In recent years, the best iPhone leaks have come ’accidentally’ from Apple, and it happens too frequently to be a coincidence. Now, with iPhone sales stalling and talk of further price cuts, Apple is again looking to change the narrative by subtly teasing a red-hot new iPhone upgrade.
Discovered by fan site AppleInsider, Apple has quietly filed a patent detailing how new iPhones will be able to tell you want to take a photo and automatically open the camera. Furthermore, the hardware required to do this has already been confirmed as a feature coming to iPhones this year.
Filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple breaks down the "Apparatus and method for automatically activating a camera application based on detecting an intent to capture a photograph or a video."
It works by recognising the motion made by a user to lift their iPhone into a typical photography position, then scanning for the proximity of a subject in the frame. If both criteria are met, the camera will open automatically.
This may feel like magic to some and horribly invasive to others (Apple will limit users to reviewing only the photos just they shot) but, either way, the technology to do this is coming soon.
Apple states the motion detection is handled via accelerometers (which have existed in every model of iPhone), while subject detection requires a proximity-based sensor. Currently, iPhones only have short range proximity sensors (for portrait shots and Face ID facial recognition) but Sony has already unveiled its long-range 3D camera sensor and confirmed its partnership with Apple.
Needless to say, not everything Apple patents comes to market but the timing here is uncanny. It conveniently adds colour to an existing partnership for new technology at the exact moment slowing iPhone sales have placed pressure on Apple to show it can innovate.
Not everyone will like an iPhone which can automatically open its camera, but it will get people talking. It may also be enough - in conjunction with Apple’s ‘back to the future’ move - to distract buyers from missing 5G and the minimal 2019 design changes.
Then again, the smart move is probably to keep calm and wait for those new price cuts.
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