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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Apple iPhone 11 Pro: What does the Pro in iPhone mean?

According to Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, the iPhone 11 Pro will be a phone the pros, or professionals, “can count on to get their work done”.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Cupertino |
Updated: September 12, 2019 3:19:32 pm
apple iphone 11 pro, iphone 11 pro camera, iphone 11 pro professional camera, why iphone 11 pro, iphone 11 pro Apple iPhone 11 Pro is for professional photography. (Express Photo: Nandagopal Rajan)

Apple has for the first time decided to give the Pro appendage to an iPhone. But what does that exactly mean when it comes to the Apple iPhone 11 Pro?

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said this means the iPhone 11 Pro will be a phone the pros, or professionals, “can count on to get their work done”. But then, this phone has the same processor and other features as the iPhone 11, which is at least $300 cheaper and has a larger screen.

So clearly the pros Apple has in mind are those who take their photography more seriously.

And this is where the sync between the camera and the A13 Bionic processor in these new phones will come into play. The phone is powerful enough to let all four lenses — that includes the one in front — to record at the same time. On show was a new app called Filmic that lets users do exactly that. Basically, the iPhone 11 Pro can do a multi-camera set up on its own, one shooting the filmmaker too.

While others like Samsung and OnePlus too have phones with three really good rear cameras, none have the processing power to pull off this level of photography. So while almost every image these days comes with a level of computational photography with the software deciding which areas need to get a better play of lighting or details, the iPhone 11 Pro will take it to a whole new level.

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In fact, so much is the confidence in the computational photography capabilities that Apple gave a sneak peek into what it calls Deep Fusion technology. Using this technology, the iPhone 11 Pro cameras can stitch nine photos together to give the kind of details never before achieved by smartphone cameras. On show will be textures and shades smartphone cameras ignored before.

Read more: Apple has a new pricing strategy for iPhone 11 and it’s aggressive

The camera will, in fact, take four of the nine images before the shutter button is pressed. Then when you press the button it goes into a long exposure. Ultimately the neural processor fuses the two types of images to give a composite that optimises the image at the pixel level — that is 24 million pixels to be precise.

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Schiller chose to call it “computation photography mad science”. But then all we got is a sneak peek and we will have to wait for the software update to comment more on how good this actually is. When it comes, this will be a default feature that will trigger on its own when the situation is right for this kind of a photo.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro camera Apple iPhone 11 Pro introduces triple cameras at the back. (Image source: Bloomberg)

Read more: Apple iPhone 11 series is here, so is aggressive pricing on Apple services 

While these are the kind of features that will endear the iPhone 11 Pro to the professionals, the ultimate goal is for people to not have to think about how to get a photo right. This shows in the way Apple has packed in its night mode feature. When you are in a setting where the lighting is low, this feature pops up on its own and gives the kind of details you would otherwise not see. However, the idea is clearly not to make night look like day, so a lot of subtleties of night photography are retained. Users also have the option to switch off night mode.

Now, will this be a feature that can sell the iPhone 11 Pro beyond those who make a lot of videos and shoot a lot of pictures is what remains to be seen.

Frank Gillet, principal analyst at Forrester research told that “only the photography features have appeal to draw people to upgrade early”. He added: “Otherwise they’ll stay in their standard behaviour of waiting three years, or annually upgrading because that’s just what they do.”

Creative Stratergies, Inc president Tim Bajarin was more optimistic. “The Bionic chip and its neural engine tied to the new cameras are a big leap in functionality and should drive new demand this holiday season,” he told

But one thing is for sure, the pros will be happy.

(The writer is in California on the invitation of Apple) 

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