Microsoft today unveiled a camera app for iOS that it likens to having a professional photographer in your pocket.
Called Microsoft Pix, the app has many features that mirror Apple's built-in camera app for iPhones and iPads. Pix automatically monitors the scene and lighting between each shutter tap, adjusting the ISO and shutter speeds as needed.
Its facial-recognition software optimizes capture settings, and there's also a time-lapse mode for video, as well as the option to create a "Live Image"—a short, looping video stitched together from multiple frames taken by the app's burst mode. That mode will also offer you what the app thinks is the best image, based on quality, sharpness, and whether or not people in the shot are smiling and have their eyes open.
Apple's Live Photos feature offers similar capabilities, though it doesn't auto-select images. Microsoft says its implementation will only activate if there's motion in the shot, in order to save storage space on your phone.
In a bid to convince iOS users of Pix's superior image-taking skills, Microsoft displays a side-by-side comparison on its website of the same photos taken with both Apple's camera app and Pix. Besides better lighting, the most impressive differences are with live photos; Pix's version is noticeably more stable than the image shot with Apple's app.
Pix is iOS-only, and available on the iPhone 5s or newer in addition to several recent iPad models. It requires iOS 9. There's no word on whether or not Microsoft will make an Android version available, but since it's marketed specifically as an alternative to Apple's camera, we don't expect an Android offering any time soon.