iOS 5's Fancy New Camera Trick? Microsoft Has A Patent On It

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At Apple’s WWDC keynote last week, we finally got a sneak peek into iOS 5. Amongst other things, Apple revealed that its camera app would be getting quite the makeover.

Pretty much immediately after the new camera tricks were demonstrated, people began noting similarities between iOS 5’s new focal features and some of those found in Windows Phone 7. Even Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore touched on the matter, tweeting, “Feeling flattered today. Lots of WP ideas headed to iOS.” As it turns out, Apple may have to cough up some cash (or possibly already is) for at least one of those cool new capabilities; Microsoft has held a patent on the mimicked feature since February of 2010.

The suspiciously similar feature in question: the ability to swipe back into your camera roll while taking a picture, no button pressing necessary. Seem trivial? Sure — but those are the woes of a software-patent-friendly world.

While Windows phone owners probably feel a little perturbed by the fact that Apple hijacked their WP7 exclusive, Microsoft may not even mind as long as it can squeeze some cash out of Apple the same way it has with Google’s Android OS. Of course, patent wars are merely part of the game for these guys; at this point, most of the big names have enough patents in their arsenal to turn any infringement claims around on whoever is brave enough to come pecking for cash, so they generally avoid going head-to-head.