Developers behind iOS camera app Halide say that they are planning to ship a version of the app that enables Portrait Mode on iPhone XR for "all sorts of things," and not just people (via Reddit). Because the iPhone XR has a single-lens rear camera (and not a dual-lens like iPhone XS), the cheaper smartphone doesn't capture as much depth information and the Portrait Mode bokeh effect in Apple's own Camera app only works on people.
We think with some more tooling, we'll be able to ship a version of our app that enables portrait mode for all sorts of things. It seems it'll be a bit more 'temperamental'; in some settings it won't work if there's not enough variance in relative distance of objects, but a can of soda water on my desk worked just fine.
Still, as Halide's Reddit post explains, this means that third-party camera apps on the iOS App Store will be able to provide users with a form of Portrait Mode on iPhone XR that enables bokeh effects around more than just people. Halide mentions that the iPhone XR's depth map is "way lower resolution" than the dual cameras on the iPhone XS, "but it seems usable."
iPhone XR launched a few days ago on October 26 and was met with positive reviews from the media, which praised its LCD display, bright colors, and iPhone XS-level performance. Thanks to the smartphone's lower price tag in comparison to the iPhone XS and XS Max, most outlets agreed that the iPhone XR will be the smartphone that most people will want to choose when looking at the new 2018 lineup of iPhones.
Update 12:00 p.m. PT: Halide has submitted version 1.11 to the iOS App Store, which unlocks the ability to take photos with Portrait Mode effects on pets and objects using iPhone XR. Now that it's been submitted, Halide says the update will be out soon, once it passes App Store review. More information can be found in the company's blog post.