Apple’s HEIF image format choice reinvents photography

“Apple announced plans to adopt the HEIF image format at WWDC,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “When it did it pointed at the format’s higher-quality and much smaller image sizes, but I think there are big implications beyond this.”

In Harry Potter, “you may recall the picture the young wizard had of his Mum, Dad, and himself. They seemed alive in the image. It seemed like magic. These days it seems like an Apple Live Photo,” Evans writes. “A still image that is also a video, Live Photos is a perfect example of the kind of image-based technologies HEIF will enable in future Apple hardware and software products. At present the way it works depends on several technologies and a series of images, but with HEIF the image file can actually be a real video (and audio, and many other things).”

Evans writes, “I am certain Apple’s move to adopt this powerful new image format mean that we’ll see a deepening connection between the photos we take daily and the introduction of advanced technologies that make such images virtually real.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We have the feeling that so many cool things are just around the corner!


  1. I am using an older copy of Photoshop that I purchased and have so far refused to pay subscription prices for their latest version. With HEIF I will be forced to subscribe and be raped.

        1. The point is that “D” will be driven to an Adobe subscription eventually if/when he upgrades to High Sierra because of its incompatibility with 32-bit apps. The fact that High Sierra is free is irrelevant. The fact that his legacy Photoshop app does not support HEIF is just another forcing function for the Adobe subscription.

          I feel your pain, D. Everyone is getting greedy and looking to lock you in to a never-ending stream of payments. But, if Photoshop is your professional bread-and-butter, then you may not have an option unless you are willing to switch to another app and can find one that meets your needs.

  2. I wonder how much of what HEIF can do will actually be supported? If you look at the features list for .mp4, within the standard, you can have a single file that, for example, represents a full BluRay or DVD type interface, for the audio/video, extras and everything. However, I don’t know of anyone that writes files in those formats. Even if you do have something that writes it, you THEN have to have all the players support it and I know neither QuickTime nor Safari supports more than just the audio/video. I wonder how much beyond basic images/animations and LivePhoto will come into broad use?

    See this page for some examples.

    1. The point is that Quicktime and Safari can be updated to support more of the capabilities of HEIF than just audio/video.

      Supporting more of a platforms capabilities is a function of need. If Apple develops something we can’t even imagine today, and HEIF makes the “something” possible, that capability will be rolled into Quicktime/Safari.

      1. They CAN be updated, but since they weren’t updated to support MP4’s with menus, it makes me wonder. QuickTime USED to have interactive scripting, but it was removed because it could be used maliciously.

    2. I suspect that many features will never be utilized with HEIF either due to lack of demand, or lack of implementation, however, it’s much better to have the potential features in the spec and go unused than have something come out later and need to extend or create a whole new spec.

      The big thing with HEIF, is that at its core is next generation compression. Further, since it’s actually a container, even newer codecs can be utilized with it in the future.

      I find this all really exciting as it can apply to all the cross-media work my company deals with. However, my biggest fear comes from licensing resistance and competition from open source alternatives.

    3. Wrong again? .mp4 is based on QT, but misses many features.

      Ooh and wrong again, “within a single file…” neither an .mp4 or an .mov is file? They are not file types, they are container types.



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