The 46 newly acquired patents hint at the things Apple might have in store for us in the future. Knowing how fast this company implements its technologies, however, it’s not a certainty that the next iPhone will sport 3D photography.
The patent portfolio of the Cupertino company just got bigger, but the sad news is that Apple does not always use the technologies it patents. In some cases, it just patents some concepts just to make sure that other manufacturers don’t implement them in their products. This news comes just a couple of days after Apple obtained a patent for the three year-old design of its iTime smartwatch. Come to think of it, they might have made the right choice by naming their smartwatch so, as Swatch was ready to sue them, had they picked iWatch instead. Back to Apple’s 3D photography patents, though, the company intends to implement that technology using a single camera.
How’s that important? In the past, both smartphone (HTC) and standalone camera (Fujifilm) manufacturers played with the idea of 3D photography, but their approach implied using two stereoscopic cameras. The results weren’t always satisfying, fact that prompted Apple to look for an alternative. iPhone’s 3D camera, assuming we’ll get to see one in the next iteration of Apple’s smartphone, will shoot in 3D by shifting the perspective while capturing the image. Not exactly a mind-blowing concept, but it should get the job done, assuming the patented technology is implemented correctly.
The company has been fooling around with this concept in the past, as it submitted patents for 3D goggles and glasses-free 3D displays (two things that mutually exclude each other, if you ask me). The concept behind Apple’s perspective shifting camera is terribly simple and easy to implement, so the company should really get to it if it really means to differentiate somehow from such competitors as Google and Amazon. The Project Tango and the Fire smartphones each tackle 3D in a completely different manner, and ultimately serve different purposes. iPhone users could have a chance for once to have a somehow original feature in their overpriced smartphones. It remains to be seen what Apple plans to do with its newly acquired patents.
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