Apple will squeeze more photos into your iPhone with HEIF

  • Photos using HEIF take up half the space as a JPEG, or alternatively offer crisper, more detailed and colorful images at the same size.
  • HEIF offers a lot more than just smaller photo file sizes, and indeed those other features are a big part of why Apple picked it. HEIF is actually a container that can hold a lot more than just a single image. It’s a good way to store an animated image like an Apple live photo, for example, or one of those eerily compelling half-moving, half-still images called a cinemagraph. It also can hold a collection of photos taken in a burst, though Apple isn’t using it for that purpose, at least now. It can also hold audio, video and text information, too — imagine a short video clip with a caption that you might post on Snapchat.
  • Here’s another thing HEIF can do: store extra data called a depth map that records how far away each part of a scene is from the camera that took the photo“In iOS 11, we’re storing the depth map as part of what we capture. We’re giving you and your app access to the photo and the depth map, so you can load it up use this to do your own creative effects,” Marineau-Mes told app developers.
  • The biggest problem is that most devices and programs don’t know how to read HEIF files. Adobe Systems’ Photoshop, for example, has no support. Nor do any web browsers. And it’s tough to get new formats to catch on. Microsoft improved on JPEG with a format called JPEG XR, but it never got traction. Google’s WebP format is now common on the web, but it’s not used anywhere else. Even Google’s Android phones can’t take WebP photos.
  • Another problem: HEIF is based on the HEVC video format, and HEVC is clouded by expensive patent licensing concerns. That could keep important potential allies like Google away.
  • Will Apple go through my photo archive and replace all my JPEG photos with HEIF photos?
    Converting photos from one lossy compression format like JPEG to another degrades the image. Apple will only use HEIF for new photos.

Source: Apple will squeeze more photos into your iPhone. Here’s how

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