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iPhone 11 camera said to have Pixel-like night mode, but you can already get something similar on your iPhone

Updated Aug 30th, 2019 10:22AM EDT

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Apple’s next-generation iPhone 11 lineup might end up looking a whole like like last year’s iPhone XS and 2017’s iPhone X, but it’s still shaping up to be a pretty huge upgrade. The new Apple A13 processor is expected to offer massive performance gains and important improvements in efficiency, resulting in much faster phones with at least the same battery life as last year’s models. The design of the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max will get a big overhaul, with frosted glass backs and other big changes. There will also be plenty of new features to enjoy, such as reverse wireless charging and a new photography mode that captures content outside the frame, allowing you to re-crop your shots after you take them. And speaking of photography, that’s where the most significant improvements are likely to be found.

Once upon a time not so long ago, Apple was the undisputed champion of smartphone cameras and the gap between iPhones and Android phones was massive. Then, a few years ago, Huawei devoted a ton of resources to improving its smartphone cameras, and it overtook Apple by a wide margin. Since then, other Android phone makers have also surpassed Apple, including Google and Samsung. In 2019, however, Apple is seemingly looking to retake the throne.

The iPhone 11 will have a new dual-lens camera on the back, but the biggest upgrade will be found on the flagship iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. A new triple-lens rear camera system will add a super wide-angle lens to Apple’s regular wide-angle and telephoto lenses, and we’re also expecting huge improvements enabled by new camera software. According to rumors, those improvements will include a special new mode that will capture much higher-quality photos at night.

Google wowed us all when it first introduced Night Sight on its Pixel smartphones. This new photography mode used artificial intelligence to dramatically improve the clarity of low-light photos, and the results were quite literally jaw-dropping.

Image source: Google

Google’s Night Sight has only gotten better since it was first introduced, and other Android phone makers have tried to come up with similar solutions of their own. Samsung’s night mode isn’t bad, but nothing else quite measures up to Night Sight. Next month, however, that may change.

Rumor has it that Apple has finally cooked up a new night mode of its own, and it will yield impressive results when capturing low-light photos. In fact, knowing Apple, it might end up being even better than Google’s Night Sight mode, since Apple typically waits until it has achieved the best possible quality before releasing new features.

The downside of the new night mode on Apple’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max may be that it’s exclusive to these new 2019 iPhone models. Google’s Night Sight is available on older Pixel phones, but Apple could decide to keep all of the iPhone 11’s new camera features exclusive in order to help boost new iPhone purchases. iPhone sales have been declining pretty steadily lately, so Apple needs all the help it can get. If you want something similar on your current iPhone, however, there are already a few intriguing options you can check out.

A thread on Reddit drew our attention to an app called NeuralCam Night Photo, which is designed to recreate Google’s Night Sight on an iPhone. It uses the same type of technology to illuminate dark photos, and the results can be fairly impressive. We tested the app ourselves, and here is the sample posted by the person who started this thread on Reddit:

Here’s another sample from a different thread on Reddit:

Another app mentioned in the first thread is NightCap Camera, and it’s said to achieve similar results. Both apps cost $2.99 in Apple’s iOS App Store, which isn’t bad at all. Apple’s new iPhone 11 series will undoubtedly achieve much better results by using more advanced AI that harnesses the full power of Apple’s coprocessor, but they’ll also cost a whole lot more than $2.99 when they’re released next month on September 20th.

Article updated with a second NeuralCam photo sample.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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