Unlike DSLR cameras and some digital cameras with multi autofocus points, our smartphones usually come with a single autofocus point that we tap on the screen in order to focus at that particular area. Interestingly it seems that Apple has thought about that a recently discovered patent filed by the Cupertino company has revealed that Apple could be interested in upgrading the cameras in future iOS devices that will bring about multi autofocus points that the users can then tap in order to select.
“A camera includes a lens arranged to focus an image on an image sensor and a touch sensitive visual display for freely selecting two or more regions of interest on a live preview image by touch input. An image processor is coupled to the image sensor and the touch sensitive visual display. The image processor displays the live preview image according to the image focused on the image sensor by the lens. The image processor further receives the selection the regions of interest and controls acquisition of the image from the image sensor based on the characteristics of the image in regions that correspond to at least two of the regions of interest on the live preview image. The image processor may optimize sharpness and/or exposure of the image in at least two of the regions of interest. The image processor may track movement of the selected regions of interest.”
The size of the autofocus can also be adjusted with the user pinching the screen. Other features described in the patent includes motion tracking for focus and automatic sharpening of some areas. Unfortunately it seems that all of this would require a good deal of computing power and the patent has also suggested that in order to achieve all these features, the iOS device would require a separate and dedicated processor that will be used to process the data and to control the camera’s operation. Will we be seeing this camera make its way into the next iOS device? Given that this is merely a patent for now, it’s hard to say if Apple will turn it into an actual product or if it’s just one of the many ideas that Apple and their employees have churned out to date.