That age-old question of "Which smartphone photo do I look least horrible in?" could be a thing of the past thanks to a patent recently filed by Apple.
The redundantly named patent, "Image capture device having continuous image capture," calls for storing a predetermined series of photos and leaving it up to the phone to pick the best one.
"The method automatically selects one of the buffered images based on one or more parameters," reads the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing made in October 2012.
The patent mentions that its processing logic uses exposure time, resolution, contrast, dynamic range, and color rendering properties to compare and determine the best photo.
There's no indication that this would weed out photos with the much-maligned red eye side effect or eliminate shots in which someone has their eyes closed at the most inopportune time.
Manual controls still an option
The "focus score," illustrated in Apple's picture-taking patent, wouldn't be the only method of determining a picture-perfect Kodak moment.
"In an alternative embodiment, the processing logic automatically chronologically displays the sequence of images after receiving a user input to take a photograph," reads the patent.
"The user can then select which of the sequence of images is most desired by the user (e.g., highest image quality, correct subject, etc.)."
There are several apps in the App Store, like Paparazzi, that take multiple photos in a sequence, so this portion of the patent isn't very novel.
Pinning hopes on 'prioritized'
More appealing is the patent's solution that fits in between the automatic and manual modes.
The processing logic would display the photo sequence in a prioritized order based on what the camera app thought, and leave it up to the user to make the selection.
This final method of having the phone only prioritize the images seems like a happy medium.
Of course, all of this depends on if the app technology makes its way into future devices like the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6. With this patent filed, that's up to Apple now.