There’s a lot to like about the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max while, in my opinion, the budget-friendly iPhone XR is the best of the bunch. But their launches have been more mixed and having already admitted to one serious launch problem, now Apple has quietly confessed to another…
The company chose not to issue a public statement but instead confirmed to The Verge that the so-called ‘BeautyGate’ scandal is indeed real.
Curiously buried within its review of the iPhone XR, Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel dropped the following news:
“Apple told me that the forthcoming iOS 12.1 update, currently in public beta, will address the issue of the front camera appearing to smooth out skin by picking a sharper base frame for Smart HDR, but I wasn’t able to test it yet.”
This, in a nutshell, is BeautyGate. A flaw in the front-facing cameras of Apple’s new iPhones first spotted in late September by popular YouTuber (and increasingly impressive tech sleuth) Lewis Hilsenteger aka Unbox Therapy.
Apple’s response to the issue was complete silence for almost a month. Something which led many to think this image processing was deliberate because beauty modes are extremely popular in Asia, which is a major target market for Apple. That said, given the results looks so unnatural (video below), criticism mounted.
Consequently, Apple is to be applauded for working on a fix and it is possible an optional (hopefully improved) beauty mode will remain in iOS 12.1.
That said, the company’s timeliness and communication style again leave a lot to be desired. They are a repeat of its farcical approach to the serious ‘ChargeGate’ problem (another Hilsenteger spot) where iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models refused to charge automatically when plugged in. In that instance, Apple again made no statement instead quietly leaking details of an upcoming fix to fan site iMore.
One of Apple’s greatest strengths is its rigorous approach to software updates (even if results can be mixed) but the company’s reluctance to be upfront about the problems in the first place is increasingly common.