The patent process is a lot like throwing a ton of things at a wall to see what sticks. In June alone, Apple secured 68 of them and many most likely will never be implemented in any significant way. One particular one, as reported on VC Daily, could add some new flavor to an iOS mainstay. Facetime, Apple’s proprietary video chat application, could potentially see some enhancements by way of augmented reality.
The granted patent involves Light Field Camera technology. The original implementation of this technology allowed the iPhone 7 Plus to create a crisp depth-of-field effect on a subject using images from two cameras. The patent protects the technology and gives Apple the opportunity to bring it to their other hardware, specifically for video calls. Light Field is a new form of augmented technology and Apple could push the capability of it by using the secondary camera to give a enhance view of a user’s background while still getting a close-up from the main camera or completely replace the background with a different space. An example given explained how you could be watching football and have the video conversation overlayed onto the game instead of confined to a chat window.
Snapchat has propelled itself to the top of the social application hierarchy with basic augmented reality support taking a front seat in its collection of features. If Apple could bring ideas like that of AR to their Facetime app, it could further stoke the flames for a company that is already is high demand.