A video-conferencing iPhone in the works?

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Apple was recently granted a gigantic patent covering everything that is the iPhone and a closer look reveals that serious video capabilities might be coming in the next iPhone. Apparently video recording is mentioned frequently throughout the entire document but a few images and sections explain a video conferencing capable phone.

Alexander Wolfe, from InformationWeek, dug up these sections from the patent that clearly explain the video capabilities of the iPhone. Perhaps the iPhone that a lot of people have wanted is finally the works.

“The device supports a variety of applications, such as one or more of the following: a telephone application, a video conferencing application, an e-mail application, an instant messaging application, a blogging application, a photo management application, a digital camera application, a digital video camera application, a Web browsing application, a digital music player application, and/or a digital video player application.”

“In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, Web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing. Instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer-readable storage medium or other computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors.”

“In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the back of the device, opposite the touch screen display on the front of the device, so that the touch screen display may be used as a viewfinder for either still and/or video image acquisition. In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user’s image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display. In some embodiments, the position of the optical sensor can be changed by the user (e.g., by rotating the lens and the sensor in the device housing) so that a single optical sensor may be used along with the touch screen display for both video conferencing and still and/or video image acquisition.”

Plus, there are fantastic patent pictures. You got to love these things.

Now, just because the patent describes this ability, doesn’t particularly mean it will be implemented any time soon or ever. The company just wants to protect it’s assets by including everything the iPhone could be within the legal bounds of the patent. Still, an iPhone with a video conferencing mode is definitely something within the realm of possibilities – hopefully.

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