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Apple's next iPhone may feature a triple-sensor, prism-based light-splitting camera

By Shawn Knight
Mar 25, 2015
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  1. apple patents light-splitting iphone camera sensor system

    Apple may have come up with yet another camera technology that could allow the company to continue to avoid the megapixel race.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the Cupertino-based company a patent for a three-sensor prism-based camera design. The patent describes a “digital camera with light splitter” in which an individual sensor would be tasked with collecting red, green and blue (or presumably any other color set) wavelengths.

    As TechCrunch highlights, this would eliminate the need for special filters or algorithms to split the data. The resulting image would be of higher resolution and quality, something that Apple strives for with each new iPhone release.

    The publication points out that this method would be much more expensive to implement versus the current camera system (perhaps it may be reserved for the premium Plus model?). What’s more, the components would likely take up more space and we know how Apple feels about pumping out thin devices.

    The patent adds a bit of credibility to John Gruber’s account of the camera system in the next iPhone.

    Late last year, Gruber said he heard that the next smartphone from Apple may feature the biggest camera jump ever. Although details were lacking, Gruber noted that it’ll use a two-lens system to capture DSLR-quality imagery.

    If Apple is indeed able to substantially boost image quality, it would no doubt help the iPhone maintain its status as the world’s most popular camera. As always, keep in mind that a patent application doesn't guarantee that a feature will show up in a future product.

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  2. So basically they're putting '50s video camera technology in an iPhone. Why not!
     
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,555   +2,899

    Since the iPhone is already sold at a premium, how much more of a premium would it cost to get one labeled "Premium"?
     
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,505   +2,055

    It looks like they'll get the camera nailed but when are they going to nail the phone itself? It's still just an overpriced gadget.
     
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,555   +2,361

    Retro premium.
     
  6. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 910   +388

    When are these companies going to get it? It's not the NUMBER of sensors, or the gizmos they stick inside these things. It's the SIZE OF EACH sensor. Look at the size of pretty much any phone camera, then compare it to even just an APS-C size sensor and you can figure it out. The larger the sensor, the better the ability to capture better light. The size of the back of most phone cameras, there is a lot of wasted space on the back. Bigger sensor, better glass equals better photos.
     
  7. You are correct. But the sensors Apple uses (which come from Sony) do have larger pixels, 1.5 μm compared to 1.12 or 1.2 μm on other phone cameras, and people keep laughing because it's "just 8 MP". Also, HTC has used fewer larger (2.0 μm) pixels, and yet we hear nothing but "lol look at that camera, 4 MP, it's so bad because more megapixels means better cameras". And now HTC caved and moved to a mediocre 20 MP camera.
    You can't blame the companies when customer ignorance drives the market and companies are forced to conform.
     
  8. "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the Cupertino-based company a patent for a three-sensor prism-based camera design. The patent describes a “digital camera with light splitter” in which an individual sensor would be tasked with collecting red, green and blue (or presumably any other color set) wavelengths."

    No this isn't for the new iWhatever - it's just a way for Apple to sue all those manufacturers that have been using this technique for countless years.
     

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