Apple may be researching new mobile phone camera technology
Apple currently seems to be working on a patented technology that can make phone cameras shorter. This patent was filed by Apple in 2018. The main content is to reduce the size of the camera by stacking multiple lenses and installing the sensor horizontally without affecting the zoom or the stability of the optical image. The name in this recently published patent is very simple, just called “Folded Camera”. Apple described in detail how a folding or retractable camera system can work.
This system “includes two light folding elements such as prisms and an independent lens system, located between the two prisms, which includes an aperture stop and a lens stack. The lens system may be moved on one or more axes independently of the prisms to provide autofocus and/or optical image stabilization for the camera. The shapes, materials, and arrangements of the refractive lens elements in the lens stack may be selected to capture high resolution, high quality images while providing a sufficiently long back focal length to accommodate the second prism.” Although it does not specify the size of the camera using this patent, such a system can help reduce the height of the camera protruding from the back of the phone.
In addition, Apple specifically mentioned in the patent that this system can take higher-quality photos and use more sophisticated camera technology.
Today’s mobile phone cameras are basically the most “protruding” part of the mobile phone. Few mobile phone cameras have the same height as the back surface of the phone. A patented design like this may help to further reduce the height of the camera.