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Future iPhones could have a multiple camera system for improved zoom photography

Future iPhones could have a multiple camera system for improved zoom photography. Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11927874 B2) for a “Mobile Camera System.”

About the patent

The patent relates generally to camera module components and more specifically to the use of multiple cameras for zoom functions in mobile devices.In the patent Apple notes that, as users rely on multifunction devices such as smartphones as their primary cameras for day-to-day use, users demand features, such as zoom photography, that they have become accustomed to using in dedicated-purpose camera bodies. 

The zoom function is useful for capturing the details of a scene or alternatively capturing the context in which those details exist. The ability to change focal length to achieve zoom effects is sufficiently compelling to users of dedicated purpose cameras that it compels them to carry bags with an array of removable lenses, each of which weighs more and takes up more space than many common examples of a multifunction device, such as a phone.

However, providing the zoom feature in a camera unit of a multifunction device has traditionally required moving mechanical parts that increase complexity and cost of the device. Such moving parts also reduce reliability of the device and take up valuable space inside the device, which puts the desire for zoom functions in direct conflict with the desire for smaller camera units that take up less space in the multifunction device. Apple thinks it can do better.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “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.”

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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