iOS 7 adds several new camera-orientated features for developers, which may hint at future consumer-facing features. In iOS 7 beta 2, Apple has added new image detectors that find certain face expressions in photos. As of iOS 5, the APIs have provided basic face recognition, but in iOS 7, characteristics such as blinking and smiles can be individually distinguished. The changes stand out because the framework has been neglected up to now.
When iOS 5 added the detector for face recognition, the camera app received face detection features as well to help with smarter autofocus and white balance adjustment. Therefore, there is a possibility that the same situation is happening again and the API additions foreshadow new user-features being rolled into the Camera app…
For instance, Apple could add smart logic to delay taking pictures until people are smiling or after they have blinked. Some Android phones already offer “best shot” modes, which take several photos in quick succession and the software ‘intelligently’ selects the best one. In previous years, Apple has kept some iPhone camera features secret until a new generation iPhone launched. For example, Apple added geotagging options to the camera for the iPhone 3G, video in the iPhone 3GS, and a Panorama mode for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. These features would fit well alongside the smart dual flash and higher-megapixel camera at the iPhone 5S announcement.
Apple has also added barcode detection APIs, which will give developers a built-in flow for realtime detection of barcodes. All common barcode formats are supported, including European and UPC styles. Apple uses this class for its own apps in iOS 7, such as when redeeming iTunes gift cards in the App Store app or adding passes to Passbook.
In addition, new developer options for camera capture smoothen autofocus to reduce how much the vision output is obscured as the camera scans for autofocus, making for a visually more pleasant (and less intrusive) appearance. In addition, iOS 7 gives access to a high frame-rate camera feed that lets apps take 60 frames-per-second video. This enables third-party apps to add high-quality slow motion effects to videos as the additional frame input can keep playback smooth. The OS has built in support for audio adjustment algorithms to stop the pitch from rising when video is played at a faster rate.
Due to hardware limitations, high frame rate capture is available — at 720p resolution only — for iPhone 5, the iPad mini and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Similarly, the new video zoom feature that maintains quality, which we first reported on last week, is also restricted to the latest generation iPhone and iPod touch models.
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