Future iPhone Could Capture Crystal-Clear Underwater Photographs

By Bill Toulas / September 22, 2020

Back in March, we discussed the rumors that surfaced about the chances of the iPhone 12 featuring a capacitive touch-sensing screen for underwater use. This was proven to be very far-fetched for the upcoming model, but another set of recently published patents prove that Apple is really interested in this possibility.

After all, the current and previous generations of the iPhone feature impressive water resistance, so enhancing the capabilities that come with it would be interesting. The new patents describe an automated optical analysis unit that would help iPhone users capture mesmerizing images underwater without having to do much editing on specialized software.

patent system

Source: Apple Insider

Those who have played with underwater photography know very well that this isn't a simple case of diving, clicking, and getting great results. Water is very often somewhat opaque, the lighting is rarely ideal, there's backscattering, the sharpness isn't great, colors are losing their vibrancy, and objects end up too far away because masks and goggles tend to magnify views. Professional underwater photographers spend hours capturing stuff in raw and then spend even more time editing the image files to get the results they were going for, if possible.

Apple wants to solve all of these problems by automating the image processing with its magic algorithms. As people capture an image underwater, the device will capture data points that refer to the amount of ambient light, the water depth, distance from the subject, water pressure, orientation, backscattered light (for the determination of water murkiness), and more.

All of this will help make targeted adjustments such as changing the image's tinting, adding artificial coloring to the water, enhancing the contrast, and introducing more illumination to the main subject.

patent light

Source: Apple Insider

Future iPhone models could feature an even more outstanding watertight performance, allowing users to go deeper into the water and stay there for longer. We have already seen patent applications that replace the Lightning port with electromagnetic units that will totally seal the device.

Related: Apple’s September 2020 Event Recap – Apple Watch 6 & SE, New iPads, Apple One & More!

But even the current model, iPhone 11, boasts excellent tolerance to water, as it can safely stay submerged in up to four meters, up to 30 minutes. That should be enough to allow the users to take a few nice pictures while snorkeling. iPhone 12 rumors mention that it's going to be upgraded on that part too, so we're going to have something that's even more usable underwater.

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