Apple granted patent for a breakthrough camera invention – future iPhones may have zoom lens, more efficient OIS

Apple hasn't been neglecting the camera in its iPhones, making it noticeably better with each next iteration of its flagship. The snapper of the iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus, which is a bit better at photography, is among the top performers in the field, though, bested by Samsung's Note 4 (and we are expecting great things from the Galaxy S6). However, Cupertino will not be giving up on the race, it seems, as it has applied for, and has been granted, a patent on a new type of tech that will allow for zoom lens to be sticked into the small body of a smartphone, and could possibly employ an innovative take on optical image stabilization (OIS).

In order to achieve this, Apple's engineers came up with an L-shaped camera module – the sensor does not face directly outwards, as it does in today's smartphones, rather – the light first enters a pyramid-like polyhedron glass piece, which has a reflecting surface at its very bottom. This component will be redirecting the light down the tube of the L-shape where it will be met by the zoom lens. Finally, a light splitter behind the lens will split the incident light from the shot scene into three colors, which will then be picked up by three separate sensors – one for each color.

As for OIS – Apple has noted that the reflector behind the polyhedron could be a folding mirror, which would mean that the reflector itself could be moved around in order to make up for camera shakes, instead of the sensor.

When would we see this tech? It's still too early to say, but if we had to wager, we'd say – not on 2015's iPhones, for sure.

source: PatentlyApple via GSMDome



1. iCameToBashYou

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

I can't even get through the first paragraph. Nice writing skillz.

5. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I try not to criticize but you are absolutely correct.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17387; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

A lot of the writers here aren't native English speakers, and they apparently don't have any proofreaders or editors.

12. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Apparently not. But this article in particular, suffers far worse than others i have seen lately.

21. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I hate to criticize about this author's writing skill since English is my second language. However, being a fairly well know website for cell phone news, you think they would at least have someone to look over all the articles before they post them.

57. tedkord

Posts: 17387; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I don't like to criticize the non native English speakers because it means they speak at least one more language than I do. I speak a little Spanish, but I'm sure I butcher it worse than these fellows.

69. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Exactly +1.. Well said bro.. The same way if we clear a big payment in our company, we have my manager or Sr.Manager step it to review it once before transferring the funds. Same should go here as well :)

62. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Not being a native English speaker is no excuse. If this website desperately wants to be "American", hire some competent writers. The author couldn't even properly place the period in his name: "Paul.K" Shouldn't it be "Paul K."? What is wrong with these writers?

73. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

It's okay to criticize. I mean, if it makes his work better, then do so with utmost respect. Not like patronizing Internet trolls like "LOLZOR ur grammar is failz"

20. g2a5b0e unregistered

Yeah, dude. Six commas in the last sentence of that paragraph. o_O

63. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

These writers don't know the proper application of the commas, semicolons, colons, en dashes, em dashes, hyphens, and just about everything else. It's pathetic.

41. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I was about to print this out & get my red pen out. lol

44. g2a5b0e unregistered

LMAO. +1

56. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Ok I'll give you a +1 for that one.

2. frankg

Posts: 173; Member since: May 14, 2014

As an Android user, I have always been a bit jealous of the iPhones OIS. It have to admit it's the best out there. My Note 4 is no slouch, but compared to the iPhone 6 plus, it looses.

3. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014


4. iCameToBashYou

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 26, 2015


65. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

No. Looses. Rhymes with chooses. No? U mean looses is spelled loses? But that would mean loses, doses, hoses, Moses, poses, and roses should all sound similar. Does it not? Lose, loose. Chose, choose. Hose, whose. What a dumb languae...

6. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Is this statement based on personal preference or actual fact? As far as all the test have shown both (iPhone 6 Plus and Note 4) have excellent OIS. you can't go wrong with neither on that front. The, regular, iPhone 6 has software based stabilization which really falls way short of the mechanical stabilization of OIS on the iPhone 6 plus and the Note 4. So, I am kind of miffed at your statement on the iPhone 6 software base image stabilization.

22. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

OIS on the 6 Plus only works in photos, the camcorder still rely on the same digital stabilization as the 6. and i must say the digital stabilization is crazy good, it's comparable to Note 4, S6(gsmarena comparison), and even beat most of high end OIS-camera smartphones out there.

38. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Are you sure? Here is a video of the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus side by side, and I think everyone who looks at this would say you aren't right in saying the iPhone 6 Plus is close to the Note 4. Not only is it not close, the Note 4 makes the iPhone look as dated as it is, trying to drop OIS into a 3 year old sensor. Apple hasn't been neglecting the camera in its iPhones. See for yourself -

39. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Also in PA's own video, you can see side by side how that even while moving, the Note 4's camera picks up details the iPhone 6 doesn't. Like you can see the lines in the bricks on the beige building, while the iPhone misses this. You can also see how the colors on the iPhone are so cold and appear washed out, when those both phones are being used at the exact same time in the exact same lighting.

7. tedkord

Posts: 17387; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Always? It's only existed since last September.

8. Furbal unregistered

Only thing better about the iPhone is the speed. Granted that is a huge plus and makes me use my 6+ more but the note 4 does take better pictures

24. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

i think it has the fastest camera on smartphone. Note 4 does take more details, and yes assuming if you could get the best condition while taking pics, it does take better pic. but, due to the faster focus and overall speed, in real life situation there are things like moving object, shaking hands, etc. iPhone takes more usable pics.

27. mrej201

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

what speed lol... please compare real life usage vs benchmark

46. Furbal unregistered

Real life the iPhone smokes the note 4 in speed. It beats my 1520.3 on denim as well. Detail and color it loses to both. But it is easier to get more useful pictures with it.

51. cheetah2k

Posts: 2266; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

You've obviously never used an LG phone have you.

66. Furbal unregistered

Who me? I have a white g3. It's fast but no where near as fast as my iphone. Details are better but that is a given.

59. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

the note 4 has the best camera on any released phone.

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