By NICK BILTON | http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com
Any iPhone owner knows that there are a lot of gadgets and objects the iPhone has replaced. Among its Web and communications abilities phone owners don’t need maps, notepads, music players and a litany of other single-serving devices.
Now, there’s something else the iPhone is poised to completely replace for many owners: the standard point and shoot camera.
Take a look at Flickr, the popular photo sharing Web site, where the statistics of the cameras used to upload images to the site show that the iPhone is by far the most popular compared to other cameras, including Nikon and Canon.
And although this trend has been a long time in the making as the iPhone’s camera quality has improved, a new series of patents that have emerged from the company show that the Apple could completely replace the traditional camera for many.
According to a new Apple patent discovered by the blog Apple Patently, which monitors the company’s latest patent filings, Apple is working on some interesting new camera technologies for the iPhone and iPod Touch that could also be integrated into the Macbook and iMac product line.
Among the new features discussed in the patent, the company is exploring new technologies that could adjust the camera flash based on the scene of the photo and the angle the camera is to an object. Another example of this flash would let the camera operator highlight a dimly lit area and focus the flash exclusively there. That means no more photos of people who look like cardboard cutouts when you use your camera flash.
Apple patently also points out some new zoom and telephoto features that could appear in the next generation of the camera.
It’s also interesting to note that Apple uses the word “dedicated” in its patent filing to describe a possible camera that is not tied to a phone or computer:
The device may be a portable device, such as a dedicated digital still or video camera, a smart phone or laptop/notebook computer with an integrated camera function or it may be a desktop personal computer with a built-in camera function.