Back in 1992, Bill Clinton was elected US president, Microsoft released Windows 3.1 and digital photo experts created the JPEG image format.
The first two are mostly matters for historians now, but a quarter century later, JPEG remains a part of our daily lives.
The red line shows the king of image formats, JPEG, and the yellow line is Google's competing Web P. With one, it doesn't matter if you took a photo with an Android phone and then share it with a college roommate with a Windows PC.
It can also hold audio, video and text information, too -- imagine a short video clip with a caption that you might post on Snapchat."The line between photos and videos is blurred, and a lot of what we capture is a combination of both of these assets," said Sebastien Marineau-Mes, Apple's vice president of software, plugging HEIF at a WWDC talk.When Apple uses HEIF for its live photos, that'll make it easier for other phone makers or app developers to view them.And if other phone makers want use the same feature, i Phone users should be able to see them more easily if they're recorded as HEIF images.HEIF also can bundle multiple photos of the same scene, for example shots taken at different brightness levels that you might later want to combine into a single image through a technology called high-dynamic range (HDR) photography.That's a remarkable achievement for the fast-moving computing industry.
Apple, though, thinks it's time to start moving on."In our tests, we've seen even better levels, depending on the subject of the image," said Kelly Thompson, general manager of product, engineering and design at photo sharing and licensing site 500px, in a blog post. HEIF offers a lot more than just smaller photo file sizes, and indeed those other features are a big part of why Apple picked it.HEIF is actually a container that can hold a lot more than just a single image.To that end, it announced this month at its WWDC programmer conference that it's endowing its i Phones, i Pads and Macs with support for a new photo-storing technology called HEIF, short for High Efficiency Image Format. Compatibility problems and other factors complicate HEIF's prospects.HEIF needs only half the storage space as a JPEG photo of the same quality. But Apple has massive clout in the computing industry.Not only does it let you squeeze more photos onto your phone, HEIF also modernizes digital photography in important ways.