iOS 10.1 update includes portrait mode beta for iPhone 7 Plus

One of the promised benefits of the second 12-megapixel camera Apple saw fit to add to the iPhone 7 Plus was a "portrait mode" that could simulate the "bokeh," or background blur, characteristic of high-end cameras with large sensors. The  iOS 10.1 update takes the portrait mode feature from keynote slides to customer handsets, at least in beta form. Apple says the iPhone 7 Plus uses the pair of 12-megapixel cameras in conjunction with "advanced machine learning" to apply the depth-of-field effect.

Apple has a press release with a collection of photos where the portrait mode appears to work—like magic, of course. Those at The Verge who have used the feature claim the actual results of portrait mode are "hit and miss." In situations where the feature doesn't work, the site says the resulting images end up looking "obviously fake." The feature is still in beta, to be fair, so perhaps further development will improve the consistency of the software's results.

The iOS 10.1 release notes mention more updated content. The camera app underwent some minor changes alongside the portrait mode update. Transit content for Japan is now available, including information about Japanese train and ferry lines. Several bug fixes involving the Apple Watch are also included in the 10.1 update. Unlike in the Android universe, users with supported devices can expect an efficient and orderly rollout of the release to their handsets, without the third-party manufacturer and carrier meddling that plague Android updates. Users who want to apply the update can check the settings app of their iDevices now.

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