Apple is working on a single-lens iPhone camera with the ability to imitate dual-lens features, according to a new patent filing emanating from Cupertino.
The patent, which goes by the name of “Image sensing with in-pixel depth sensing”, explains how a solitary sensor could be used to mimic multiple different modes.
If that sounds familiar, the approach mirrors what Google has achieved with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.
The most recent filing from Apple centres on the notion that two asymmetrical pixels can be used to form photo detectors, allowing the single-lens system to adopt different shooting modes.
Related: iPhone 9
Apple says this would make it less problematic for a single-lens camera to sense depth and could mean a version of Apple’s Portrait Mode could be included on a single lens phone. As well as that all important bokeh effect, it could also benefit the HDR mode.
In its patent, Apple points out this tech could be used in both the rear-facing and front-facing cameras.
It could be that the firm is plotting to improve the selfie camera on future iPhone models. It could also mean Apple is looking to mimic some of the advanced photography features of handsets like the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X on more affordable handsets. A single high-achieving sensor on an iPhone SE 2 for example, would certainly keep the costs down.
If we were going to bet on it, we’d say this might be an innovation designed for the selfie-camera, but that’s just speculation on our part.
As DigitalTrends points out, the patent is a continuation of other filings which date all the way back to 2013. Will this work culminate with the iPhone 9 camera? We’ll likely find out in September.
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