Microsoft has announced a new camera app for iPhone which it claims is better than Apple’s default camera app. Microsoft has more apps in Apple’s App Store than any other developer and it has always claimed to better what Apple has to offer by default. After email and calendar, Microsoft’s latest offering is a camera app that promises to enhance your photos and even Live Photos.
Microsoft has been pushing its own apps to platforms like Android and iOS. The company has even entered into Cyanogen’s Mod platform with its own apps replacing the default Google services. Microsoft Pix, released globally on iOS, is developed by Microsoft’s Research team and it claims to be as simple as capturing photos can get – Point. Shoot. Perfect. Microsoft Pix’s USP here seems to be its de-noise and enhanced scene recognition feature. The company says its camera app checks for lighting between each shot and updates camera setting for effective scene setting and lighting.
Microsoft’s Pix taps into artificial intelligence when it recognises faces to automatically set the focus and exposure. The camera app basically takes multiple shots before and after the shutter is pressed and reproduces the one that looks the best. Microsoft Pix also stitches these burst photos into a looping video which Microsoft is calling as Live Photos.
While most camera app prefer to keep every image shot in burst mode, Microsoft Pix automatically selects up to three of the best images from the burst and deletes the rest. The feature could be extremely useful if you are using a 16GB iPhone. Microsoft has also built its Hyperlapse app into Pix which stabilises videos for smoother playback and can be time-lapsed for different frame rates.
While Apple already offers one of the most simple yet fastest automatic camera on a smartphone, this Microsoft claim is a big one. Apple which keeps its core app functionalities closed to third party has been slow when it comes to enriching its own apps. With iOS 10, Apple even allows users to hide Apple apps they don’t use.
While Pix does sound like a cool app, its use may well be limited. Google recently introduced Motion Stills which converts Live Photos into Gifs or videos but the closed ecosystem of Apple didn’t let the app do anything more than that and considering Live Photos being available on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the app had limited appeal. Same could apply with it Microsoft Pix which won’t be able to tap into default app ecosystem of iOS.
People clicking photos from a third party app will definitely rely on Apple’s default camera app. While the app may not see as many installs as Outlook or Wunderlist, it certainly fits well with Microsoft’s strategy to be on every other platform. The app is immediately available on App Store.