Apple was granted a patent this week that, according to CNET, indicates a camera update or at least some new features for the iPhone 8. The patent — originally published in December — covers optimizing capture of focus stacks.
New Apple patent for iPhone 8 camera
Focus stacking would allow some neat capabilities, including depth-map creation for AR applications, improvement to the current faux bokeh mode on the iPhone 7 Plus, the ability to create pictures with infinite depth of field aka without bokeh, sharp focus throughout the image, and the ability to choose the focus area in photos after the fact, notes CNET.
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In-camera focus works similarly to HDR in a form of computational photography, in which a camera shoots many photos quickly and combines them to produce the desired effect. For focus stacking, the camera takes pictures while iterating through focus areas at successive distances. Next, it combines the stack of photos by using the sharpest pixel from each photo to produce a fully sharp image. If the camera has all that picture data, it can do a lot with it.
For example, it will allow you to select a focus area you like and merge it to preserve only that focal plane, giving you an ability to choose the focus after snapping the shot. The camera can also use the focus-distance-to-subject from each shot to produce a depth map of the scene so that an augmented reality app can incorporate distance to put objects, notes CNET.
“In order to perform focus stacking, you have to be able to refocus the lens quickly, accurately and in controllable steps, which usually requires new hardware — like a new camera module — and definitely new software,” says CNET.
iPhone 8 could cost over $1,000
Apple is expected to debut an ultra high-end version of the iPhone with its next scheduled update to mark 10 years of glass and metal slabs. The Cupertino-based company will likely deploy three new phones this year, the incremental iPhone 7s in 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch sizes and a slightly larger, even more expensive 5.8-inch iPhone 8 with a few new features and an edge-less OLED display, according to Fast Company.
Apple may even call the new flagship model the iPhone X to really play up the anniversary bit. The price of the iPhone is expected to shoot past the $1,000 mark. However, the most interesting rumor about the next-gen iPhone is Apple’s partnership with Lumentum. The tech giant may be planning to incorporate Lumentum’s 3D-sensing technology into its flagship phone in some way, according to Fast Company.