Apple's building a camera: The good news is, you already own it

Apple's pared-down camera app is about to get much more intense, thanks to some major changes coming with iOS 8.

Those who have been long-time iPhone users might remember when Apple's camera app was even more simple to use than it is today. There were only options for switching to HDR, front-facing mode, and video recording. You could also access an AE/AF lock. But that's it. Apple has of course expanded the app's functionality little by little over the years, though it appears the company is planning to bust the doors wide open this autumn.

Apple's WWDC 2014 keynote earlier this month briefly mentioned that iOS 8 would bring manual camera controls, and according to tech website AnandTech, that means the camera app will gain every manual control you can imagine. You will be able to change settings like ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance, and exposure. The days of auto-everything will soon be a thing of the past.

But that's not all: Apple has also added a gray card feature that'll circumvent auto white balance as well as EV and shutter speed/ISO bracketing. AnandTech said it's possible the stock camera app would offer different formats such as low-light mode or long-exposure photography, and that third-party camera apps would have access to the same features. Developers could even customise their own apps' auto-exposure algorithms, etc.

As the successor to iOS 7, iOS 8 will be the eighth major release of Apple's mobile operating system. Apple announced iOS 8 in June and should release it alongside the next-generation iPhone in autumn. Operating system updates were free to iPhone and iPad owners during past years, though older devices don't always get every latest feature. Your current iPhone therefore might get the camera upgrades in iOS 8.