.1 beta to developers, and it brings the highly anticipated Portrait camera mode touted at the iPhone 7 announcement.

Although Apple announced this camera portrait mode when it unveiled its latest iPhones, the feature is just now being tested for the iPhone 7 Plus. The software is only available in beta for the larger iPhone model, as the smaller iPhone 7 doesn't have dual rear cameras.

The new iOS 10 Portrait mode aims to replicate the type of shallow depth of field images that a high-end DSLR can capture, with a subject featured in the forefront over a blurred background. The feature makes the portrait stand out, putting the focus on the subject.

For this to work, Apple's built-in signal processor scans the scene and taps the machine learning to detect the people in the shot. Once it recognizes the subject(s), it makes up a depth of field map of the scene using the two rear cameras found on the iPhone 7 Plus.

The blur covering the out-of-focus areas of the image is referred to as a bokeh and makes the photos look more artful and focused.

As TechCrunch points out, this new Portrait mode is possible thanks to Apple's acquisition of LinX last year. The Portrait mode feature uses the iPhone 7 Plus' 56 mm lens to capture the shot and the wide-angle lens to gather perspective data for the depth map and the 9 layers of the image.

"The wide angle and telephoto 'see' slightly different angles on the image, allowing it to separate and 'slice' the image into 9 different layers of distance away from the camera's lens," explains TechCrunch.

"So, for instance, if the camera analyzes the scene and pins your subject at 8 feet away, it will slice the image and apply a blur effect on a progressive gradient scale across the other layers."

The immediate surroundings that are very close to the subject will be sharp, while the rest of the scene will be gradually blurrier the farther they are in the background.

The iPhone 7 Plus Portrait mode is located on the right side of the regular photo mode in the camera app. This mode does not support zooming of any kind.

It remains to be seen when this new Portrait mode will exit the beta stage and become available to all iPhone 7 Plus users, but it shouldn't take too long. If the tests go well, the feature could hit the general public soon enough.

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