(iPhone 5 (black, camera closeup 001)

As the tech community continues to dig through the iOS 7 betas, a new feature has been discovered. Apple’s next-generation mobile operating system contains new APIs that allow developers to detect blinking and smiling in photos.

Now, iOS has had basic facial recognition for a couple of years now (since version 5). But according to a new report, Apple has added new image detectors in iOS 7 that are capable of identifying certain facial expressions in photographs…

Benjamin Mayo of 9to5Mac has the scoop:

“iOS 7 adds several new camera-orientated features for developers, which may hint at future consumer-facing features. In iOS 7 beta 2, Apple has added new image detectors that find certain face expressions in photos. As of iOS 5, the APIs have provided basic face recognition, but in iOS 7, characteristics such as blinking and smiles can be individually distinguished.”

Mayo goes on to speculate that because the stock Camera app received face detection when Apple added the function in iOS 5, these new APIs that allow for the recognition of individual expressions could be an indication of things to come.

api ios 7

Apple has done a lot to improve the iPhone’s camera over the years, adding a Panorama mode and improving low-light quality. It’s obviously an area of great interest for the company, as it frequently touts its ranking as the #1 camera on Flickr.

And it looks like it’s going to continue to build on it with the iPhone 5S. Recent reports, as well as components leaks, suggest that Apple’s next-generation handset will feature an improved camera with a dual LED flash and 12 megapixel sensor.

Call me crazy, but if you combine that kind of hardware with these new APIs, you get one heck of a camera. Here’s hoping the rumors materialize this fall when Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone, alongside the public version of iOS 7.