Apple Execs Detail Philosophy Behind iPhone 15 Camera Features

Apple’s Vice President of Camera Software Engineering, Jon McCormack, and Senior Director of iPhone Product Marketing, Maxime Veron, recently sat down with PetaPixel to discuss the company’s philosophy behind the iPhone 15’s camera system.

“It really is, in my mind, all about allowing people to go chase their vision,” said McCormack. He emphasized that Apple aims to simplify the complexity of photography into an easy-to-understand interface, allowing users to focus on capturing moments rather than worrying about hardware or software settings. “Behind the big red button… the thing you’re worrying about is the frame and the moment because honestly, that’s the most inspiring part of any photograph or any video,” McCormack added.

One of the new features in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max is the ability to set specific focal lengths when taking a photo by tapping the 1x icon, to then get choices of 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm. McCormack explained that this is achieved through dedicated neural networks and a combination of the sensor’s resolution and Apple’s software. However, he noted that these specific focal lengths are not available in video mode due to processing limitations.

McCormack also touched on the topic of log encoding for filmmakers, stating, “We go for a middle-ground exposure. When you go into log, there’s no tone mapping so you can have much more precise control over what your exposure is.”

On the subject of computational photography, Veron said, “For the vast majority of our customers, we just aim to process everything in the background so that the process is invisible and out of the way.” He added that Apple wants to meet the demands of enthusiast customers while keeping the interface uncluttered.

The executives acknowledged that as the iPhone becomes more of a primary capture device for many creators, every design decision aims to make the device approachable for all users. “Our approach to computational photography and videography is really, really unique,” Veron concluded.

Apple’s iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro launch on Friday, September 22, 2023.

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