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Apple camera execs detail iPhone 13 upgrades, timeline for new features

Apple is continuing to heavily promote the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro’s new camera hardware in press interviews. This time around, Apple’s Jon McCormack (VP of camera software engineering) and Graham Townsend (VP of camera hardware engineering) sat down with GQ Magazine to go in-depth on the new features, the A15 Bionic chip, and more.

One of the more interesting comments came from Townsend, when he shed some light on how far in advance Apple generally plans iPhone camera features:

“The planning has to start about three years ahead, because that’s when we actually fix the specification of the silicon,” says Townsend. “So, for instance, the sensor gets defined at that point and the A15 Bionic processor is also frozen. That’s when we have to begin to talk with Jon and predict the experiences that we want. Obviously when we designed the new ultra-wide lens, we were going to deliver macro photos. But how is that going to work both in stills and video?”

McCormack describes the process of creating Cinematic mode as one with “lots of windy roads.”

“It was a long process with lots of windy roads, but like most profound things it takes a while,” says McCormack. “We’re not just looking at the depth of every single frame, but there’s also this thing called temporal stability: as we move between frames with people moving, how do we make sure you don’t end up with weird edges and stuff like that?”

As for the future, Townsend says that Apple’s focus simply remains on making the camera as powerful as possible every year:

“We’re not asking for the impossible, but we are asking that the camera achieves the best it can every year,” says Townsend. “Over the past 10 years we’ve seen a dramatic improvement, but there is no rest.”

The full review is well worth a read and can be found on the GQ Magazine website.

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