I do find this interesting, but wonder if Apple is simply patenting this as protection from competition. The best way is to improve the glass (all internal lenses are plastic), the sensor by improving pixel quality/size (size of actual pixel, not how many pixels), and the ability to shoot faster, and in lower light.
The better the glass, the better quality of light you have. The larger aperture, the more light you can take in. Better pixels captures more of the light information- correctly, and a better processor cleans the data and shuffles it to shortage quicker making room for the next exposure. It's not the hardware's limitation to open and close the aperture quick enough, but the processors ability to shuffle the data around quick enough to allow the next exposure. The higher the resolution, and/or the increased frames per second, equates to more data shuffle, thus faster internals needed to operate. Having a faster aperture, allows the required amount of light to be exposed onto the sensor. The faster the aperture, the less you need OIS. IF I can take an exposure at 120ms, I can capture a crisp photo of a flower blowing in the wind. In order to do that, you need more light, or high ISO. But I'm never a fan of cleaning an exposure over taking a better one. Indoors that is hard, however, I think Apple can still make improvements on their flash to allow more light over a greater distance, or perhaps a flash add-on?
Improve the hardware and you won't have to do tricks. As Apple is always looking to improve hardware, competition is left with employing the tricks, which Apple now has patented also. Apple can improve hardware at a much quicker pace, with vast more control as they design, or have a hand in designing, much of their technology. Vs competition that buys off the self parts or has little customization beyond software.