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Apple patent filing for improved lenses shows forward facing camera

post #1 of 67
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A newly revealed Apple patent application shows plans for superior picture and video recording performance on portable devices, and also depicts a handheld device with a forward facing camera.

The application revealed this week, entitled "Apparatus and Method for Compensating for Variations in Digital Cameras," notes that the current manufacturing process for digital video cameras is inconsistent and often results in flaws. Camera modules are manufactured separately as independent units before they are incorporated into a larger device, such as an iPhone or iPod.

The process creates cameras that may have minor differences in their physical or operational attributes. Variations can occur in lens thickness, color response, wavelength cutoff and more.

"Similar cameras manufactured on similar product lines may operate non-uniformly. For example manufacturing variations may result in variations in response to external stimuli, such as ambient light," The application reads. "Such variations in camera responses may produce a non-uniformity in images rendered by digital cameras of the same type, consequently, leading to an inconsistent product performance and to variations in product lines(s)."

Apple's proposed fix would use acquired "video images of colored light" and would measure a light intensity of response of the camera to that colored light. Using this method of measurement, the specific camera's "bias" could be determined and compensated for, allowing a more uniform level of quality.

Another method could employ a "signal processor" that would adjust the calibrated color intensities of images and videos captured by the camera, and compensate for them based on a preconfigured calibration.

Images accompanying the patent application show a mobile device with a forward facing camera.



Some users had hoped for Apple to reveal a forward facing camera on its iPad, and alleged parts for the device show a potential spot to place such a camera. However the device, revealed by Apple in late January, does not include a built-in camera of any type.

Much like the iSight camera included Apple's line of portable MacBooks, a forward facing camera on an iPad or iPhone could allow for video conferencing, self-portraits or self-recording with the portable hardware.
post #2 of 67
Any chance Apple will include the forward facing camera when the iPad ships??? I am really hoping for it, as it will mean the difference between me buying 5 or just 1 iPad.
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post #3 of 67
Delete this comment when fixed.
post #4 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugodinho View Post

Any chance Apple will include the forward facing camera when the iPad ships??? I am really hoping for it, as it will mean the difference between me buying 5 or just 1 iPad.

Well there were the pictures floating around of a iPad frame (so they say) that had the mount for the forward facing camera, I wouldn't count on it in the 1st version, most likely in the 2nd. This is the reason I will be buying a cheaper iPad to play with at first and when they come out with the 2nd version I will go for the heavy duty model.
post #5 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Well there were the pictures floating around of a iPad frame (so they say) that had the mount for the forward facing camera, I wouldn't count on it in the 1st version, most likely in the 2nd. This is the reason I will be buying a cheaper iPad to play with at first and when they come out with the 2nd version I will go for the heavy duty model.

Yeah, I guess that would be a good strategy. Still, as we say here, hope is the last one to die.
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post #6 of 67
I didn't read the patent, but the description in the article here is exactly what color profiling is about. ICC profiles have been around for YEARS. Applying them to video isn't common, but it's not unheard of either.

I'm really not sure where the uniqueness is in this... the only thing of note is the picture of the forward-facing camera.
post #7 of 67
So maybe Apple will release a front-facing camera after the Motorola Backflip ships?

Front-facing is a gimmick and unnecessary feature if Apple doesn't do it, but if Apple copies everyone else in this arena, they are the "most innovative company ever".
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post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

So maybe Apple will release a front-facing camera after the Motorola Backflip ships?

Front-facing is a gimmick and unnecessary feature if Apple doesn't do it, but if Apple copies everyone else in this arena, they are the "most innovative company ever".

Who said that? Or are you just aggrigating multiple opinions from the same forum and treating them as one?
post #9 of 67
I would love to video Skype with the iPad. It will be a reality some day. Right now the carriers would scream and shriek that such use would crash the system.
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugodinho View Post

Any chance Apple will include the forward facing camera when the iPad ships??? I am really hoping for it, as it will mean the difference between me buying 5 or just 1 iPad.

I don't recall Apple adding HW features after an announcement has been made. We've seen a lot of mockups for an Apple tablet that look authentic. It seems they tried many, many different form factors and types.

AdamIIGS seems on the nose with this. They'll add, just not this time around.
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post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Front-facing is a gimmick and unnecessary feature if Apple doesn't do it, but if Apple copies everyone else in this arena, they are the "most innovative company ever".

And here come the pundits that think they know best Meanwhile, the peanut gallery has chimed in. They'll probably try to criticize Apple anyway even if they make decisions that critics like, because for every satisfied critic (can there even be such a thing?) there's another harshly vocal one. So really the one way to shut them up is to pay them to shut up. But Apple doesn't play that game like other companies (ahem *cough* Microsoft).
post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Who said that? Or are you just aggrigating multiple opinions from the same forum and treating them as one?

It's aggregation.

Other examples include

multi-tasking: "completely unnecessary, ruins the experience"

removable battery: "i hate options. the usefulness of replacing batteries is non-existent"

et cetera.
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post #13 of 67
If the camera doesn't move then handling the iPad, or iPhone for that matter, with a front facing camera would be difficult to get a steady picture.

Now I'm sure Apple is working on a solution in the software+hardware that will effectively stabilize an image to compensate for jittery hands when holding a 1.5lb device and make the output look good. Would also like to see some sort of on-screen multitouch controls to position the camera to compensate for off angle use. It's unlikely that the camera will always, if ever, be perfectly perpendicular to the user's face. Maybe even some face locking that moves with the person's movements provided they stay within a certain frame.
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

So maybe Apple will release a front-facing camera after the Motorola Backflip ships?

Front-facing is a gimmick and unnecessary feature if Apple doesn't do it, but if Apple copies everyone else in this arena, they are the "most innovative company ever".

It's possible to desire something but not care if doesn't yet exist. The lack of a front-facing camera is not a deal breaker for most people


Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It's aggregation.

That is not correct. Aggregation is a noun, he's using the gerund verb form, aggregating.
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post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

If the camera doesn't move then handling the iPad, or iPhone for that matter, with a front facing camera would be difficult to get a steady picture.

Now I'm sure Apple is working on a solution in the software+hardware that will effectively stabilize an image to compensate for jittery hands when holding a 1.5lb device and make the output look good. Would also like to see some sort of on-screen multitouch controls to position the camera to compensate for off angle use. It's unlikely that the camera will always, if ever, be perfectly perpendicular to the user's face. Maybe even some face locking that moves with the person's movements provided they stay within a certain frame.

Notion Ink's latest demo has a swivel camera that can face the user, face away the screen or anywhere with that 180° rotation. I don't see Apple offering moving parts but Notion has done some good things with their tablet device. They are also using a huge, backside multi-touch trackpad for maneuvering when holding the device without impeding the front touch screen, thumb-accesible keyboard and menus while holding, and a much thinner bezel than the Apple iPad. These are few of the things I've wanted and things Apple has submitted patents for. It's the closest true competitor to the iPad I've seen.
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post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's possible to desire something but not care if doesn't yet exist. The lack of a front-facing camera is not a deal breaker for most people

A large chunk of users on this forum say they don't desire anything unless it's in an Apple product.



Quote:
That is not correct. Aggregation is a noun, he's using the gerund verb form, aggregating.

First, my point was that he was correct in his inference: my statement was based on an aggregation of user sentiment here.

Second, he did not use it as a gerund, he used a present participle, which has the same form as the gerund but the usage is strikingly different and can not logically be claimed as a use of gerund.

My word was a noun and I intended it as such. His word was a present participle verb which he used appropriately as such.
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post #17 of 67
What about the integrated screen camera?
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

A large chunk of users on this forum say they don't desire anything unless it's in an Apple product.

Nobody has ever said that.

Trolls do like a good straw man
post #19 of 67
edit: pipped by nagromme.
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post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Nobody has ever said that.

Trolls do like a good straw man

Please refer to past discussions of front-facing cameras or any "feature" that Apple does not include in its products, such as multi-tasking. Or how users here were cheering the increase in price of eBooks because of the arrival of the iPad. It's utter bonkers!

It sounds ridiculous when you hear it, but that's how ridiculous fanboyism on this forum has gotten.

It should wake you up.
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post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro

Front-facing is a gimmick and unnecessary feature if Apple doesn't do it, but if Apple copies everyone else in this arena, they are the "most innovative company ever".

Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It's aggregation.

Other examples include

multi-tasking: "completely unnecessary, ruins the experience"

removable battery: "i hate options. the usefulness of replacing batteries is non-existent"

et cetera.

Your examples are not comparable to your original statement. Your examples are valid on their own whether you agree with them or not.

Your original statement takes two opposing points of view and attributes them to the same entity. You have presented no evidence that any one person actually holds both opinions. If you do though, I would concede you have indeed found yourself a fanboy. Good luck.

I don't know why I'm engaging in this discussion though. I'm done.
post #22 of 67
Why would a camera that faces the user be called "forward facing." Is the camera on the back of my iPhone "backward facing?" The term should be something like "user-facing" to be more clear.

And every monitor and every laptop Apple sells includes a user-facing camera. When it's feasible to add one to the iPhone/iPad/etc--and provide the expected functionality--Apple will no doubt do so.
post #23 of 67
Nothing about front-facing cameras can be inferred from this patent filing. It's just for illustrative purposes to describe the functionality of the color correction techniques.

Apple files lots of patents, many of which never get taken to market.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Notion Ink's latest demo has a swivel camera that can face the user, face away the screen or anywhere with that 180° rotation. I don't see Apple offering moving parts but Notion has done some good things with their tablet device. They are also using a huge, backside multi-touch trackpad for maneuvering when holding the device without impeding the front touch screen, thumb-accesible keyboard and menus while holding, and a much thinner bezel than the Apple iPad. These are few of the things I've wanted and things Apple has submitted patents for. It's the closest true competitor to the iPad I've seen.

Didn't Apple once consider a hidden camera, actually behind the screen so video conferencing would show eyes looking at each other rather than above like a local TV ad actor reading a prompt - or am i dreaming here? I was kind of hoping it was a secret feature not yet disclosed by SJ in the iPad
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post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Didn't Apple once consider a hidden camera, actually behind the screen so video conferencing would show eyes looking at each other rather than above like a local TV ad actor reading a prompt - or am i dreaming here? I was kind of hoping it was a secret feature not yet disclosed by SJ in the iPad

You are probably recalling some commenter's otherworldly wet dream.

There are some very expensive engineering hurdles to seamlessly place a color-accurate autofocusing camera module behind a certain part of the screen, costs that aren't currently likely in a consumer-grade electronics device.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Didn't Apple once consider a hidden camera, actually behind the screen so video conferencing would show eyes looking at each other rather than above like a local TV ad actor reading a prompt - or am i dreaming here? I was kind of hoping it was a secret feature not yet disclosed by SJ in the iPad

They did have a patent on that. I'm not sure that is viable tech yet. I'd think that such a groundbreaking technology would have been touted at the special event. From a marketing perspective that is gold.

You reminded me of another patent they had. This was a smaller display behind the display that would use considerably less power and show your notifications constantly without using significant power. That would be great to have. My biggest wish for the next iPhone OS is robust notification system Ã* la Android and WebOS. That is one thing they mostly got right.
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post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugodinho View Post

Any chance Apple will include the forward facing camera when the iPad ships??? I am really hoping for it, as it will mean the difference between me buying 5 or just 1 iPad.

Same here. If it will have a camera and do Skype, I'll get one for everyone in my family in Europe. I bought a few of them Macbooks, but iPads would be better for them (less chance of messing with the system folders and erasing stuff - it's happened too often!).
Camera = 6 sales
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post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You reminded me of another patent they had. This was a smaller display behind the display that would use considerably less power and show your notifications constantly without using significant power. That would be great to have. My biggest wish for the next iPhone OS is robust notification system Ã* la Android and WebOS. That is one thing they mostly got right.

I remember this patent and was really hoping the iPad would be announced with some display like this only with e-ink as the low power display for ebooks and an LCD display in front for everything else.

...speaking of wet dreams...
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

You are probably recalling some commenter's otherworldly wet dream.

it's a real patent...

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...d_display.html
PS: Here is also a patent for a much better notification system. I will be surprised if this doesn't arrive with 4.0...
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post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

You are probably recalling some commenter's otherworldly wet dream.

There are some very expensive engineering hurdles to seamlessly place a color-accurate autofocusing camera module behind a certain part of the screen, costs that aren't currently likely in a consumer-grade electronics device.

Actually the 'camera in the screen' is an apple patent that was posted here. But w/e
post #31 of 67
does anyone else notice the button pad at the bottom? Guess this is a really old drawing
post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

it's a real patent...
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...d_display.html
PS: Here is also a patent for a much better notification system. I will be surprised if this doesn't arrive with 4.0...

Please! My biggest complaint about the iPhone is the horrible notification system. Ever get an SMS message while on a phone call and then try to end the call? It makes my head want to explode.
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Please! My biggest complaint about the iPhone is the horrible notification system. Ever get an SMS message while on a phone call and then try to end the call? It makes my head want to explode.

That is annoying. It would be great if the popover still allowed the End Call button to still be active.

My biggest issue is the lack of notification history. If you use the Push Notification Service and close out the popover before reading it you have to go to each one of your PNS apps to hunt down the message you missed.I
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post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That is annoying. It would be great if the popover still allowed the End Call button to still be active.

My biggest issue is the lack of notification history. If you use the Push Notification Service and close out the popover before reading it you have to go to each one of your PNS apps to hunt down the message you missed.I

Also as someone who has multiple email accounts, push notification on multiple subfolders, and is bad at keeping their inboxes clean, it drives me nuts getting a new mail notification and trying to figure out where the hell the new message is.
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Also as someone who has multiple email accounts, push notification on multiple subfolders, and is bad at keeping their inboxes clean, it drives me nuts getting a new mail notification and trying to figure out where the hell the new message is.

Concatenating the Mail accounts would be nice. Right now, i just forward my Gmail to MobileMe so I can get good Push and have all my mail in one place. Even going in and out of 2 accounts was a chore, I can't imagine business users who have more than that to deal with.
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post #36 of 67
i find the 'home button' more interesting.you think the iphone/pad will incorporate a more functional and yet small ipod type button control. ie w ff/rew/play/pause always available wo having to switch back to the player?
post #37 of 67
Quote:
Apple's proposed fix would use acquired "video images of colored light" and would measure a light intensity of response of the camera to that colored light.

It looks simular to obvious auto white balance function built-in in any modern digital camera
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post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

If the camera doesn't move then handling the iPad, or iPhone for that matter, with a front facing camera would be difficult to get a steady picture.

Now I'm sure Apple is working on a solution in the software+hardware that will effectively stabilize an image to compensate for jittery hands when holding a 1.5lb device and make the output look good. Would also like to see some sort of on-screen multitouch controls to position the camera to compensate for off angle use. It's unlikely that the camera will always, if ever, be perfectly perpendicular to the user's face. Maybe even some face locking that moves with the person's movements provided they stay within a certain frame.

I don't think so... Apple would do anything to avoid moving parts, and I totally agree with Apple on this... moving parts are so 1990's. And they break.
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post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

If the camera doesn't move then handling the iPad, or iPhone for that matter, with a front facing camera would be difficult to get a steady picture.

Now I'm sure Apple is working on a solution in the software+hardware that will effectively stabilize an image to compensate for jittery hands when holding a 1.5lb device and make the output look good. Would also like to see some sort of on-screen multitouch controls to position the camera to compensate for off angle use. It's unlikely that the camera will always, if ever, be perfectly perpendicular to the user's face. Maybe even some face locking that moves with the person's movements provided they stay within a certain frame.

That exists, though HP's implementation is flawed, apparently they didn't think to test it on black people.

I think it could offer a local preview so you can see what the slate is sending.


Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Didn't Apple once consider a hidden camera, actually behind the screen so video conferencing would show eyes looking at each other rather than above like a local TV ad actor reading a prompt - or am i dreaming here? I was kind of hoping it was a secret feature not yet disclosed by SJ in the iPad

local TV ad actor looking above to read? Wow, that's cheap. Teleprompter rigs for cameras can be had for relatively cheap, the camera sits behind the teleprompter reflector plate. However, that's not practical for portable devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

You are probably recalling some commenter's otherworldly wet dream.

There are some very expensive engineering hurdles to seamlessly place a color-accurate autofocusing camera module behind a certain part of the screen, costs that aren't currently likely in a consumer-grade electronics device.

I don't think it can be mass produced right now, even lab production seems tenuous. I don't think it needs to autofocus though, but even removing that, it's not an easy task. The patent people are talking about is basically a compound eye, each camera is the size of a pixel, several of them in a grid at a 10pixel spacing. The fab process can't be easy, and there is a lot of processing, probably be a few years before a hand held device has the power to stitch together 16 video feeds in real time. Then you still have "dark" spots on the screen because you knocked out pixels for the cameras.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

Please! My biggest complaint about the iPhone is the horrible notification system. Ever get an SMS message while on a phone call and then try to end the call? It makes my head want to explode.

Totally, notifications and handling are the biggest thing wrong with the iPhone. I'd really like to see them fixed in the next version else I'm going to think Apple hasn't listened to its users at all.
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