Apple patents off camera flash using smartphones

Could the next iPhone see the popular photography technique arrive?

Could the next iPhone see the popular photography technique arrive?

Apple has filed a patent that would allow iOS devices to be used as off-camera flashes.

The technique is popular in photography and is often used to better fill a room with light, or for more creative purposes.

It is also expensive, with flash guns often costing £200 even for a basic model.

This is the first time a company has proposed using the flashes found on mobile phones to do a similar job.

Apple's patent has been filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The description calls it an "illumination system".

The patent itself describes "a method for capturing an image with an image capture device, such as a camera or mobile electronic device".

It goes on to describe how a relationship between the camera or iPhone and a secondary device would be initiated. The patent even describes the ability to test the scene to work out which is the right intensity or whether devices should be moved.

The patent is credited to Richard L. Baer, Apple's engineering manager. It was first filed in November 2011. The patent was recently discovered by AppleInsider.

Recent figures showed that standalone camera sales are falling. Analysts have put this down to the rise of quality and quantity of smartphone cameras.

Ben Furfie is a former freelance writer for who produced daily news stories for the site on tech and gadgets. He also live-managed the T3 Award websites during the 2013 and 2014 T3 Awards. Ben later moved into web development and is now a Technical Development Manager leading a team of developers.