Apple deliberated providing distinct views for dual rear cameras on the iPhone
At some point, Apple considered giving access to both sensors on the rear side of its dual-camera iPhone, enabling consumers to experience the live view function at different zoom ranges simultaneously on an iPhone's display, as well as the possibility of capturing images from both views at the same time.
The office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, published Apple’s patent application which describes a "Digital Viewfinder User Interface for Multiple Cameras." It efficiently explains the way a digital viewfinder like the iOS camera app can be used to display images derived from multiple cameras, similar to the two cameras located in the rear of some of the iPhone models.
The camera app currently available permits consumers to digitally zoom the image across the whole accessible range provided by the two fixed focal length cameras, swapping between the two where necessary. Also, the software in an effort to offer a beautifully fused image when the zoom lies anywhere between the optimum ranges of each camera, mixes images from both sensors.
As stated by the patent application, Apple contemplated providing users with the experience of concurrently seeing a live view from both of the back cameras, rather than a solo viewfinder. Dual display of both images allows users to better see if they’d prefer a zoomed-in photo to a wider-angle shot, and can also serve other purposes.
The dual view mode enables independent zooming of each camera and also pans the digitally zoomed part about a specific camera's vision field distinctly from the other camera. Theoretically, this means that it’s possible to snap two pictures concurrently, framing each photo separately to display a zoomed-in sector as well as the full scene, or used to frame totally different parts.
This option would also be applied to video, capturing dual feeds with varied views all at once. Its benefits would be similar to stills, with one of the videos displaying a smaller section of the other, however, at a higher resolution, possibly highlighting events of a smaller scale in a larger scene.
In addition, the patent application puts forward that this tech is capable of enabling complex imagery creation, merging the views provided by both photos from the two digital viewfinders, and allowing to do the same for the video as well.
The reason Apple didn’t include an option of dual view in its camera app is still unknown, however it is probably because of the additional processing and resource usage required for it to work. Another reason why Apple may have retained the single-view option could be because it wanted to make the camera app as simple as possible for all its users, with an interface that’s entirely clear and a zoom function that’s easy to use, instead of complicating things by adding more options.
Apple submits applications for patents to the USPTO on a regular basis, sometimes as often as hundreds of times per week, and often enough the company does not commercialize the concept described in the patent. Consequently, it is impossible to guarantee that we’ll be seeing aspects of applied patents show up in future products and services offered by Apple.
We may expect Apple to alter its camera app to offer dual live views from each rear sensor someday, however not as a default view. It is rumored that a third rear camera will be added to the 2019 iPhone refresh. If this is true, it might be the perfect opportunity to introduce the dual view feature to its users.Source