Apple's new "Barbershop" ad shows off the iPhone 7 Plus's Portrait mode

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus camera
Leave it to Apple to transform a sleepy New Orleans barbershop into a funky, high-energy backdrop for an iPhone ad. On Monday, the Cupertino, California-based company aired a new TV spot that highlights one of the iPhone’s best features through haircuts. Lots of them.

The “Barbers” ad — the newest in Apple’s Practically Magic series, choreographed in rhythm to “Fantastic Man” by Nigerian synth-punk artist William Onyearbor — focuses on the iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait mode. The ad depicts a barber’s viral success: After framing a portrait of a customer’s new haircut, by-passers congregate around it. Word spreads quickly, and soon the stylists can’t keep up with the throngs of customers who want trims and portraits of their own.

It was for a good cause. Apple says that the excess hair from the 24 haircuts depicted in the ad were donated to Locks for Love, a non-profit organization which helps provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada.

Portrait mode, which debuted on the iPhone 7, uses the phone’s rear cameras — two 12-megapixel sensors, one with a 56mm “telephoto” lens — to separate foreground subjects (i.e., a person) from the background (everything else) with a subtle blur.

“[Portrait] mode, known as ‘bokeh’ and previously only capable on DSLR cameras, turns the camera you carry around with you everyday into an even more powerful photography tool,” Apple says.

It’s one of the iPhone 7’s biggest camera advancements, but not its only. The optical image stabilization (OIS) helps to deliver up to three times longer exposure compared to the iPhone 6s, according to Apple, and True Tone flash — a four-LED array that adjusts color temperature on the fly — produces up to 50 percent more light.

Practically Magic isn’t the only Apple campaign that’s honed in on the iPhone’s photo-taking prowess. Just last week, the company launched a tip-packed website aimed at budding iPhone photographers. And Apple’s recent Shot on iPhone series put a spotlight on low-light shots from professional photographers.

Apple has reason to gloat. In September 2016, camera authority DxOMark called the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7s’s cameras “Apple’s best yet,” praising their brighter f/1.8 lenses (compared to the f/2.2 of the 6S and 6S Plus), “vivid and pleasant” color capture, and “good stabilization.”

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