An Apple patent application revealed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week, and first reported by AppleInsider, has confirmed that the Cupertino company is currently experimenting with a 3D camera for the iPhone. The patent is entitled “Systems and Methods for an Imaging System Using Multiple Image Sensors,” and uses dual cameras to capture, process and render 3D images.
Apple’s patent application describes its process as “a paradigm shift from the known software-based approaches,” which “guess” how to perform stereo disparity compensation and produce 3D images. Apple said that those guesses can result in poor quality photos that are littered with artifacts. Instead, Apple’s method uses a hardware-based system with a “deterministic calculation for stereo disparity compensation,” which will apparently produce better photos, and even 3D video.
The latest groundbreaking device to boast a similar feature is the Nintendo 3DS that launched earlier this week. This device also features dual-cameras capable of taking three-dimensional images, however, the device also uses a revolutionary 3D display to show this content without the need for additional 3D glasses. Apple’s device would also require a similar display to display 3D content.
Earlier reports of 3D Apple product surfaced back in 2009 when it experimented with head tracking technology to provide a 3D experience.
The iPhone and iPod touch devices have been major rivals to handheld consoles since their release, and by introducing 3D, Apple will ensure that other devices don’t get too far ahead.