Apple exploring split cameras for thinner iPhones, location-based security

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 2014
Future iPhones could be thinner and more secure thanks to technology outlined in two unique proposed inventions from Apple, covering adaptive security profiles and a new type of split-sensor camera.

Patent


The first application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, entitled "Electronic device with two image sensors," details a camera comprised of two distinct sensors: one sensor would capture luma, or brightness, data, while the other could capture chroma, or color, information. The final image would be created by combining the data captured by each sensor.

By splitting the camera into two, each module could be made thinner than a comparable camera with dual-purpose sensors embedded into the same module. This would allow the device housing the camera to be made correspondingly thinner.

Additionally, Apple says that the split design would allow for improved signal-to-noise ratio resulting in increased image quality. It could also help alleviate color reproduction issues caused by optical filters, and the overall assembly might be less costly.

Apple credits Michael F. Culbert and Chris Ligtenberg for the invention of U.S. Patent Application No. 13/331543.

Patent


The second application, entitled "Electronic devices having adaptive security profiles and methods for selecting the same," depicts a scenario in which a mobile device could automatically enable or disable certain security protocols depending on the device's location. For example, an iPhone could require a simple four-digit passcode while in a user's home but insist on a fingerprint for authentication once it leaves that area.

For more fine-grained security, users would be able to define several different profiles that apply to individual apps and types of data. SMS data could be subject to different access requirements than email data, for instance.

Users could manually configure geofenced areas, and Apple also envisions several scenarios for dynamically determining where the device is expected to be at any given time. It could analyze location information in the user's calendar or social networks, for instance, to see if friends had checked the user in at a particular place.

Apple credits Michael I. Ingrassia, Jr. for the invention of U.S. Patent Application No. 13/100,851.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    bcodebcode Posts: 138member
    Adaptive security profiles would be a treat.
  • Reply 2 of 65
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,562member
    Geo-fence notifications has been a complete bust for me. If the phone is in power saver mode, it fails to alert me every time.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Adaptive security is right inline with one feature I want Apple's iWatch to offer my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
  • Reply 4 of 65
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,855member

    You don't need two cameras to accomplish this.  You can do this by taking two pictures rapidly one after the other.

  • Reply 5 of 65
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tzeshan wrote: »
    You don't need two cameras to accomplish this.  You can do this by taking two pictures rapidly one after the other.

    How will that allow camera HW to be thinner?
  • Reply 6 of 65
    While applauding the creativity behind these ideas, for them to be useful for me they should fix the battery life issue before adding in new ideas that require me to turn on a power hungry feature like Location Services. Whatever happened to the 3G's one week to ten days of battery power? Now I struggle to get to two days... and only then when all the clever new features are switched off!
  • Reply 7 of 65
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,974member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Geo-fence notifications has been a complete bust for me. If the phone is in power saver mode, it fails to alert me every time.

    Don't notifications still pop up even in what you call power saver mode? The only way this wouldn't work is if the phone was turned off but once it turns on, the new profile should immediately be enforced.

  • Reply 8 of 65
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,974member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

     

    You don't need two cameras to accomplish this.  You can do this by taking two pictures rapidly one after the other.


    Each camera sensor is constructed differently allowing them to be thinner. You would need both photos, which could be taken at same time (some parallax error) to construct the final photo.

  • Reply 9 of 65
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,342member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

     

    You don't need two cameras to accomplish this.  You can do this by taking two pictures rapidly one after the other.


    Apple, you must hire this guy! He can make your iPhones thinner just by taking 2 photos really quickly 1 after the other.

     

    :no: 

  • Reply 10 of 65
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    This is great. We're well on our way for the phone to be as thin as a sheet of paper. And once we get there the only problems left will be (1) how to pick it up, and (2) how to avoid paper cuts.
  • Reply 11 of 65
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,509member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    Geo-fence notifications has been a complete bust for me. If the phone is in power saver mode, it fails to alert me every time.



    What is power saving mode on iOS?

  • Reply 12 of 65
    Maybe those cameras are not for an iPhone but for a new MacBook Air?
  • Reply 13 of 65
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post



    While applauding the creativity behind these ideas, for them to be useful for me they should fix the battery life issue before adding in new ideas that require me to turn on a power hungry feature like Location Services. Whatever happened to the 3G's one week to ten days of battery power? Now I struggle to get to two days... and only then when all the clever new features are switched off!

    I never got a week of battery life on the 3G.

     

    One thing to consider about comparing the battery life of your old phone to your new phone is whether or not you are in the same home, office, car and have a similar usage pattern because depending on the strength of the WiFi, cell signal and the type of BT connections you have it could substantially affect the amount of battery usage. A weaker signal uses more battery. Also, to be fair you also need to consider if you are talking more than before. For example, I had about a half hour call this morning and the phone was actually very warm to the touch and had used 8% of its charge by the end of the call which I believe was due to the fact that I only had about 1 bar of signal strength.

  • Reply 14 of 65

    Well, the only thing that changed was the phone, all other things remained the same so I am pretty sure the difference (which was marked) was due to higher power demands of the iP5 compared to the 3G (Not the 3GS I hasten to add). I can only tell you my experience, your experience will no doubt be different. However, if you went straight from a 3G to a 5 with all other things being the same, even if you never got a week of use from the 3G I would expect the ratio between the battery life of the two phones to be broadly similar to that which I experienced, ie the iP5 (as well as the ip4 and 4s from what I have been told/read, perhaps due to the OS in use) runs out of battery power sooner than did the 3G.

  • Reply 15 of 65
    Tired of hearing all the battery life complaints.

    Some people want really thin. Really thin. They have it.

    Some people want extended battery life. Get a Mophie.

    You can add battery life to the existing model.

    If you have a long battery life iPhone, you can't make it thinner.
  • Reply 16 of 65
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,349member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post

     

    What is power saving mode on iOS?


    There is no such thing according to the iOS end user documentation.

     

    There is a sleep mode in iOS, which turns off the display. The device still receives messages/push notifications, takes calls, plays music, etc.

     

    The only other setting is "Off."

  • Reply 17 of 65
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,855member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    How will that allow camera HW to be thinner?



    Use a thinner camera of course.  The trick of using two cameras is it effectively doubles the lens, that is the ISO.

  • Reply 18 of 65
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tzeshan wrote: »

    Use a thinner camera of course.  The trick of using two cameras is it effectively doubles the lens, that is the ISO.

    How does taking two photos rapidly allow for the camera HW to be thinner thereby allowing the casing to be thinner per the patent?
  • Reply 19 of 65
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    solipsismx wrote: »
    tzeshan wrote: »
    You don't need two cameras to accomplish this.  You can do this by taking two pictures rapidly one after the other.

    How will that allow camera HW to be thinner?

    The other benefit would be faster HDR because they don't need multiple exposures. Once you have the chroma and luma separate, the luma can be adjusted in post-production. It could also allow for HDR video as it only needs one frame. Luma left, Chroma middle, combined right:

    1000

    The chroma sensor just needs to be sensitive enough to determine the correct color data. I wonder if it can do that kind of sampling by not relying solely on incoming light but by projecting a signal out like infrared light in a flash and then measuring the effect of that signal on the scene. Naturally the sky is bright enough anyway and too far for any outgoing light to affect but dark shadows could receive an outgoing signal that shows up what the colors are. The luma sensor would measure the incoming light as it has to try and recreate the light variation being seen.
  • Reply 20 of 65
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,855member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    How does taking two photos rapidly allow for the camera HW to be thinner thereby allowing the casing to be thinner per the patent?



    I did not read the patent.  The question is why using two cameras can make HW thinner despite the patent claim.

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