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Apple To Drop JPEG Format For HEIF Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 June 2017

At today's World Wide Developers Conference Apple announced it would use a new still image format with the release of iOS 11 this fall. High Efficiency Image File Format or HEIF reduces the file size of every photo taken with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi claimed.

Like the JPEG standard which it will replace, HEIF is a file format optimized for still images but it also covers sequences of images that include timed text and audio like Apple's Live Photos. It was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group and defined by MPEG-H Part 12 which specifies storing the format using High Efficiency Video Codec encoding.

For stills, the format defines a 4K JPEG thumbnail for screen display accompanying the full resolution HEIF image. Rotating the image and cropping require no re-encoding of the image unlike JPEG images which must be re-encoded when cropped, although lossless rotation is available.

Like DNG Raw files, HEIF specifies a non-destructive editing framework that applications can use to store edits in the same file as the original image.

Both lossy and lossless compression are supported by the format.

Nokia has developed an open-source JavaScript implementation of the HEIF file format reader to speed acceptance of the format and its use on the Web.

Nokia has also published a Technical Information page on the format with comparisons to other image file formats. Its compression table shows "JPEG would require on average 139 percent higher bitrate than HEVC (i.e. 2.39 times the file size) in order to achieve the same objective picture quality." Apple said it would reduce photo size by half.

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