Apple Patented a Dual-Camera Design; Awesomeness Could Ensue

Jan 12, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Apple Patented a Dual-Camera Design; Awesomeness Could Ensue

Jan 12, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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Illustration of a dual-camera iPhone
Illustration of a dual-camera iPhone

Back in April Apple acquired Israeli-startup LinX, specializing in computational imaging, and it seems the giant from Cupertino might be putting the new technology to good use – at least in its patents.

A recent patent application describes a mobile camera system with multiple cameras, and its applications could be truly remarkable.

The application was filed four days ago and refers to iPhones as well as iPads, both of which could soon boast a wide angle lens as well as another lens with a longer focal length.

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As DPReview mentions, this setup along with some of Apple’s software could work wonders, including what the application refers to as an optical zoom. Should this come to be, it should easily blow any current smartphone digital zoom out of the water.

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Other potential benefits, as we reported with the LinX acquisition, could include the ability to create 3D images, vastly improve image quality and allow high quality frame-in-frame recording. Another application could see one lens dedicated to video while the other simultaneously captures stills, for example.

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As we recently discovered, Apple has 800 people working on the iPhone’s camera module alone, so there’s no question it is capable of creating something awesome with this technology. The only question is if it will choose to lead the market or wait for other companies to test the waters.

Below is the abstract of the patent application:

“Some embodiments include methods and/or systems for using multiple cameras to provide optical zoom to a user. Some embodiments include a first camera unit of a multifunction device capturing a first image of a first visual field. A second camera unit of the multifunction device simultaneously captures a second image of a second visual field. In some embodiments, the first camera unit includes a first optical package with a first focal length. In some embodiments, the second camera unit includes a second optical package with a second focal length. In some embodiments, the first focal length is different from the second focal length, and the first visual field is a subset of the second visual field. In some embodiments, the first image and the second image are preserved to a storage medium as separate data structures.”

The full application can be reviewed on the US Patent & Trademark Office’s website.

[via DPReview]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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6 responses to “Apple Patented a Dual-Camera Design; Awesomeness Could Ensue”

  1. Ignasi Jacob Avatar
    Ignasi Jacob

    #pareidolia

  2. Hector Macias Avatar
    Hector Macias

    3d. 3d snapchat. 3d snapchat payness’s

  3. Manuel Clavel Avatar
    Manuel Clavel

    So what the Nintendo 3DS already had 6 years ago?
    https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4154/5035547705_1a48d8a671_o.jpg

  4. Jeffrey Carvalho Avatar
    Jeffrey Carvalho

    No just give me a bigger/better sensor. That is all!

  5. Renato Murakami Avatar
    Renato Murakami

    Sit down before I break the news, but here:

    http://www.androidcentral.com/huaweis-honor-6-plus-comes-dual-rear-8mp-cameras

    http://pocketnow.com/2015/10/02/dual-camera-samsung-phones

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/htc-one-m8-review-duo-camera-page-6

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/apple-samsung-dual-camera-tech/

    http://www.androidcentral.com/google-and-lenovo-team-first-consumer-project-tango-smartphone

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Phone

    A patent is nothing to be excited about.
    Sure, I also hope that Apple is able to come up with good uses out of the concept, but the thing is, the whole idea of using more than one camera on smartphones to achieve certain results has been around for a while.

    Apple is already late for the release, waters have been tested. What comes next is development of software that makes good use of the hardware itself.

    The advantage Apple has though is standardization. Different brands of Android phones and tablets are using different configurations (2 lower res cameras, one high res and one low res, multiple low res cameras, etc etc) to achieve different results. The entire concept could use a unified idea to push the concept forwards – something Apple could achieve.