One of the biggest characteristics that distinguishes Apple’s new iPhone from the iPhone 6 is a new feature called Live Photos.
This addition lets you capture photos that move ever so slightly — giving the illusion that they’re live moments rather than just still pictures.
During the company’s big keynote on Wednesday, Apple said the camera on the iPhone 6S captures the moments just before and after you shoot the photo to create this effect. Now, however, we’re getting a few more details about how this technology actually works.
The camera captures just enough movement before and after you press the shutter button to create a 1.5-second animation. But it’s not a video — it’s a single JPEG file that consists of a series of images, tweeted Canalys analyst Daniel Matte, who spoke with an iPhone product manager from Apple, which MacRumors spotted.
This makes it easy to send these Live Photos to devices that don’t support the new feature so it can be viewed as a still image. Audio is recorded separately and then added on top of the file.
Although you can only shoot Live Photos with an iPhone 6S, you’ll be able to view them on current iPhones, iPads, Mac devices, and Apple Watches running Apple’s latest software. According to Apple’s developer documents, it sounds like iPhones and iPads will support Live Photo playback whenever iOS 9.1 launches.
A Live Photo takes up about twice as much storage as a regular photo, according to TechCrunch, and you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re in Live Photo mode by looking for a set of yellow rings that sit at the top of the screen in the camera app when the feature is turned on.
Other than the ability to shoot moving photos, the iPhone 6S comes with an improved 12-megapixel camera compared to the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 6. We’ll know more about how the new iPhone’s camera compares to that of its predecessor after the phone launches on Sept. 25.
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