Patent suggests Apple planning to bring Optical Image Stabilization to iPhone camera

iphone ois

The iPhone camera includes image stabilisation that takes photos in quick succession and combines the images so as to minimise motion. But this solution is software-based, and Apple soon plans on moving away from this approach to optical image stabilisation (OIS) as detailed in a new patent application.

The patent application is for a “voice coil motor” optical image stabilisation lens module that moves the lens to compensate for external motion:

An embodiment of the invention is an actuator module suitable for use in a camera, more specifically, a miniature camera. The actuator module may include a mechanism to provide an AF [autofocus] function and a mechanism to provide an OIS function.

The combination of the AF mechanism and OIS mechanism within a single actuator module allows the actuator module to modify the position of the lens relative to the image sensor along five different axes (i.e., 5 degrees of freedom (DOF)). Representatively, the lens may be shifted or translated along at least three different axes and rotated about at least two different axes.

Optical image stabilisation is already used in a number of dedicated cameras, and even in a few smartphones and this patent suggests that the iPhone, too, will support OIS in the future. This is supported by a recent report that claims the iPhone 6 will have the same 8MP camera resolution as the current iPhone, but will come with improved image stabilisation.

Would you be disappointed if iPhone 6 comes with an 8-megapixel camera or is OIS enough to make up for a bump in the megapixel count?

[USPTO via MacRumors]

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