Apple’s virtual WWDC keynote yesterday was light on photography-related news, but hidden within the iOS 14 and macOS 11.0 (Big Sur) are a few small updates worth noting.
In iOS 14 the launch time of the stock camera app has been improved and time required between shots has been reduced. Specifically, Apple says ‘you can now shoot photos up to 90% faster (compared to iOS 13.5) at up to 4 frames per second’ and start-up time for the camera app has been improved by 25%.
Additionally, Apple has added a new exposure compensation control that lets you lock an exposure value while separately locking focus on another point — something third-party camera apps have offered for years now. Also new is an updated interface when shooting in Night mode on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro that provides an overlay using gyroscope information to ensure you stay steady throughout the image capture.
A final small update is a new option within the camera settings that lets you mirror photos captured with the front-facing camera.
iOS 14 has a new Back Tap feature in Accessibility and it’s wild. You can perform quick actions by double- or triple-tapping the *back of your iPhone*. Literally quick taps on the back; works with a case on.
These include system actions as well as custom shortcuts. pic.twitter.com/87uJU9qAtu
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) June 23, 2020
Also, although it’s not directly related to photography, Apple has added an option within its accessibility settings to run Shortcuts with a double- or triple-tap on the back of the device. This means you could trigger various photo-related Shortcuts with either of these gestures, such as opening up a third-party camera app with a double-tap and opening up the editing app of your choice with a triple-tap.
You can see all of the latest iOS 14 features on Apple’s iOS 14 ‘New Features’ page.
iPadOS doesn’t put as much emphasis on the capturing of photos as iOS, but Apple didn’t leave it hanging either. In camera mode, Apple has added quick toggles to change video resolution and framerate within the camera app and like iOS, there’s now an option to mirror images captured with the front camera.
The Photos app on iPadOS is redesigned using Apple’s new full-height sidebar, making it easier to navigate between albums, search and more. It’s also possible to add captions to images within the Photos app and Apple has also improved the Memories function, which should better select more relevant photos and videos to highlight.
The image picker has also been redesigned, which should make it easier to find and share or upload images within Safari, Messages, Mail and other third-party apps.
You can find a full rundown of all the new iPadOS 14 features on Apple’s website.
macOS 11.0 (Big Sur)
Aside from the overall user interface changes and a few changes to the Photos app, there aren’t many photo-specific changes within macOS Big Sur. At least not for now.
As much as macOS Big Sur changes things up on the visual side of things, it’s also about laying the groundwork for Apple’s forthcoming computers that will use its own ARM-based architecture. This requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work and programming to ensure apps designed for current computers and CPUs will work with the first computers with Apple’s own chipsets, the first of which Apple CEO Tim Cook says will be out by year’s end.
Apple showcased both Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop running on one of its ARM-based developer kit computers and specifically said it’s working with Adobe to make sure Creative Cloud apps will work with the new architecture out of the gate, but we’ve heard similar statements before that took a little longer to come to fruition to be expected (i.e. Photoshop for iPad), so you might want to keep your expectations subdued for the time being.
Still, making the jump from Intel chips to its own is no minor feat for processor-intensive applications such as Lightroom and Photoshop, so any collaboration between Apple and Adobe ahead of future hardware releases is a welcomed sight.
As for the Photos app, Apple has added new video editing capabilities such as adjustments, filters and cropping, as well as improved the Retouch tool, which now uses ‘advanced machine learning to remove blemishes, dust specks, and other objects from photos.’
Like the iPadOS update, Photos for macOS adds improved navigation, the ability to add captions to images and the aforementioned improvements to Memories for more relevant collections.
Overall, the photo-related updates to iOS, iPadOS and macOS are relatively minor based on the hardware currently available. However, it’s usually the hardware that brings major changes and all of these operating system updates, macOS Big Sur in particular, lay the foundations for future hardware. You can watch the complete keynote on Apple’s YouTube Channel.