Apple Introduces 12-Megapixel iPhone 6s Camera and New "Live Photos"

Apple Introduces 12-Megapixel iPhone 6s Camera and New "Live Photos"

Happy New iPhone Day! Today, that small startup in Cupertino known as "Apple" released their latest and greatest iPhones, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. But with all the hype and cool new features, we were mostly concerned with the camera and boy, did they deliver.

The iPhone is the most popular camera on the planet; so, any new upgrades or additions to the technology inside the device are big. The new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus look pretty much the same on the outside, but got a welcome megapixel bump to 12MP on the back-facing camera (50% more pixels than before). Autofocus is said to be 2x faster and more accurate as well. The new camera is also capable of shooting 4K video and editing right in iMovie thanks to the new sensor and the processing power of the A9 chip in all of Apple's new phones.

Via Apple.

The front-facing FaceTime camera also got upgraded for all you selfie enthusiasts. The new 5-megapixel camera is 4x better than the previous iPhones' 1.2-megapixel sensor and delivers incredibly sharp images. The iPhone will now also use your screen as a True Tone flash with 3x more brightness; so, no more dark selfies in a dimly lit bar. 

Via Apple.

Apple also showed off a new technology called "Live Photos," which animates your images with portions of video. The feature, on by default, adds 1.5 seconds of video to your photos on either end. You don't do anything different; you just take a photo. Live Photos animates with a 3D touch, a new feature in the iPhone 6s, similar to ForceTouch in the new MacBook, or swiping in your photo gallery. You can view Live Photos in the Photos app in OS X El Capitan on the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch (including on the photo watch face).

The addition of 4K video is great, but we continue to have limited options for viewing and sharing the ultra-high resolution video online. YouTube supports 4K, but many other social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo currently do not. And with no increase in pixels on the display of the iPhone 6s, we will have to wait for some real world testing to see what recorded 4K video looks like on the new devices.

View Apple's iPhone 6s photo and video gallery here.

A 63-megapixel pano taken on the iPhone 6s. Via Apple.

The new iPhones will be available September 25th in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB versions, starting at $199.

[via Apple]

All images courtesy Apple. 

Casey Berner's picture

Casey Berner is a photographer and videographer based in Seattle. After living in the Midwest, he followed his passion for the outdoors and took up residence in the Pacific Northwest shooting timelapse and landscapes. He spends weekdays in the office as a video and photo producer and weekends in the mountains exploring with his camera.

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yay 4k!

Live photos are awesome...simple, but easy and beautiful -- and where the world's been headed. I also think 3D Touch has the potential to be hugely underrated, but extremely frustration-saving. All those little milliseconds we spend clicking on our phones....this will help minimize that in a great way...

yeah!!!!! short video clips yeah!!!!! everyone run for the hills! Apple and Tim cook need to be slapped in the face for trying to tell me Motion pictures with several frames is not a video... that piece of work!

Actually, they are NOT video clips at all and are an optimized "JPEG package".

And before someone else comes into claim that Microsoft and Nokia did it first with their Lumia line: well yeah... they did. It was called Live Images.

However, it didn't work nearly as well as MS/Nokia would've like; it was delayed on their flagship Lumia 1020; you had to download the phot package to your PC to convert it to yes, a movie file or GIF; and most of all, Facebook wasn't on board and didn't support these files. This time, Apple has Facebook in it's corner and I suppose Instagram being an FB company will follow shortly.

Last note to this, is that Apple hired away a number of high-profile engineers from Nokia, and I'm still searching if it wasn't one that actually owns the patents to the tech.

Regardless... Live Photos will be used and seen now (a lot!) with almost no one remembering (or even knowing) who had it first. Sad but true, because Nokia was a pretty darn stellar company in the days before MS gobbled them up. Who knows what they would be like today if they would've not been bought and ran with Android.

You do understand that Apple has already gotten to you with their poor poor terminology. Go look up what a motion picture is on Wiki, then go look up what a photo is... Its one frame vs many frames that's all it is... Don't try to tell me there is some type of new "Live Photo" it's called a video when its more then one frame. I suppose your going to tell me that when you shoot RAW video, its not a video because the RAW files are single frames.... Brainwashed Consumer here everyone!

What? I'm not going to bat for Apple in my post at all?!

NOKIA and MICROSOFT calls it LIVE PICTURE... and they named it FIRST.

Live Photo is now the Apple derivative of the Nokia technology that they BOUGHT by hiring (I believe) the engineer that invented it.

Also: it is not a video format or using video format compression. It's more akin to Motion JPEG 2000 -

I don't know for a fact if JPEG 2000 is what they're using here... so you or I cant call it "Motion" JPEG 2000 yet either.

But if you want to continue to call it a motion picture, by all means and I can't stop you. That still doesn't mean that I'm believing any hype from Apple. <shaking head>

Wow... you absolutely right, I must have never gone to School and learned how to read anything

"Motion" JPEG 2000 (MJ2 or MJP2) is a file format for "motion sequence" of JPEG 2000 images and associated audio, based on the MP4/QuickTime format. Filename extensions for Motion JPEG 2000 video files are .mj2 and .mjp2

Now a MOTION SEQUENCE.... ummm sounds like Motion Picture because a motion picture is many pictures that are placed into a sequence and played back real fast, thus creating a motion picture.

Who cares if the inventor of it decided to interpret his file extension as a .mj2 or .mjp2

OK. Call it a video format if that makes you happy.

However, VLC which is an open source player that supports the largest number of "video formats" for some reason doesn't include it in it's supported listing. I guess they're just wrong about that and plain lazy.

Regardless of descriptive terminology used, *if* anyone tries to play the mj2 or mjp2 format in whatever video software they have available, they more than likely won't be able to yet. It's only been 15+ years in the making, so I wouldn't hold your breath.
VLC can read several formats, depending on the operating system VLC is running on, including:[48]

Container formats
3GP,[49] ASF, AVI, DVR-MS, FLV, Matroska, MIDI,[50] QuickTime File Format, MP4, Ogg, OGM, WAV, MPEG-2 (ES, PS, TS, PVA, MP3), AIFF, Raw audio, Raw DV, MXF, VOB, RM, DVD-Video, VCD, SVCD, CD Audio, DVB

Video formats
Cinepak, Dirac, DV, H.263, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/MPEG HEVC,[51] HuffYUV, Indeo 3,[52] MJPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, RealVideo 3&4,[53] Sorenson, Theora, VC-1,[54] VP5,[54] VP6,[54] VP8, VP9,[51] DNxHD, ProRes and some WMV.

We can go at this all day if you want... VLC MEDIA player is a player of Different formats and codexes... of course its not going to play mj2 or mjp2... its not that used to support it and they are also not going to support the UI for interactive things. You don't go into a movie or video and press down on the video to play it. you don't swipe the camera angles left or right, its a video player you play what you have. The only difference between Video and this video is the UI that supports a touch to play function. You simply have a jpg preview f the file, the US senses touch, it loads the video clip then plays it. thats the only thing written different on this video format. as for being developed for 15 years i highly doubt that, and if so the person who is programing it needs to learn to go to school cause this is a kickstarted weekend project.

Keep writing and trying to convince yourself that Live Photos (Pictures) is a video format then.

After you've learned how to comprehend what you're reading or commenting on, then please replace the goalposts that you (not) so cleverly moved.

Thank You.

I just wanna be man enough to say here that it appears you were right - this according to John Gruber, DaringFireball blog:

"Technically, the way it seems to work is that the iPhone creates two files: a 12 MP JPEG (exactly the same as when you shoot a still image with Live Photo disabled), and a three-second-long MOV file. When looked at through Image Capture on a Mac running OS X 10.10.x, you see both files in the iPhone camera roll: “IMG_1234.JPG” and “IMG_1234.MOV”. Both files have same numeric index after the “IMG_” prefix, and both files have the same creation date. The MOV file is 1440 × 1080 pixels, at 12.77 frames-per-second."

I personally think we all need to start going back to heated arguments we have on the net and acknowledge when we're wrong.

It always starts with the person looking back at you in the mirror ;)

iPhone photoshoot redux perhaps?

I feel less and less disappointed with every apple release its only refreshed products nothing new... heres the new new new iphone, ipad, its the same thing but faster by 1.8 we took all our ideas from Microsoft surface, heres one of their employees that also makes the same app on our device we copied from them.....

You like TV, well fuck!!!!! HERE IS TV where you still have to have a cable provider with those channels you pay for, then sign into your account from apple tv for each app so you can watch it from apple tv when you could simply watch it from your regular tv....

WE BROUGHT YOU SIRI on all your devices so now she can tell you "She doesn't quite understand you"

The new IPHONE PACKS A NEW CAMERA WITH A FRONT FACING LIGHT WE TOOK OFF THE OLD 2001 Imac Photobooth, you know where the screen turns into a white flash for the photo and we reinvented it on the iPhone!!!!


I am disappointed in the Apple TV, but I am hoping more and more content providers provide cord-cutting options and there is hope that Apple will come out with a cord-cutting platform of channels like Sling. You're right, the rest was marginal.

If you looked at all the details of everything, there's so much more to it than that. There won't be anything to replace the concept of a portable telephone for quite some time (I don't even know what it'll be...probably not tooth-embedded phones...but who knows?). The point is, until then, all you can do is increase productivity, therefore decreasing the time you spend on your devices while getting the same thing done you did before. I'd give anything for that -- to be more productive so I can spend more time doing other things than checking my email...which I'll always have to do to some extent no matter what.

And as for cable providers...they (NBC/Comcast/Universal as one pretty much now) own all the content. You don't think Apple's been trying to work with them to do what they did with Apple Music (which needs work..but so does everything...they'll get there)? It's only a matter of time...

For now, they have a solid foundation to build on while they've introduced some nice features to the mix. I think 3D Touch will easily be loved...kind of like Touch ID, where no one thought it was anything special..until they realized how nice it was to have it...

You cant tell me apple has made any leaps and bounds with productivity, if anything they've gone backwards.... Laptops that are Pro line can't hold shit for storage, but it's thin and shiny, You're stuck with RAM, Memory built in the mother board with no way to update it. You don't hear one thing about the Mac Pro tower and that fail of a concept, here is a device you can't ever upgrade!!!! LOL! Photoshop will change forever because adobe and apple with their new Wacom, Opps I mean iPad Pro will change the world!!!! Its all the same shit in a different form. The Watch is a Flop, Productivity... You have to look at your watch, then pull out your phone to do anything... the watch is nothing but a 2015 pager.... Apple sucks, you know why, cause the vision of apple was steve jobs, he had ideas to make new and take risk, now its just about investors making money...

angry much Jimmy? Don't like it, then don't use it, now stfu.

im not angry, i turn green when i get angry, and cloths are expensive so i stopped doing that!

I actually disagree. Now, I'm not talking about the Apple Watch. Forget that. But the Mac Pro is surprisingly upgradeable (for Apple, especially) and my Retina MacBook Pro is my favorite thing ever... Sure, I'm locked in to some extent. But in my eyes, Apple's tight software/hardware integration pays off incredibly... And that SSD speed is outstanding... I can always add more storage externally...and the 1TB is more than enough for what I need internally...

But either way, I guess if you aren't or at least won't be an Apple customer going forward... I know plenty of people that prefer other options... I just could never get used to that myself.

Oh goody. Now we can all listen to all the FS/Apple fanbois tell us how their iPhone belfie images can compete with the best of Ansel Adams. Yawn.

But have you seen the Shot on iPhone 6 campaigns? ;-)