Apple has filed an application for a patent that would see the iPhone's camera capturing a series of images of the same shot and then automatically selecting the best one.
Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent is titled, "Image Capturing Device Having Continuous Image Capture." It would allow a smartphone camera to capture and process a batch of quick images of the same shot.
Such technology has arrived in recent years, and Apple plans to have the camera automatically picking the best shot out of the batch, which will be based on exposure times and other predetermined variables.
Shutter lag is one of the flaws found in the majority of smartphone cameras. It causes a delay between the time a user presses the button to capture the photo and the time the photo is taken. Consequently, it leads to blurry photos, accompanied by human errors such as not holding the camera steady.
Apple's patent would allow iPhone owners to keep their finger on the camera button in order to take a series of consecutive shots until the finger is released. These images would then be stored in a buffer, with the technology reviewing the buffered images and choosing the best one via several factors.
"The method can automatically select one of the buffered images based on one or more parameters. For example, the selection may be based on an exposure time of one of the buffered images and optionally an image quality parameter (e.g., image contrast)," the patent application reads. "Alternatively, the selection may be based only on the image quality parameter. The sequence of images can be captured just prior to or concurrently with receiving the user request. The method can include automatically displaying the selected image on the display of the image capturing device."
Apple recently applied for an image-based authentication patent, while Google is also working on similar technology in terms of a multi-flash camera, which sees a series of shots merging together in order to create the best possible image.