Your Dual-Camera iPhone Almost Got Separate Live Display Viewfinders for Both Cameras


Imagine being able to see two separate images on the live viewfinder on an iPhone. That can be possible with dual-camera-running devices, according to a patient filing, but sadly, it was never introduced in handsets.

Apple Might Have Left This Feature Out Because It Could Have Made the Dual-Camera iPhone Camera App More Clunky to Use

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple which is about ‘Digital Viewfinder User Interface for Multiple Cameras’. The patent describes how a digital viewfinder can be used to show pictures from multiple cameras, or more accurately, pictures from iPhone models that feature dual-camera setups.

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Currently, the iOS camera app lets you zoom an image across the available range that the two cameras offer and switches between the two as required. Images from both the cameras are combined by the software to provide an optimal merged image. The zoom is kept between the optimal ranges of each sensor.

As per the patent application, Apple had considered offering the users the ability to see a view from both the cameras at the back at the same time. This would have made it easier for users to decide if the zoomed-in picture will come out better than a wider picture.

According to AppleInsider, the cameras could be zoomed independently in the dual view mode, and each camera can be panned across independently of each other. This way, two pictures can be taken at the same time and each can be framed differently to view the full scene and a zoomed-in version. Another scenario could have been that the two cameras can frame different areas.

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The same thing could have been applied when it came to capturing videos as well. Apple might have left this feature out of dual-camera iPhone models it would have required more resource allocation and extra processing. More options present in the camera would take away the seamless element from the iPhone and made it tricky to snap an image immediately as you picked it out of your pocket.

Though Apple files for a lot of patents, not all concepts are commercialized. So, a patent never guarantees the introduction of a feature. In the future, Apple may modify the camera app to offer multiple views from each of the rear cameras, especially when it has been rumored to introduce an iPhone that will feature not two, but three lenses mounted at the back.