Just like the majority of smartphones out there, the iPhone has a camera shortcut which users can access even when their phone is locked. However it does require that the phone’s display be turned on first. This isn’t a big deal but in crucial moments, this added “delay” could result in photos or videos missing critical context.

This might be an exaggeration but isn’t faster better? That’s what Apple seems to be exploring in a patent that was recently discovered. This patent describes how an iPhone could launch the camera app automatically when the phone is picked up and held in a way that suggests that you might want to take a photo or video.

The patent description reads in part, “Apparatus and method for automatically activating a camera application based on detecting an intent to capture a photograph or a video.” We’re not sure what kind of position will determine your intent at taking a photo since sometimes photos are taken in portrait orientation, while sometimes it is taken in landscape orientation.

However the patent also describes a potential use of a proximity sensor on the back of the phone which could be used to detect if there is a subject in the frame. That being said, we imagine that this could get annoying as sometimes you don’t want to take a photo but the camera app launches anyway, but the good news is that since this is a patent, it’s not a guarantee that it could make it into future iPhones or iOS builds.

Filed in Apple >Cellphones. Read more about iOS, iPhone and Patent.

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