The iPhone XS only hit shelves last week, but Apple is already planning ways to make the camera on its latest smartphone even better. A report on Monday, confirmed by current developer beta releases, shows the company is planning to launch a real-time depth-of-field control that will adjust the focus while the user is taking a photo.
The feature has been spotted as part of iOS 12.1, the upcoming software update that entered the beta stage last week. TechCrunch wrote in its iPhone XS review that Apple is planning a future iOS update that “brings the slider directly into the camera app, so you can regulate the depth of field directly when shooting the portrait,” but the company did not confirm when the feature would launch. Macerkopf reports the feature is coming soon, while 9to5Mac confirms the feature is present with the first beta version of iOS 12.1. It’s possible that the controls are pushed back to a later release, however, as Group FaceTime was expected to launch with version 12.0 only to receive a last-minute delay. Users have been experimenting with the feature, which appears as a slider in the camera app:
The iPhone XS and XS Max use a new dual-camera system that improves on its predecessors. It captures depth information to offer an adjustable depth of field, allowing users to move the “f-stop” value to create a shallower depth of field and blur the background further. In traditional cameras, a wider aperture at the time of shutter means a shallower depth of field, and the “f-stop” is proportional to the reciprocal of the aperture. In layman’s terms, f/1.8 means a blurrier background than f/4.5.
The two phones use the A12 Bionic chip, which has a neural engine capable of performing up to five trillion operations per second. The phones use the chip to alter the “f-stop” after capture. With this new feature, the phone would work more like a regular camera where users can specify the aperture as they’re taking the picture.
It is unclear when iOS 12.1 will launch, but with the beta’s references to a new iPad and the impending holiday season, a launch could come sooner rather than later.
The XS is already impressing buyers with its high-end camera, but it could get even better very soon.