New Apple patent lends credence to OIS in the iPhone 6 camera
Recently, we heard a new rumor that rather than boosting the megapixel count on the next version of the iPhone, Apple was looking to improve the camera in other ways. The only real mention of how Apple would be attempting to improve the camera was with optical image stabilization (OIS). OIS is becoming more and more the standard on smartphone cameras, and a new patent application makes it look like Apple is working on the feature.
Unlike many of the patents that we see, which are granted too close to a device's release to reasonably expect it in that device, this patent has a very good shot of becoming reality. It is very likely that Apple wants to add OIS to the next iPhone camera; Apple hates to pay patent licensing fees; and, the next iPhone won't even be hitting mass production for about another 6 months or so.
Apple first filed the patent back in 2012, and has likely been waiting on its approval before moving forward with OIS capabilities in the iPhone, which might explain why the 5s didn't have the feature. There are obviously other patents out there which cover optical image stabilization, so we're assuming that the USPTO found something unique in Apple's patent (perhaps the use of a coil and magnet system to move the lens with three degrees of freedom). Or, the USPTO may simply be pushing patents through without checking too much. It's always hard to say with the USPTO.