The iPhone consistently offers one of the best camera experiences on any smartphone, but Apple could pull ahead of the pack should it choose to implement its latest patent published on Tuesday.
Apple’s patent calls for a “digital camera with light splitter” that would be small and thin enough to fit in a wireless device, like an iPhone.
This technology is not new at all — in fact, this system of three charge-coupled devices (CCDs) is commonly found in high-end video cameras, since it’s very good at capturing lights and colors and negating any wobbling on behalf of the user. But, it would be a major coup if Apple would be able to miniaturize this system to fit inside the iPhone. And here’s why.
In the iPhone’s current camera system, individual pixels can capture red, green and blue lights, which are scattered all over a single image sensor. But that means each color only gets one-third of the space on the sensor. By splitting the light with this proposed cube, each color can have an entire sensor to itself, which would allow for more accurate colors, and much better images in low-light scenarios.
This would be a major achievement for Apple, since it would effectively make its camera much more powerful and it’d do that without taking up any valuable space within the phone — Apple prides itself on thin devices, and its powerful-albeit-bulky camera already protrudes from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Implementing this light splitter would help Apple stay on the forefront of mobile photography.