An Apple invention is designed to eliminate blurry iPhone photos. The patent was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October 2012.
The company’s “Image capturing device having continuous image capture” is said to offer “owners of small, portable devices more leeway when trying to get the perfect shot.”
Currently, smartphones provide relatively high-quality camera systems, but they don’t yet compare with what is offered in full-size DSLRs, and pocketable point-and-shoots. The iPhone 5, for example, despite offering an 8-megapixel iSight camera, comes with one key disadvantage. The iOS device’s preview image isn’t quite at full resolution. This can make it difficult to get a truly great shot.
This problem is addressed in Apple’s patent filing:
These image capturing devices typically use a preview resolution for capturing a preview image of a scene. Subsequently, a user provides an input to take a photograph. The device switches from preview resolution to full resolution prior to capturing an image. Switching from preview to full resolution causes a time lag, which may lead to user frustration. Also, camera shake during the time when a user presses a button or touches a touchscreen can degrade image quality.
To correct this, Apple imagines a system where full-resolution images are created to a buffer as soon as a user activates the Camera app, but before they actually take a picture. Once a photo is taken, the system “pulls from the pool and chooses one image based on when it was captured, its quality, or a combination of the two.”
In doing so, the system assigns a “focus score” based on contrast, image resolution, dynamic range, and color rendering properties. Hereafter, the selected photo can be displayed on screen in full resolution.
According to the report, “it is not clear if this exact technology is being implemented in iOS and devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but some aspects of the invention can be seen in Apple’s latest products.”
The patent application lists Ralph Brunner, Nikhil Bhogal and James David Batson as its inventors.