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New Apple iPhone patent: could the handset become an underwater camera king?

Apple has filed a new patent that looks to bolster the underwater shooting capabilities of the iPhone.

Underwater photography is something of a sea change for Apple (sorry). But, if the patent becomes reality, it will be the latest in a long line of improvements the company has been making to the iPhone's camera.

The iPhone XS had a number of camera improvements that showed Apple's handset capable of being a dedicated camera. 

Its bokeh effect, dedication to manual control and some fantastic portrait features certainly puts the phone up there in our best camera phone guide, with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Google Pixel 3

A push into underwater photography is an interesting one, though, and not really something anyone else is currently doing. 

The patent is titled: Submersible Electronic Devices With Imaging Capabilities, which we're sure is also the name of a band we once saw in Shoreditch. 

Water, logged

The patent is all about optimising for underwater photography, with the phone detecting when it is submerged and the shutter is pressed. 

When this happens, there's a number of things the camera and its sensor does: gathers light information,  depth information, detect murkiness, figure out how far objects are and adjust the illumination, filter etc accordingly. 

If you squint and turn your head upside down, that is an iPhone underwater, probably. (credit: Apple)

If you squint and turn your head upside down, that is an iPhone underwater, probably. (credit: Apple)

The obvious caveats are in place for patents such as this: it's only a patent, the tech may never come to light, it's pure speculation that this will come to future iPhones...

But just knowing Apple is interesting in improving underwater photography is an exciting thing - let's just hope it's prepping bigger and better IP ratings at the same time.

Via Apple Insider

Marc Chacksfield

A technology journalist who has been in the industry for 17 years, Marc is the former editor-in-chief of TechRadar and has also steered the ship for technology brands including T3, Tom's Hardware and Tom's Guide, and is currently the director of Shortlist Media and co-owner of Shortlist.com. 


An expert in the field of camera phones and mobile tech, Marc has been a long-time specialist when it comes to phone reviews, hands-on coverage, reviews and rumors. As a frequent visitor to big trade shows like CES, he has also had boots on the ground for the latest camera announcements and breaking developments in fields such as 8K video.