Video conferencing coming to next-gen iPhone?

Information Week is reporting that, if one of Apple's latest patents are to be believed, video conferencing could very well be coming to the iPhone.

Not only is Apple planning video conferencing, but video recording also, one of the features currently lacked that has raised many questions by consumers, when comparing Apple's product to other smartphones. Video conferencing would be an extremely welcome feature, and could certainly change the game for the iPhone, already a very popular device.

Information week claims that Apple doesn't just plan to provide a simple video recording application, but "it intends to turn the iPhone into a handheld video conferencing device" but notes that Apple may be waiting until "a more robust build-out of nationwide 3G network capabilities" until launching the rumored next-gen iPhone.

Apple has thought through some flaws, which also builds-up reasoning to launch a new iPhone, and that is that the current iPhone has a backwards facing lens, with a front facing screen. This, while being normal for a video recording application, would not work well in a video conferencing manner, however this excerpt from the patent addresses this:

"In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the back of the device, opposite the touch screen display on the front of the device, so that the touch screen display may be used as a viewfinder for either still and/or video image acquisition. In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user's image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display. In some embodiments, the position of the optical sensor can be changed by the user (e.g., by rotating the lens and the sensor in the device housing) so that a single optical sensor may be used along with the touch screen display for both video conferencing and still and/or video image acquisition."

There are still no details on exactly when, or even if, Apple will launch a new iPhone, but it's certainly expected. What other features would you like to see in a next-gen iPhone?

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