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Apple just copied one of Snapchat’s and Instagram’s most fundamental features

Apple is paying attention to the fact that lots of people take pictures through Instagram and Snapchat, and it has designed the iPhone 11’s camera interface accordingly.

Apple just copied one of Snapchat’s and Instagram’s most fundamental features
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

Lots of people take pictures through Instagram and Snapchat, both of which use a similar camera interface: You tap a button to take pictures and hold it down to take a video.

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Now, Apple’s native camera app for the iPhone 11 series is adopting the same functionality that these social media apps have long used. At Apple’s annual September hardware event, the company announced a new feature called Quick Take: While taking snapshots, you’ll now be able to simply hold down the shutter button to capture a video without swiping to the side to change modes.

It’s a small shift, but it shows that Apple is responding to the ways people are taking photos and videos in their everyday lives. The iPhone’s venerable camera interface doesn’t facilitate quick switching between taking photos and video while on the go: It’s easy to accidentally take a video when you meant to take a photo, and vice versa. This feature should help eliminate some of that confusion while using an already established interface many people will be familiar with.

[Animation: courtesy of Apple]
Along with Quick Take, the new iPhones also support the sometimes silly photos people like to share on social media with a new photo feature—which the company decided to preemptively dub the “slofie”—that lets you take slow-motion video using your front-facing camera. The slow-motion selfie is now possible because of upgrades to the selfie cam and looks like the kind of effect you might want to post on an Instagram Story.

The feature might be a hit, since it’s currently complicated to create a slow-motion video of yourself to post on social media. But the name certainly is not. Lesson number one: If you’re a multi-billion-dollar corporation, maybe don’t try to give features like this a cutesy name instead of letting one arise organically. Predictably, Twitter was full of people groaning after the announcement:

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Even though Apple might be trying to be hip like the kids these days, it’s certainly paying attention to social media as a crucial part of people’s usage of smartphones—and is designing its interfaces accordingly.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is the deputy editor of Fast Company's technology section. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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