Apple dumps JPEGs

The September release of Apple’s new iOS11 brings with it a new default stills file format – HEIF or High Efficiency Image Format. It’s claimed to do the compression that JPEG does in half the file size. Or alternatively, doubles the quality at the same file size.

Uploading and downloading will also be faster, and it supports both lossy and lossless compression and image data storage.

HEIF is based on the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Compression) or H.265 video format developed by the MPEG group. It basically grabs stills from H.265 video – which suits Apple’s Live Images feature down to the ground. Photographers will be happy that it also supports 10-bit deep colour images for improved quality.

Apple’s typical arrogance in making this change without giving software developers and printer manufactures an opportunity to come up to speed on the new file format leaves a lot of compatibility questions unanswerable at the moment.

Apple seems to have overlooked the implications for hard copy output altogether, except to say that it recognises if a connected device can handle HEIF and if not renders the HEIF files as JPEGs. Well, maybe. iOS11 is back-compatible with a shedload of Apple iPhones and iPads, so the use of HEIF will quickly become widespread.

ProCounter put a series of questions to Epson about how its printing technology will deal with HEIF files (the file extension is actually .heic) about a week ago and the technical people seem unable to respond. A leading US minilab kiosk software developer we spoke to this week told ProCounter Apple’s move to the new format has the potential to decimate that business – it’s doubtful a cable connection will enable the conversion from HEIF to JPEG to take place.

HEIF also heavily weighed down by patents – fine for Apple but legally and financially dangerous for less resourced developers to tangle with.

JPEG is a technology from the ’90s and HEIF has a lot going for it, but right now it comes with a lot of known and unknown unknowns – if you don’t happen to be Apple.

5 thoughts on “Apple dumps JPEGs

  1. This is typical of the arrogance of Apple. It will leave users both professional and the family snapper unable to produce hard copy of images until printer manufacturers catch up with the new format. It may also make many printers obsolete. Not good at all.

  2. I have been told by photofinale that their kiosks will support the new format. It would be to negative to apple to do this without consultation with printers. I agree that they are an arrogant bunch and I hate apple and more and more are going away from them because of their higher than thou attitude. This would seriously dent their iphone/tablet sales and fill the rubbish dumps with ipads. I’m not sure they are that stupid, but I could be wrong

    • Thank for the shout out wayne, I am just seeing this today. Hopefully, by now you have installed version 10 of the kiosk and your iPhone apps have been upgraded. All is well in the land of apple / Photo Finale.

  3. I think apple like to generate discussion and get us all racing around like chooks with their heads cut off, then they come in and say we had it under control all the time. Its just a way of generating free advertising, as any comment/advertising is good advertising.

  4. Another example of Apple shooting it’s self in the foot yet again
    Why people use apple is beyond me, but then they eat McDonalds don’t they

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