Apple this week was awarded a new mobile camera patent, filed back in 2010, that could translate into better iPhone and iPad pictures. Spotted by AppleInsider, the Cupertino company called dibs on technology that uses a three sensor system, which, if implemented correctly, is capable of producing sharper images with more life-like colors. Selfies for everyone. Mirror shots have never looked so good.

Nokia's Lumia 1020 might hold the mobile camera crown for now, but that might not last very long—competition is a good thing. By using a three lens system, Apple is able to dedicate one sensor for luminance (brightness) and two for chrominance (color); the second chrominance sensor will essentially be used as backup to ensure color is more accurate. The three sensors will have their own lens assembly directing light toward each. Once information is captured, the software can compare data to create a better full image.

Not only will the assembly and configuration lead to potentially sharper and more accurate images, the technology may also perform better in low-light, which has always been an Achilles heel for mobile devices. Here's how the new camera tech could work, and also what it means for future Apple devices:


Seeing as Apple was just awarded the patent, it's unlikely a device such as the iPhone 5S will usher in the three sensor system. Regardless, Apple is actively working on bettering its already excellent mobile shooters, showing that it takes its "most used camera" crown very seriously.