December 13
Ben Lovejoy
– Dec. 13th 2022 5:40 am PT

With Lensa AI taking the top slot in the App Store charts, thanks to the viral appeal of its “magic avatars,” brace yourself for a deluge of AI photo apps – both real and fake.
AI and machine-learning have so far been buzzwords that developers love to include, whether or not their apps really use it – but the open-source Stable Diffusion deep learning tool is currently blowing minds, and Lensa AI is using it to turn selfies into impressive avatars …

Stable Diffusion is an incredibly sophisticated image-generation tool whose most impressive feature is the ability to turn text prompts into photo-realistic images, but it can also work with existing photos.
What’s blowing minds is the incredible speed with which the tech has evolved from laughable novelty to images like professional renders, if not actual photos.
A friend of mine recently demonstrated this, asking versions 1-4 of Midjourney to show images of a “Ferrari SUV.” Here’s version 1, from July of this year:
Now here’s version 4, less than six months later:
Lensa AI is an iOS app that can do all the usual automated photo retouching, but recently applied Stable Diffusion code to creating avatars from selfies.
TechCrunch notes that the popularity of the (chargeable) feature is resulting in keyword spamming by rival apps.
Consumer demand for the app, and for AI edits more broadly, has now pushed numerous other “AI” apps into the U.S. App Store’s Top Charts. As of Monday, the top three spots on the U.S. App Store are all held by AI photo editors, and even more AI art apps are newly ranking in the Top 100.
The No. 1 spot on the U.S. App Store, however, continues to be held by Lensa AI, which saw 12.6 million global installs in the first 11 days of December, up 600% from the 1.8 million installs it saw during a similar time frame in November (November 20 through November 30), according to new data from App Store intelligence firm Sensor Tower. The U.S. accounted for 3.6 million of those new December installs, estimates indicate.
In fact, 8 out of the top 100 apps by downloads on the U.S. App Store were AI art apps during the December 1 through December 11 time frame, the firm’s analysis found.
While it would be great to see more iOS apps taking advantage of Stable Diffusion, we can expect to see a whole lot more keyword spamming of decidedly unimpressive apps.
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Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!
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