The iPhone 6 could use optical image stabilisation (OIS) to create super-resolution images.
This new information has been discovered within a patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office today with the title “Super-resolution based on optical image stabilisation”.
Apple has been testing out ways to utilise existing OIS technology to create better quality pictures without having to ramp up the megapixel count for its next flagship.
The documents suggest a new super-resolution imaging engine would use OIS to capture multiple image samples that are then combined to create a high-density end photograph.
This is basically an enhanced form of the HDR mode already found on smartphones like the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, which merges multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR) or standard-dynamic-range (SDR) photos into one with better colour representation.
The super-resolution photos would be made by the OIS system taking a selection of photographs in rapid succession, but each at a slightly different angle. These would then be fed through the image processing engine to create a super-resolution image from the merged shots.
Usually OIS systems are used to combat movement from shaking hands, but Apple is using it to create what it calls “super-resolution” images for the iPhone 6.
In one embodiment of the iPhone 6 system outlined in the published patent, the phone could use a camera, actuator for OIS positioning, positioning sensor, inertial sensor, an OIS processor and an image processing engine to create the super-resolution images.
All these components would be tied together by the iPhone 6’s processor, rumoured to be the new Apple A8 processor, building on the A7 chip introduced by the iPhone 5S.
It’s not definite that the iPhone 6 will pack this technology, especially as OIS hardware would bulk out the phone a bit and rumours so far suggest it will feature an ultra-slim 6mm body.
However, Apple must have been working on the technology a while, especially as the diagram shown above is more akin to the iOS 6 camera app layout than the new iOS 7 presentation.
If Apple does though, it will tackle the smartphone camera specs from a totally different angle to its competitors. The HTC One M8 focused on a dual sensor rear UltraPixel camera for bokeh effects, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 stressed its super quick auto focus time.
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