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Will your next iPhone have a 3-D camera?

March 30, 2012|By Michelle Maltais

The cameras on generation after generation of iPhone have gotten increasingly better. So much so that it's often the only camera owners carry these days. What could Apple have in mind for the future? The next dimension in iPhone cameras just might be 3-D.

Photos and video on upcoming iOS devices could be shot with what Patently Apple is calling "a killer 3D imaging camera."

According to an Apple patent filing discovered by PA, the cameras would incorporate laser, RADAR, light-detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors for detecting depth as well as sensors for more intense color accuracy.

And, get ready to geek out just a little more: The patent filing indicates the cameras would also be able to recognize facial expression and gestures. Talk about a smart phone.

PA explains: "Facial gestures may include, but are not limited to, smiling, grimacing, frowning, winking, and so on and so forth. In one embodiment, this may be accomplished by detecting the orientation of various facial muscles using surface geometry data, such as the mouth, eyes, nose, forehead, cheeks, and so on, and correlating the detected orientations with various gestures."

If iPhone 3D comes to fruition, it wouldn't be the first 3-D phone to hit the market. HTC's Evo already broke the 3-D barrier.

But the possibilities for this technology on iPhones and iPads are myriad. It would be a significant upgrade from the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S and the 5 megapixel iSight camera on the new iPad. It might actually justify awkwardly holding up an iPad to shoot photos or video.

Now, before you go stand in line for the as-yet-unannounced new iPhone to get your hands on a palm-sized 3-D smartphone, remember that this is just a patent filing -- not a promise to deliver.

That said, as long as it doesn't diminish battery life, a 3-D camera would put that crystal-clear Retina display to pretty good use, don't you think?

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Original source: Will your next iPhone have a 3D camera?

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