Apple “Pinch To Zoom” Can’t Add Things That Aren’t There

As you can’t add anything that isn’t already there, neither can you pinch to zoom.

This week’s news has been confusing about the precise purpose of Apple’s “pinch and zoom” gesture.

According to some, zooming in upon an image can be used by AI to manipulate pictures and add items that aren’t part of the original. All in the name of a dark corporate purpose, which Tim Cook is privy to.

For a moment, let’s take a step back from the Black Mirror elements. Let’s talk about the actual tech at play and what it can achieve.

The answer is shockingly dull.

You can pinch to zoom

Steve Jobs unveiled the ubiquitous communications platform we all love today, the iPhone, in 2007. He started to demonstrate multi-finger gestures, which you can use on your iPhone. His fingers were moved in the pinch to zoom motion. He then boasted about patenting the gesture.

The gesture was closely associated with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung years later. A jury sided with Apple in a lawsuit against Samsung for including the motion within their mobile software.

The gesture is now the equivalent of Kleenex, almost 15 years after its inception. It’s not just an Apple thing anymore.

What does “Pinch to Zoom” do?

Pinch to Zoom is a gesture that you use your fingers to manipulate a touchscreen. This is not a pinch but a reverse pinch. To make it even more mystify, you could call it “pinch out for zoom in and pinch out for zoom out.”

You can move your fingers apart in videos, photos, apps, web pages, and videos to enlarge the image. While you used to be able to move beyond a zoom to see the details of the screen, now you can only see the pixels. You will most likely need photo editing software to get that zoom.

Can Apple’s pinch to zoom add things?

No. absolutely no. Anyone saying anything else is lying or trying to confuse anyone who doesn’t understand the workings of their phones.

It is possible to zoom in on portrayal and enhance them. However, you can’t pinch to zoom in on an Apple device. This digital manipulation exists, but it isn’t on your iPhone.

Adobe Photoshop is a photo editing program that uses resampling. This allows the program to fill in similar pixel-level details as what is already there so you can crop even small sections of large photos and still keep them sharp and clear. However, this is intentional manipulation. The software will open the image and allow you to choose from several options. You can also see that nothing is happening without your conscious awareness.

Google has implemented an AI-enhanced pinch to zoom. The photo is broken down and then put back together at a higher resolution at the zoom level that you are looking at. It’s similar to the Star Trek Transporter. It’s the closest thing to what has been discussed, but it’s not available yet on consumer-level devices.

Both of these actions do not change the essence of the image. It is not going to make someone point a gun more dangerous. It will not erase weapons held by others. This level of digital manipulation can only be achieved if there is clear intention by a human to make those changes and save them to a file.

Can We Trust What We See When We Zoom?

Everybody seems to be searching for a conspiracy theory these days. A corporation has made its social policy very clear and is now running an AI that manipulates devices to benefit the majority. This sounds super entertaining.

However, life isn’t like a sci-fi serial. Apple has enough problems with basics, like making sure that its Music app doesn’t endanger the phone’s battery life. They aren’t able to maintain an AI that can manipulate all images for its purposes.

Get your iPhone/iPad and zoom in! You will be happy that you saw what you got.

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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