A newly-published Apple patent application may back rumors that Apple is planning to add optical image stabilization to the iPhone 6. The filing describes a camera with both OIS and autofocus features, compressed into a module small enough to fit into a smartphone or tablet. In Apple's implementation, OIS functions would be integrated into the voice coil motor actuators used for autofocus.
The published patent was officially filed in October of 2012, but based on a provisional application submitted a few months earlier, in July. Apple credits a single inventor, Richard Topliss, who joined Apple as a senior camera technology specialist in January of that year. Prior to that, he served for more than a decade as the chief technical officer for Cambridge Mechatronics in the UK; the firm develops OIS actuators for phones.
Optical image stabilization is a relatively new feature in smartphones, found in products like the Nexus 5 and the Lumia 1020. The technology reduces blur in action shots or scenes with low lighting. Until recently it has been a challenge to implement in mobile devices, since it depends on mechanisms that can't easily be shrunk down without a noticeable exterior "bump."