It's official folks, we're heading into iPhone rumour season once again (groan), and kicking things off is a patent that suggests Apple will be trying to improve the camera on the next iPhone by adding a second one. So, very similar to what HTC did 12 months ago.
The patent, called "Small form factor telephoto camera," was published by the US and shows the company is looking at possibly adding a second camera to the iPhone sometime in the near future. It specifically details a second small format telephoto camera that would be used injunction with a normal-to-wide angle camera, similar to the ones found in existing iPhones.
The technical details outline that this dual-camera system will have a total track length of 6mm or less, a focal length of 7mm, and a telephoto ratio between 0.14 and 1.0. Like current cameras, this system would also require multiple lens elements with four or five refractive components made from plastic, glass, or other transparent materials. The documents also note that the camera sensor would have pixels sized 1.2 microns or less.
The idea is that the final photos would be of a much higher quality than a comparable single-lens system with optical zoom. Whether we'll actually see it in an iPhone or not is another thing. We'll just have to wait and see. [Apple Insider vis TechRadar]