Forget Magic Editor — here are the AI camera features the iPhone 16 Pro desperately needs

iPhone 15 Pro Max in blue
(Image credit: Future)

I’m currently keeping the Google Pixel 8 Pro as my daily driver, mainly for its useful set of AI features and how it’s able to hold its ground against some of the best camera phones I’ve tested so far this year. Apple’s been sitting idly on the sidelines seeing everyone else make AI features a compelling part of their storylines, like the Galaxy S24 Ultra from earlier this year. But with WWDC 2024 fast approaching, the Cupertino-based tech giant can’t afford to skimp out on AI camera features with the iPhone 16 Pro.

Given how I've been used to editing photos and videos I capture with my phones on a desktop PC with proper photo editing software, AI features like Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 Pro have effectively shortened the process. On one hand, Apple could very well copy AI camera features on existing phones, like how the S24 Ultra can transform any video into a slow motion clip with the help of generative AI, but it needs to do so much more.

With the iPhone 16 series tipped for its usual fall release schedule, I’m eager to see how iOS 18 could inject fresh AI camera features into the fold. I’m talking about new experiences unlike anything else that’s out there already. Here’s what I’d like to see happen.

Smarter Multi-Camera Capture

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max used as a b-roll camera to the Panasonic Lumix S5 mirrorless camera.

(Image credit: Future)

As a videographer who edits a ton of video footage, I often wish I could shorten the editing process. AI features can certainly do that. One AI feature in particular that would interest me most in the iPhone 16 Pro would be an evolutionary step to the existing Multi-Camera Capture feature first introduced in iOS 13.

Rather than limiting the recording to only two cameras, the iPhone 16 Pro could be able to record in full resolution using all of its cameras — including its front-facing camera. Naturally, this would require intense processing power, which the A18 Pro chip could deliver, but this feature would also need a little help from AI to perfect.

For example, I’d love it if artificial intelligence could edit and stitch videos for me in a way that it would tell a cohesive story. I record a lot of tech videos over on Tom’s Guide YouTube channel, but it could save me a lot of time if this updated Multi-Camera Capture feature could analyze my videos to pick out all of the important talking points — complete with eye-catching titles, lower third animations, and transition effects.

Background replacement

GIF animation of Magic Editor.

(Image credit: Google)

Apple could very well introduce its own version of Magic Editor, but it would need to do so much more than just give me the ability to resize, move, or erase subjects in my photos. In order to take Magic Editor to the next level, the iPhone 16 Pro would need to lean on generative AI tools in order to make Apple’s version a substantial upgrade.

Since many shutterbugs love capturing portrait and selfie photos, I think it would benefit the iPhone 16 Pro to offer a smarter feature that could replace the background in photos with something else. Of course, this would involve AI to precisely recognize a subject from the background, but I’d like to see this taken one step further by delivering results based on text input.

By typing in whatever you’d want for the background, which then would apply it to the photo, I think Apple’s version of Magic Editor could be better and more functional than just relying on AI to apply a background it thinks would be appropriate.

Best Take without all the extra snapshots

Gif animation of Best Take feature on Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

(Image credit: Future)

The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro introduced Best Take as one of its new AI camera features last fall, and while I love using it to swap faces in my group photos, the only issue I have is that it forces me to take multiple photos in order for it to work effectively. I would happily love for Apple to streamline this process by just having one snapshot.

In order for this to happen, a lot would have to happen behind the scenes for the iPhone 16 Pro to analyze all the faces in a group photo — and then generate options for each of them for me to choose. If it were smart enough, it could even analyze previous photos stored locally on the iPhone to generate different options for me to select.

Apple could certainly throw in a handful of AI camera features at us with the iPhone 16 Pro, but I think they all need to follow the principle of being intuitive for users. There has to be practical applications for them, along with being easy to use for all experience levels. I’m also eager to see what Apple could do around Spatial Video capture with a little help from AI, since the standard iPhone 16 and 16 Plus are rumored to gain the feature due to how their rear cameras are arranged

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.