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Microsoft's new iPhone camera app has some weird tricks for the Snapchat generation

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Microsoft Spinkles
Tom Warren / The Verge

Microsoft released its own Selfie app for the iPhone more than a year ago, and now it’s experimenting with another iOS camera app. Sprinkles, released curiously on April Fools’ Day and spotted by TechCrunch, is the latest experimental app from Microsoft. It’s exclusively available on the iOS App Store, and it’s designed to automatically add stickers, emoji, or captions to photographs.

I’ve tested the app out briefly, and at 33 years of age it’s definitely not designed for me, but it has some interesting features powering it. Microsoft is using its machine learning to generate captions, and match your age or celebrity lookalikes as suggested “filters” for a photo. Microsoft has obviously tried to guess people’s age before, but this time it’s integrating this machine learning directly into a camera app for the iPhone.

Sprinkles will suggest captions or stickers based on the day when a photo was taken and whereabouts it was taken. I tried one this morning and it captioned it with a joke about Tuesday. There are a number of suggestions generated in the app and you just swipe, like Snapchat filters, to enable them, or you can add your custom text and emojis. Overall, it really feels like an app for teens and designed to tap into a generation that's used to rapidly sharing images through services like Snapchat.

Microsoft has tried this type of app before with Selfie and even Pix, and it’s clear the company is just testing out its machine learning tools to better gather data and improve them. If you’re interested in trying out Sprinkles then it’s available free of charge in Apple’s App Store.