iPhone 5 Concept - Design by ADR Studio
Another photo from ADR Studio shows a much bigger home button on the bottom, and a thinner overall design. It's sleek, but you won't be able to stop looking at the button. ADR Studio

New rumors about Apple's next generation iPhone, aka iPhone 5, are surfacing every other day, making Apple enthusiasts around the world even more restless to get hold of the device. Apple products have always been in the limelight, thanks to the exciting features they bring along. That said, the Cupertino tech giant's upcoming smartphone rightly deserves the attention it has gained so far.

Adding to the much-hyped rumor about the next Apple iPhone, a tech website cited on Thursday a patent filing in the US Patent and Trademark Office and said Apple could be working on an advanced camera for mobile devices that could create three-dimensional (3D) models of scanned objects and that the new development might arrive on future iDevices like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

According to the new patent application, detailed by Patently Apple, Apple has invented a killer 3D imaging camera that will apply to both still photography and video. The new cameras in development will utilize new depth-detection sensors such as LIDAR, RADAR and Laser that will create stereo disparity maps in creating 3D imagery. Additionally, the cameras will use advanced chrominance and luminance Sensors for superior color accuracy.

In addition, the new 3D cameras could also recognize facial expressions and gesturing. With the knack to both capture and recreate 3D images, the new imaging system could enhance the imaging capabilities of the 5 megapixel iSight camera on the new iPad and the 8 megapixel camera found on the iPhone 4S, said an iDownloadBlog report.

Apple hinted in the application that the technology will be introduced in a number of electric devices including, but not limited to, digital cameras, personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile telephones, a standalone camera, or any other devices that can be configured to process image data.

The iPhone-maker also said that existing 3D imaging devices are incapable of obtaining detailed geometric information of 3D objects and are incapable of extracting depth information. As the solution, Apple's patent relates to systems, apparatuses and methods for capturing a three-dimensional image using one or more dedicated cameras.

As mentioned above, the PA report described two fascinating applications for the technology - facial and gesture recognition and 3D models created from video of rotating objects. The report explained:

Facial gestures may include, but are not limited to, smiling, grimacing, frowning, winking, and so on and so forth. In one embodiment, this may be accomplished by detecting the orientation of various facial muscles using surface geometry data, such as the mouth, eyes, nose, forehead, cheeks, and so on, and correlating the detected orientations with various gestures.

Apart from creating a 3D digital model of an object by taking video or photographs of it, the camera would also allow users to create a 3D model of their home by shooting video while walking through it. According to the report, a user may take video of a home while walking through the home and the image sensing device could use the calculated depth and surface detail information to create a three-dimensional model of the home. The depth and surface detail information of multiple photographs or video stills may then be matched to construct a seamless composite three-dimensional model that combines the surface detail and depth from each of the photos or video.

The camera feature on the iPhone has evolved a lot since Apple introduced the original iPhone and its sub-par camera. Going beyond the CMOS sensors, Apple is now working to improve them with own solutions such as customized optics with a fifth lens and real-time processing to detect faces and stabilize video, iDownloadBlog stated.

Rumors about Apple planning to incorporate a 3D camera in the next iPhone have been around for a quite some time now. Many reports have also suggested that the iPhone 5 may feature an 8 megapixel (or even higher) camera given that rivaling Android smartphones are increasingly coming with much improved cameras.

Other Key Features That Users Want in The Next iPhone

Before the release of the new iPad, multiple reports surfaced speculating on whether or not the device would feature 4G LTE connectivity. Well, rumors suggesting much faster download speeds in the new iPad proved spot on with Apple offering both the Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 4G models of the iPad.

After the Cupertino-based tech giant confirmed the 4G LTE inclusion in the new iPad, numerous unnamed sources have stated that the upcoming model of the iPhone will be launched later this year, featuring the same technology.

A previous report in DigiTimes referred to unidentified sources within Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturers, who claimed that the next generation iPhone will very likely feature an embedded 4G LTE radio.

Since the new iPad has featured Retina display with a groundbreaking 2048 x 1536 resolution, the imminent iPhone is also expected to spot something higher in terms of its display. If rumors are to be believed, iPhone 5 will come with a 3.7- to 4-inch Quantum Dot LED curved glass edge-to-edge display with 1280 x 720 resolutions (367ppi). Although some reports have suggested even bigger display, it's very likely that Apple will prefer to go with the original measurement.

Rumors are also rife that an A6 processor will eventually power the next iPhone. It will be a superfast 1.2 to 1.5 GHz processor with 1GB or more of RAM to offer amazing processing capabilities to the smartphone.

Many reports said that the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology would be featured in the upcoming Apple phone. According to Insane Planet, the NFC technology on the iPhone 5 is becoming a huge possibility. The report cited a Patently Apple post regarding an Apple patent application about iWallet and NFC, and said that Apple had granted a patent for iWallet to payments via NFC and diagrams passed from Apple to the Patent & Trademark Office in the US shows an iPhone which may possibly be the iPhone 5.

The idea of the iWallet is to let individuals buy things by merely using their iPhone 5 or any other device of Apple. This means that the user does not need to bring a credit card to a store with NFC support, the report added.

An obvious question in many people's minds is - Will the battery finally be improved in the next iPhone? If Apple has learnt from the iPhone 4S battery drain disaster, yes, it's very likely to be. It's expected that iPhone 5 will have better battery life than the Li-Po 1420 mAh battery in iPhone 4S that gives up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM).

Since every new Apple device comes with an upgraded version of the company's mobile operating system, speculation is rife that an update to iOS 6.0 is possible by the time of the iPhone 5 release later this year.

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