Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,341,553) for an “image capturing device with touch screen for adjusting camera settings.” The company continues to look for more ways to improve the photo/video abilities of its iPhone and iPad products.
The patent involves methods for operating a built-in digital camera of a portable, handheld electronic device. In one embodiment, the device receives a user selection (e.g., tap, tap and hold, gesture) of a region displayed on the display screen (e.g., touch sensitive display screen).
A touch to focus mode may then be initiated and an exposure metering area can then automatically be determined based on the user selection and displayed on the screen. Then a focus area can be automatically determined based on the user selection and an automatic focus scan initiated for the focus area. Next, the automatic exposure mechanism adjusts exposure parameters based on the metering area.
An automatic detect mechanism may also be implemented to determine when a scene changes. In one embodiment, this mechanism can automatically monitor a luminance distribution of the selected region for images captured by the device during the touch to focus mode. The mechanism automatically compares a first luminance distribution of the selected region for a first image and a second luminance distribution of the selected region for a second image. T
hen, the mechanism automatically determines whether a scene has changed by comparing first and second luminance distributions of the selected region for the respective first and second images. If a scene has changed, then the mode changes to a default automatic focus mode in which the exposure metering area is based on the full screen and the focus area automatically moves from the selected region to a center of the screen.
According to Apple, a user will be able to easily select a region for automatic exposure and focus adjustments during a touch to focus mode. An automatic scene change mechanism determines whether a scene has changed and alters the exposure and focus areas if necessary.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.