Using an iPhone for videography is a compelling choice over a bulkier set-up. However, there are still some significant improvements Apple needs to make if more “pros” will seriously consider ditching a DSLR.
Video Portrait Mode
Currently, Portrait Mode on the iPhone is just okay. It doesn't understand glass or the edges of certain things, and the result is a depth of field effect not as good as a proper DSLR. With iPhone’s current technology, applying this effect to video would be difficult.
Apple announced the new iPad Pro with a liDAR lens but didn't make a compelling argument about why we should care. LiDAR technology can 3D scan its surroundings using light pulses. So? Well, if your iDevice knows exactly where your coffee table is, it can better place Pikachu on top of it when you're playing Pokémon Go.
While AI (Augmented Reality) is the benefit Apple is pushing for liDar on the iPad, there's a second application for this technology that I think (hope) Apple will take advantage of for the new iPhone — video portrait mode.
In theory, if liDAR can 3D scan a room, it can separate the foreground and blur out the background. Can it do this in real-time? I don't know. If it can, it’ll be a game-changer for mobile videography.
I'm calling this one a wildcard because even if it can be done, Apple doesn't like to overshadow announcements for new technologies. If their hallmark application for liDAR will be AI, they may hold back video portrait mode for next year. Also, I have not heard any rumors for this feature. It's a leap.
Night Mode For The Ultra-Wide Angle Lens
Apple held back NightMode for the ultra-wide-angle lens on the iPhone 11 Pro. As far as I know, it's not impossible to include. It seems like a logical, incremental improvement to the lens. My bet is they’ll include the feature for the iPhone 12 Pro.
A “Photography Mode” Option
Nothing bothers me more about the iPhone than when I'm taking a photo or attaching the phone to a tripod, I accidentally trigger Siri or emergency mode.
I would love to see a feature that lets me set my phone to “photography mode” that automatically disables Siri, emergency mode (long press), notification, and calls. Sort of like a specialized Do Not Disturb.
It seems to me that since this is a software feature, if Apple was planning to announce “Photography Mode,” it would've done so with the release of iOS 14. There haven't been any rumors for this feature either, so I'm skeptical it'll ever come out.
Zoom-ier Telephoto Lens
I'm so jealous of the photographers next to me as we both try to take a photo of the bison 100 yards away. The telephoto lens they have verse the one on my iPhone 11 Pro Max is no contest. I have no disillusions that my phone can ever get as close to a subject as a proper telephoto lens on a DSLR, but I think Apple can do better with what it currently offers.
As far as I know, there isn't a rumor about this specific improvement. But, like the Night Mode feature for the ultra-wide lens, this feels like the incremental upgrade Apple is known for.
Improved External Microphone
The external mic on the iPhone 11 Pro is actually pretty great. It's not a boom mic, but it handles windy situations surprisingly well. I'd love to see Apple continue to improve this technology.
Copy / Paste Edit Settings
Why on God’s green earth can't I copy the settings from a photo I just edited onto another photo?! This seems like a no-brainer. Yet, we got another iOS update that omits this needed feature. I don't expect it to come with the iPhone 12, sadly.
Final Cut Pro For iPhone
Rumors of Final Cut Pro for the iPad are becoming more consistent. I'm excited about it. But sometimes, I'd like to edit a video on my iPhone and need advanced editing features. The pro software coming to the iPhone before the iPad seems unlikely to me, however.
Improved Apple Watch Functionality
I shoot 99% of my photos and videos alone. The ability to control my camera from my Apple Watch makes my solo productions so much easier (and in some cases possible). However, there are limited abilities from the Apple Watch camera app. I can’t switch from video to photo, change frame rate, or change lenses. The app is currently limited to the shoot button and a timer option.
This feels like another improvement they would announce with iOS 14 but, maybe Apple will utilize a new (or improved) specialized chip in the iPhone 12 Pro to achieve these features.
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I love guessing what the latest iPhone will include. If you have any predictions, I'd love to hear from you!