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Apple patent shows periscope camera design possibly for iPhone or an AR headset

We may never see this patent in a real product, but Apple does specifically mention AR or VR headsets in the patent

iPhone 13 Pro

Apple filed a new patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new “folded” camera system that could enable higher zoom capabilities.

Spotted by Patently Apple (via iPhone in Canada), the patent outlines what’s described as a folded camera system that uses a prism or mirrors to bend light at a 90° angle. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the tech isn’t exactly new — commonly called ‘periscope cameras,’ the tech is common in several smartphones as a way to include more advanced lens systems for telephoto cameras that otherwise wouldn’t fit in a smartphone.

Moreover, Patently Apple explains that the described folded camera system would use lenses with adjustable positions, allowing for variable magnification. That would be a particularly interesting addition since most smartphone cameras use fixed lenses and rely on software to handle magnification, which often results in degraded image quality.

Finally, the patent makes it clear that the folded camera tech could make it into more than just a future iPhone, with possible applications being personal computer systems, handheld computers, set-top boxes, mobile devices, augmented reality and/or virtual reality headsets, and more.

Overall, it sounds like Apple has plans for a fairly robust camera system. That said, and as with any patent, it’s worth keeping in mind that it might not appear in any actual products. Many companies (and especially Apple) like to patent designs they might use, even if they never actually use them.

However, it’d be neat to see Apple’s take on a periscope-style camera in an iPhone, and how it’d stack up to existing periscope cameras on the market already.

Source: USPTO Via: Patently Apple

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