Apple has plans for letting you remotely control the cameras in certain iOS devices. A patent (number 20110058052) for systems and methods for remote camera control has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Per the patent, a camera capable of capturing still images and video and included in a portable media device can be controlled remotely using an accessory. The accessory can register with the PMD to automatically receive notifications whenever there is a change in the camera state. The camera states can include mode, operation status, and configuration settings. The accessory can send instructions to a camera application that interfaces with the camera to control the camera.
The accessory can remotely activate the camera, change camera mode, and send instructions to operate the camera. The accessory and the PMD can concurrently control the camera. The PMD can send the captured still images and recorded video to the accessory for preview and receive instructions from the accessory on disposition of the still images and the video. The inventors are Lawrence G. Bolton, Sylvain R. Y. Louboutin, Shailesh Rathi, David J. Rempel and Peter T. Langenfeld.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A portable media device can store a variety of digital information such as audio tracks, video tracks, photos, and other information. Examples of portable media devices are the iPod and the iPhone portable media devices, which are available from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.
"A portable media device can include one or more connectors or ports that can be used to interface with other devices. For example, the connector or port can enable the portable media device to couple to a host computer, be inserted into a docking system, or receive an accessory device. In the case of the iPod, e.g., a vast array of accessory devices have been developed that can interconnect to the portable media device.
"In some instances, a portable media device can have the capability of taking still photos and recording video. For example, a portable media device may include a camera and an associated camera application to control the camera. The camera application can be used to control various aspects of the camera including taking still photographs and recording video.
"In addition to taking pictures and recording video with the camera, an accessory can be used to communicate with the portable media device to control the camera remotely to take pictures and record video.
"Certain embodiments of the present invention relate to remotely controlling a camera included in a portable media device. A portable media device can have ability to take still photos or record video. In some embodiments, an accessory can control the camera by communicating with the portable media device using a plurality of commands. In an embodiment, the portable media device can have a camera application program resident on the portable media device that can communicate with the camera in order to operate the camera.
"In some embodiments, the accessory can register with the portable media device to receive notifications regarding camera state changes. The camera state change notifications can be automatically sent to the accessory upon registration. In an embodiment, the camera state change notifications can be sent asynchronously to the accessory whenever there is a change in the camera state. In some embodiments, the accessory can remotely change the camera mode and remotely operate the camera including activating the camera application. In some embodiments, the camera can be concurrently controlled from the accessory and from the portable media device.
"In some embodiments, the portable media device can send the captured still image or the recorded video to the accessory for preview. In some embodiments, the accessory can send instructions to the portable media device about the disposition of the still image or the video. In other embodiments, the accessory can access the still images and videos stored in the portable media device remotely and send instructions to the portable media device for playback of the still images, e.g., slide show, and videos."
-- Dennis Sellers