As analysts predict a minor upgrade for the iPhone 11, Apple seems to be scrambling to find a way to make its new flagship "yawner" attractive to buyers— and it may have found that in a new video background removal tool for iOS 13.
The new technology will allow people to take video and automatically remove the background using AI-based depth analysis. It was developed by Spektral, a Danish company that has managed to analyze video at 60 frames per second using machine learning and computer vision. According to Spektral, the tech “combines deep neural networks and spectral graph theory with the computing power of modern GPUs [which] can process images and video from the camera in real-time directly on the device.“
Assuming it works as the video demonstration shows, the technology is impressive. So impressive, in fact. that Apple bought the company in October 2018.
Now, a new iOS 13 beta has confirmed that this AI background removal tool will be coming inside the operating system. This will allow apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Apple’s own camera app to swap backgrounds and play with 3D elements that could go in front or behind a subject in real time.
It seems like a gimmick but, like the iPhone X and its Animojis, gimmicks may be able to help sell a few million iPhones.
Apple’s flagships have been falling behind leading Android phones from Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo in terms of innovation. All of those companies' flagships arguably have more attractive (notchless) industrial designs, better camera performance, and batteries, among other advanced features such as in-display fingerprint recognition or 5x optical zoom.
Knowing that Apple desperately needs something to attract buyers, it seems safe to assume that this new AI camera tech will be an iPhone 11 exclusive. Other camera upgrades include an expected three lenses on the iPhone 11 Pro models, and that ultra-wide camera will let you shoot three pictures at once in order to create the ideal shot.
Bloomberg reports that Apple is also working to improve low-light performance in its cameras, an area where it has trailed the likes of the Pixel 3, Galaxy Note 10 Plus and other Android phones.
Other rumored features include Apple Pencil support for the iPhone 11 Pro, shatter-resistant glass, reverse wireless charging and more. See our iPhone 11 roundup for all the latest news and leaks ahead of Apple's expected Sept. 10 launch event.