Apple patent app details a new dual-camera zoom lens system for rumored iPhone 7 feature

Apple dual-camera patent

It’s not a secret that Apple has a lot of patent applications out there, ranging in ideas, but it looks like dual-camera systems is one area that Apple’s putting some real attention.

Back in June, we once again heard that Apple was exploring dual-camera sensors for upcoming devices. And, then again, later in 2015 another report surfaced that Apple could implement some form of dual-camera system in the iPhone 7 for its rear shooters. Here we are again, just days into 2016, and now another patent app has surfaced that outlines what Apple could be planing for its future devices.

As originally surfaced by Patently Apple, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published the patent app just recently, and outlines how that idea could be developed with optical zoom. Apple has a plan to utilize two separate camera modules behind a lens, to create a single lens that utilizes a telephoto and standard section that would allow users to choose a focal length at will. On the surface, this means that users would be able to take a zoomed-in photo without sacrificing overall quality.

Of course, it goes beyond this. With the dual-camera system, Apple could make it possible for users to take a photo and record video at the same time. That’s not impressive on its own, considering this has been possible since the iPhone 5, but anyone who has tried this knows that the still image is taken at a much lower resolution than the video being recorded. This wouldn’t be an issue with this setup, though, as both cameras would be utilized to take the maximum-level resolution photo and video, separately.

Apple then articulates how iMovie could be used to naturally and automatically blend the stills and captured video into one:

“[Imagine] capturing a child extinguishing candles on a birthday cake […] In some embodiments, second camera module 3084 can be used as a telephoto camera module to zoom in on the face of the child as she is about to blow out the candles and first camera module 3082 can capture a burst of high resolution still images of her smiling face. In some embodiments, first camera module 3082 is simultaneously capturing standard 1080p 30 frames per second video of the entire group of kids gathered and singing around the cake […] As the two camera modules are synchronized in time, the still images can easily be automatically inserted at the right time in a final video stream.”

The editing goes further, with Apple suggesting the camera system could be used to take a 4K video, a 1080p video, a slo-mo video, and stills — all of which could be easily combined at a later date. This could allow the iPhone user to record a standard video of a wide area, and then use the secondary camera to zoom in on something they wish to get more attention on, and even take a slo-mo video at the same time.

It could also mean something as simple as changing the focal location on a photo after it has been taken, a feature that’s been present in other smartphones from other manufacturers, namely HTC.

What do you think of the idea? Is this something you’d like to see in future iPhones?

[via Patently Apple]

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