iOS 11 camera features may include scene recognition

Developers dug into beta firmware and found new features for the mobile shooter.

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Smartphones may have effectively killed off dedicated point-and-shoot cameras, but Apple is looking to them for inspiration with iOS 11. Developers have dug through beta firmware for the HomePod, and tucked inside the code for Apple's smart speaker, there are hints that the next version of its mobile OS will feature something called "SmartCam."

If you've ever used a point-and-shoot camera, the feature should sound pretty familiar: different scene modes and photo settings depending on what you're shooting. So, one each for fireworks, foliage, pets, skies, snow, sports and others, as SlashGear notes. There's even one for documents.

The "smart" in its name suggests that maybe machine learning will play a role here as well, potentially analyzing the scene for you and picking the best settings. This might not use machine learning to improve photography a la what Google does with the Pixel, but it could make Apple's woefully basic camera app a little more full featured.

Whether this will be exclusive to Apple's next round of mobile hardware -- whenever it's announced -- or if it'll apply to legacy handsets too is hard to tell.