Apple considering 3D camera technology for the iPhone?

AppleInsider has discovered patent applications showing that APple may be interested in including dual rear-facing cameras and additional sensors for a new 3D image technology in mobile devices such as the iPhone.

The hardware-based system would be an improvement over recent Android devices that include 3D camera technology due to software that takes "guesses" at how to conduct stereo disparity compensation on 3D images. The more guesses needed to process these images result in loss of quality and artifacts.

Apple's documented patent, entitled "Systems and Methods for an Imaging System Using Multiple Image Sensors", would provide higher quality 3D images based on multiple image sensors and hardware processing, eliminating artifacts and other quality issues. The patent also describes 3D video recording capability. (This would require Apple to include a 3D display on the iPhone.)

If Apple were to pack this technology into the iPhone 5 would you actually use it, or are 3D cameras on mobile devices just another gimmick? Let us know in the comments!


Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

  • Do not think it would be a big selling point. The phone itself will sell. Rather see Apple put in a better pixel camera, or other hardware.
  • IPhone once again following the leader.
  • Yeah, because there are so many computers out there with 2560x1440 ips displays. And a ton with lightpeak and even more cell phones with 960x640 displays on a 3 inch screen. Follow what leader?
  • Meanwhile LG and a few other manufactureres are already producting phones with 3D cameras. Of course the iphone version will be magical and revolutionary. Sprinkled with magic dust from special apples.
  • Shouldnt u be somewhere jabbing yourself in the a$$ with a greased up EVO?!
  • iPhone reinvented the phone of today buddy. Remember that. As well as the tablet computer.
  • reinvent being the operative word
  • They have plenty of room to put 2 cameras on the back of the phone. Might as well. It would just make things that much cooler. Now that the 3DS is out I'm sure no glasses 3D is gonna be looked at more seriously. And I bet apple can make the cameras way better then what's on 3ds
  • I don't have and don't want an iPhone.
    But...put a 3D camera on it and I would seriously consider it. That just might be enough to put it over the top.
  • Why would you read a blog about iPhones if you don't want an iPhone?
  • Because not everyone is a troll or a fanboy.
    In order to have an honest opinion about any technology, you have to stay informed about the competition and all the plusses and minuses that come with it. No tech is perfect and there are always tradeoffs. Plus, the most brutal critics of a platform are usually the ones who love it the most.
  • You know, I think that is one of the best, most reasoned and rational responses I've ever seen in a tech forum. I agree wholeheartedly, and applaud your insight!
  • 3D is just a huge gimmick. I would not even fire it up to try it. Even though the quality would be superior to everyone else. I think there could be some useful apps that a 3D camera would be awesome for, home remodeling and such. Other than that such a waste.
  • Agreed
  • I see it as the laserdisc technology of 2011
  • I honestly don't care at all about 3D pics. Give me a 4 inch screen and I'm good.
  • True dat!
  • Why not have a 4 Inch 3d display stupid
  • "Give me 4 inches and I'll be good" That's what she said
  • I bought the 3ds and frankly the 3d part of it is a gimmick I dont want to be looking at 3d all day on my phone its not even enjoyable
  • I would lose some respect for Apple if they did this.
  • WHY?
  • Not interested. Especially if its inclusion means leaving out something much more useful, like a better normal camera, higher storage, etc.
  • It's not gonna happen. There is a lot they can add to the iPhone but this is not one.
  • money would be better spent on more pixels or storage, I would prefer storage over pixels
  • "(This would require Apple to include a 3D display on the iPhone.)"
    I'm wondering what the point of a 3D camera would be if the phone DIDN'T have a 3D screen.
  • I think the thing to remember here is that Apple usually implements things at a practical not gimmical (real word check) level. If they're going to do this & that's a HUGE if, it'll be done right. So much so that I'd hazard to bet that if it's done it'll be a "WOW" moment. I've owned other smartphones that have let me down because of poor gimmicky tech implementation. Sure tech was in them but if it's just there for specs what's the point? The retina screen is a great example. Our eyes can't event detect the amount of pixels in this screen so what's the point? It's freaking gorgeous! Sorry for the rant but I think Apple will make it classy & not cheesy.
  • I'll place it in the same folder as my compass
  • Except that the compass wasn't a paradigm shift in the way we use our phones/ mobile devices (for the tech snobs). Touch screen was a huge gamble that paid off & now is I propose a Constitutional amendment to ensure that neither the executive, legislative or judicial branch have the power to shut off the Internet nor the networks that provide it. Our forefathers never imagined the day where the would ever BE an internet. We're guaranteed freedom of speech but the Internet isnt necessarily protected by that amendment. After seeing how integral the social networking was in the other regions & how quickly the government cut off the 'net I'd say we need to secure the Internet as inalienable. implemented on every decent device. HD video/pics on the iPhone 4 was a huge jump in quality. If they create 3D on iPhone 5 & give a sense of depth the experience will just be that much richer. I'm sure they won't go for a holographic effect. The compass is just another toy.
  • Well that's what I get for forgetting what I had copied & pasted it without reviewing. Sorry for the constitution blurb. (looking like dumb@$$)
  • Maybe somebody else said this upthread, but they would need to include dual-plane, or some other 3D (REAL 3D, not just sparkly 2D) viewing technology.
  • Don't care. I would much rather have any number of things over a 3d camera now. Maybe down the road when the technology is more mature, as most people don't have a 3d viewing platform at their disposal
  • Gimmick.
  • I would much rather have an iPhone with 1080p 30/60fps recording than a 3D camera. The still camera on the iPhone is fine. And more storage, like 64 or 128 Gigs to compliment the higher video resolution. And give us a micro-HDMI output and maybe the ability to connect an external HDD. I can't imagine wanting more from a phone/media device. Oh, and a slightly larger screen too. That's about all I could ever ask for.
  • As a new owner of the Nintendo 3DS "YAY!" i'm predicting 3D is gonna be the next big thing for portable devices. 3D and 3D camera technology isn't just a gimmick and i think Apple would be wise to realize this, which it seems they are. nice story ;)
  • This is revolutionary and magical! Oh it isn't!
  • Probably an April fools joke, since there is no patent image.
  • LOL, In June HTC is launching the EVO 3D. Apple is hella late to the party.The EVO 3D has 2 cameras on the back of the phone already. Looks like Apple is copying HTC...LMAO
  • I think 3D pics and videos would be great, all those people saying it's a gimmick it's just because they can't afford the hardware to see it or play it!!!!
  • has anyone seen the new evo?
  • Definitely needed, I'm waiting to buy one when they have 3D displays and video recording.
  • I'm axiously awaiting my last year on my contract to be up so I can get the EVO 3D!! If Apple makes a 3D camera on their phone by then, I will gladly give the iPhone an honest, 2 year try.