Apple Patent Shows iOS Devices Being Used as External Slave Flashes


A rather interesting submission by Apple to the United States Patent and Trademark office shows potential plans for a synchronized flash system by connecting iOS devices, which will allow a primary camera to snap an image of a subject whilst being lit by another iPhone, as an example.

Apple 'Illumination System' Patent Submission

Described as a “master-slave relationship”, the connection would likely be made via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Following that, a master device would capture a test image to measure proper exposure using another iOS device’s flash unit to effectively light the subject.

From there, well, the possibilities for on-the-go photo shoots are endless. There’s incredible potential to make beautifully-lit (or at least one would hope) imagery on a whim using ubiquitous mobile devices with this idea.

Of course, it should be noted once again that this is only a patent submission. It is, in no way, indicative that this will ever make it to a final Apple product – though the thought of it would be nice!

(via USPTO via AppleInsider)

Image credit: Photo illustration based on Shooting Movie by jonas maaloe

  • T. Levitt

    Apple has begun developing weapons. Those are clearly lightning bolts being shot from iPhones.

  • Fullstop

    Couldn’t you just turn on the light on the other iphone via an app and snap the photo with the iphone that you’re using as a camera? What is the need to sync as the light intensity isn’t any different whether it’s continuous or burst?

  • scaredofapple

    First step to making a full function apple camera? Starting with the external flashes?

  • 9inchnail

    “Damn, I don’t have the money to buy three flashes… why not buy 3 iPhones instead?”

    Hipster photographer logic

  • Ryan Oliver

    I’ve used the iPhone’s LED light for artist effect using an OM-D in completely dark environments with good results in the past. And I could see it being used as an emergency light source if you had nothing better available in some cases; maybe also as a focus or fill light combined with a flash. But that said, I don’t know why you would bother with flash sync. There’s a bunch of free apps that will let keep the LED turned on as long as you want