iPhone 12 could let you take socially distant group selfies

iPhone 12 could let you take socially distant selfies
(Image credit: Future)

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted just about every single facet of daily life, including work, travel, and, of course, the ability to take selfies. Fortunately, future iPhones could let you snap a great group selfie even while keeping a social distance from your friends, according to a new patent that was granted to Apple.

According to The Verge (via Patently Apple), Apple has patented a technology that could create a synthetic group selfie by collating together images from multiple devices. Based on Apple's patent images, it looks like you'll be able to send users invites to be in your group selfies. Once they send a picture, your friends will be automatically inserted into your photo to look as if they were right there next to you.

You'll be able to edit and retake your synthetic group selfies until they look just right, and the images outline the ability to quickly share your fake group photos to social media. 

(Image credit: USPTO)

Apple originally filed for this technology back in late 2018, well before the entire world entered various states of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. But much like how services like WhatsApp and Google Duo have expanded their video call capabilities, an iOS group selfie feature could go a long way in helping people feel just a bit more connected during this unprecedented time.

The patent doesn't specify which Apple devices could get synthetic group selfies, but it seems like the perfect feature to launch in 2020 for new devices such as the iPhone 12 as well as the existing iPhone SE and iPhone 11 series. It's also possible that we'll see this technology debut at WWDC on June 22, when Apple is set to take the wraps off of the biggest features coming to iOS 14 this fall.

iOS 14 is expected to bring a host of new features to iPhone, including a new list view for the home screen, a new multitasking view and new fitness and augmented reality apps. But socially distant-friendly selfies would be a very timely addition. Now all we need is a Face ID that better recognizes us wearing masks.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.