Apple Reveals New Game-Changing FaceTime Features


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Apple has revealed a raft of new technologies designed to take FaceTime calls to the next level, incorporating new concepts such as multi-camera setups, in-air hand gestures and vibrating input devices.

The list of new technologies is detailed in a huge new patent application, spanning 256 pages, that presents multiple upgrades to Apple’s popular video-calling system including (among many others):

  • Multiple camera setups that can capture documents and objects on the users’ desks at the same time as, or instead of their faces. This could be used, for example, to display on screen something a user is drawing on a physical notepad in front of them, similar to the Desk View mode in Apple’s Continuity Camera feature.
  • Gesture recognition, allowing the users to perform tasks such as zooming and panning or switching between cameras by making familiar hand gestures such as ‘pinch-to-zoom’ in front of the camera.
  • Smart software is used to automatically keep the right objects centered on screen and will cut down on the need for user interactions by performing functions automatically as needed.
  • Physical input devices and touchscreen displays featuring pressure-sensitive input (the return of 3D Touch?) and enhanced haptic feedback that uses subtle vibrations to ‘trick’ users into feeling physical button presses and changes in surface roughness as they navigate on-screen controls.
  • Apple also expects these technologies to result in Improved power efficiency and battery life by cutting down on unnecessary keystrokes and time wasted in operating ‘cumbersome’ traditional interfaces.

The sheer scope of the patent filing reveals Apple’s intent to push FaceTime into new areas, with a particular emphasis on remote working, teleconferencing, and education scenarios. However, if these new features turn out to be as easy to use as Apple suggests, I’m sure many of them will work their way into regular FaceTime chats with your family too.

Of course, the one major…