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By Jason Snell for Macworld
Perhaps the most important feature of the modern era of the smartphone is the camera. The operating systems are mature, the processors and data connections are fast, the apps are plentiful, and the high-resolution screens are large and brilliant. Having a camera with us wherever we go has changed how we view the world and share our lives with others, and the thin shell of a smartphone puts some pretty severe limitations on photography.
Compared to a decade ago, of course, today’s smartphone cameras offer eye-poppingly good image quality. But if you’re shopping for a new smartphone, the camera matters—and the competition is fierce. For years, Apple has promoted the iPhone as offering a high-quality camera, even if it didn’t always match up to competitors with more raw megapixels. But if Apple did possess the smartphone camera throne, it feels like it’s lost it in the last year or two.
Google’s Pixel 3 is generally considered to be the best overall smartphone camera, and its Night Sight feature offers the ability to shoot low-light images that blow away those on the iPhone. It offers deep-focus effects with a single camera that seem to beat the dual-camera setup on the iPhone XS and XS Max. And it’s got a wide-angle selfie camera to make capturing large groups easier.
What can Apple do to counter Google in 2019? There are a few different answers—including one that could require Apple to re-think its classic approach to iPhone upgrades.