Apple Files Patent for 3D IPhone

Apple may be considering 3D image and video recording technology for a new iPhone, according to a patent filing, suggesting the company’s intentions to compete with Android handsets on new technology.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company filed an application titled “Systems and Methods for an Imaging System Using Multiple Image Sensors” this week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent details the potential for an iPhone to use two cameras to make 3D videos and pictures.

The system would be based on hardware instead of software, which could make for better image quality, according to language in the patent application. Instead of software that guesses dimensional disparity, Apple would use “deterministic calculation for stereo disparity compensation,” according to the application.

Adding 3D capabilities on the iPhone will mostly likely help Apple compete with Android handsets, which have started to ramp up their processing and image capabilities with better cameras and wider screens. While 3D media is not widespread, more and more film and TV offerings are hitting the market with the capability, perhaps indicating that its moment may be ripe to hit the mainstream soon.

Some 3D handsets have already hit the market. The HTC EVO 3D for Sprint and the LG Thrill 4G for AT&T both feature 3D recording. Both handsets integrate two 5.0-megapixel cameras to make HD and 3D videos and pictures. These phones can show 3D images on their displays without requiring special glasses to see the effect.

Nintendo also recently rolled out its 3DS portable handheld game console, which also brings 3D to games without special equipment as well.

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