We’ve already talked about what Apple might be getting up to for the camera in their upcoming tenth generation iPhone. But, as is usually the case with any research and development, Apple is already at work patenting unique tech to put in even later generation iPhones.
One of the most recent patents to come to light is the schematics for a spherically curved sensor. While curved sensors aren’t exactly new, it’s the spherical design that sets it apart from other curved sensors we’ve seen in the past.
U.S. Patent No. 9,244,253 describes a smartphone camera module that uses a spherically concave sensor in conjunction with specially-designed optical elements to reduce the size of the overall camera module without compromising on image quality—something Jonathan Ive and the rest of the Apple design team would love to work with considering the camera bulge current iPhones are sporting.
By sandwiching alternating concave and convex optical elements for the lenses, Apple would be able to project the image plane on the spherically curved imaging sensor. There would inevitably be a fair amount of barrel distortion in the resulting images. But Apple has also taken that into consideration, explaining how those corrections could be automatically made via software.
Apple has long relied on Sony for its camera components, but they’ve never been one to shy away from taking things into their own hands; especially when it means taking profits out of competitor’s hands. Interestingly enough, Apple’s patent references a patent from both Sony and Samsung.
[via Apple Insider]