When Apple announced the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, one of the many features they touted as changing the game (again) was the ability to change the level of bokeh in a photo after it is taken.
Adjustable focus on a Portrait image is something that was demonstrated on-stage and certainly looked impressive at the time, but if it felt at all familiar to you, there’s a very good reason – it’s not new.
Ignoring the fact that there have been Android phones doing this for years, there’s already an app in the App Store that allows users to take a portrait photo and then edit its depth of field, or bokeh effect, after the image has been taken. It’s called Focos, available to download from the App Store now and it’s free (for most part). Best of all, Focos uses Apple’s depth-of-field API provided officially by Apple which means the result will be pretty close to what is being offered natively now in the stock Camera app on the newer iPhones.
While there’s a case to be made that the final images aren’t quite as polished as those Apple showed off during the iPhone event, it’s absolutely clear that the technology already existed and was, in fact, possible with older iPhones. With that in mind, it’s a shame to see that the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus won’t be getting the same effect as part of a software update, but we should perhaps not be too surprised by that fact.
Apple did something similar with Animoji with the iPhone X, preventing it from being available on other devices when there appeared to be no technical reason for that to be the case.
When the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max start to find their way into the hands of buyers next week, we’ll see just how good their bokeh-adjusting effects are, but if they’re not significantly better than what Focos already does, that’s going to be greatly disappointing.
(Download: Focos for iPhone on App Store)
(Via: Wojtek Pietrusiewicz [Twitter])
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