Apple put a lot of effort into improving the cameras on the iPhone 7, increasing the aperture on both phones while adding optical zoom to its Plus model via a dual-lens setup. But camera improvements should continue with next year's iPhone 8, especially if a pair of patents are any indication of what Apple's planning.
The patents spotted by AppleInsider deal with a multisensor camera capable of producing "super resolution" images. Specifically, one patent awarded to Apple details a light splitter cube that can break incident light into different color components, sending them to different sensors. A second awarded patent describes how plural image sensor arrangements are used to create a combined image data structure.
The patents get pretty deep into the weeds of image sensor technology, but the bottom line is that sensors described by Apple would be better at capturing light, resulting in high-quality images. AppleInsider's report notes how Apple would fit this system in the confined space of a smartphone, using a folded camera design. That wouldn't just save space, AppleInsider says: It would also allow for other features like optical image stabilization and greater zoom capabilities.
Let's face it: camera capabilities are increasingly how smartphone makers differentiate their devices, and adding megapixels to a camera adds only so much. From the patents Apple's received, it sounds like the company is looking at multiple ways for its phones to produce sharper, more colorful images, and we could be reaping the rewards as soon as next year.