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Every year in September, Apple releases an updated line of iPhone, and a little earlier in the summer announced an update to the iOS operating system. Not a single announcement is complete without innovative and … not entirely innovative solutions and technologies. Triple camera, smart HDR mode, “night mode” Night Shift, True Tone, Liquid Retina Display and much more were presented from the stage with fanfare. Which of these technologies were really the first on the market, which ones were catching up, and which existed before, but were first brought to mind by Apple engineers? Let's try to understand the example of company announcements over the past few years.
Night Shift: how to do it right
Today, the night screen mode, in the late hours gradually diverting the color temperature to “warm” shades, has become familiar. Someone uses this mode, someone prefers natural color rendition, but one thing is important: this mode is there, and it is on almost all smartphones of almost all manufacturers.
For users of Apple products, this mode first appeared in 2016 with the release of 9.3.
No not like this. Officially for users of Apple products, this mode first appeared in March 2016 with the release of 9.3. And unofficially, there was an application f.Lux long before that. How "long"? On iOS, the f.Lux app appeared in 2011, and it needed a jailbreak to work. Version no jailbreak released in 2015; users could install it themselves on their devices. However, in November 2015, Apple's legal department forced developers remove free access application, citing clauses prohibiting developers from using private APIs. And in March of next year, the function officially appeared in iOS 9.3. Innovation? It is doubtful.
What about other platforms? Night Light mode appeared in some (by no means all) Android devices in Android 7.1.1; additional mode settings became available in Android 8. Night Light officially required support Hardware Composer HAL 2.0 (respectively, only 64-bit processors – as is the case with Apple). In beta versions of Android, this mode either appeared or disappeared even on Google’s own devices. 64-bit devices such as the Nexus 9 and Google Pixel C did not receive Night Light mode, despite the fact that they fully met the requirements.
With Night Light support, third-party smartphones and tablets have also been a complete mess for a long time. Night Light received some smartphones that came with Android 6 or 7 on board, and some did not. But devices released immediately with Android 8 in 2017 and later, almost all (with rare exceptions) had this opportunity. Moreover, many manufacturers have added this feature to their own shells, regardless of the version of Android.
The Google Play store has plenty of applications that implement a semblance of night mode. Users of rooted devices are available f.Lux and CF.lumen. The rest can use one of the many screen filters with all their restrictions in the form of "faded" colors, a whitish black and not shadowed status bar filter.
By the way, the night mode is now available on computers with Windows 10. Unlike Apple, Microsoft did not block the f.Lux application, it can be installed both from the developers ’own website and from the Microsoft Store.
Output: Apple were not the first to come up with the night mode of the screen, and they were not even the first to implement such a mode in iOS. However, due to the fact that iOS 9.3 became immediately available for all mobile devices of the company, including the old iPhone 5s (released with iOS 7 on board), we will write this opportunity into the correct implementations.
True Tone: ambient light sensor and smart software
The True Tone function has become a kind of development of the night mode. Unlike the night mode, which simply takes the shades to the “warm” side with the onset of night time (the most “advanced” part here is to find out the location of the device and determine the exact moment of sunset), True Tone technology requires a hardware sensor to determine the color temperature surroundings and adjust the image to fit it.
For the first time, technology did not appear on the iPhone, but on the iPad Pro 9.7 tablet, which was released in March 2016. Today True Tone works on all Apple devices equipped with the appropriate sensor. The list includes all iPhones, starting with the iPhone 8, all versions of the iPad Pro, except for the very first model of 2015, as well as the new iPad mini 5 and iPad Air (2019).
As in the case of night mode, True Tone technology has its lovers and skeptics. I am ambivalent about technology. On the one hand, on the iPad Pro it is implemented gently enough so as not to annoy. But on iPhones equipped with OLED matrices, the inclusion of True Tone instantly takes the screen to yellowness: tested on the iPhone X and Xs Max.
What about competitors? Something similar happened back in the days of the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Adaptive Display feature, 2017). However, according to user reviews, the technology looked cool only on paper. In real life, only an extremely strongly colored external light source could influence the picture, and the effect itself appeared only in a few selected applications (for example, in the Chrome browser).
In fact, the first to really implement the technology was Amazon with its Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) tablet. The technology was called Dynamic Light Control; You can watch the demo by the link. True, it looks great? Here everything is as Apple subsequently did, only two years earlier: both a hardware ambient color temperature sensor and the correct screen driver that uses hardware registers to change screen settings …
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