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iPhone 7 Plus: Portrait mode impressions on iOS 10.1 beta [Photos]
I admit that I buy a new iPhone every year for the camera upgrades. My iCloud Photo Library is up to 14,633 photos and 1,261 videos and growing. Almost every one of those were captured with an iPhone so its camera matters to me. Last year's iPhone 6s introduced Live Photos which I absolutely love. (This from November is just one of my favorites; you can view it on the web thanks to Tumblr's new Live Photo feature).This year includes Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus which intelligently applies a blur effect over backgrounds on still shots. Portrait mode photos often look like they were shot on dedicated cameras, not smartphones. The feature requires the dual camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus to work and is only available in beta on iOS 10.1 beta for now. Apple wants to fine tune Portrait mode's performance before it hits primetime, and there are a few things we can already learn about it through testing.I'm a little late to the game here because my 256GB Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus only just arrived yesterday, but I got the chance to try out Portrait mode over the weekend on my wife's iPhone and a lot more yesterday and today. Benjamin and I discussed it briefly on this week's 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and I have a few more points to make after further testing.First, people are really impressed by Portrait mode shots when you share them on social media and suspect they came from the iPhone 7 Plus and not a dedicated camera. Photos in Instagram are reduced to such a low resolution and so much detail is lost that flaws in the blur effect are harder to see (example). I shared a few shots on Facebook last night too, for example, and my colleague Dan from 9to5Toys had to verify they were from iPhone 7 Plus. He described the samples as absolutely gorgeous with no difference between nice point-and-shoot cameras.