The camera would be able to operate in a lower-resolution mode that offers refocusing capability or in a high resolution mode that doesn't offer refocusing.
A digital camera system configurable to operate in a low-resolution refocusable mode and a high-resolution non-refocusable mode comprising: a camera body; an image sensor mounted in the camera body having a plurality of sensor pixels for capturing a digital image; an imaging lens for forming an image of a scene onto an image plane, the imaging lens having an aperture; and an adaptor that can be inserted between the imaging lens and the image sensor to provide the low-resolution refocusable mode and can be removed to provide the high-resolution non-refocusable mode, the adaptor including a microlens array with a plurality of microlenses; wherein when the adaptor is inserted to provide the low-resolution refocusable mode, the microlens array is positioned between the imaging lens and the image sensor.
Apple cites the Lytro camera in its patent as prior art but notes that its microlens array can product higher quality images due to its higher spatial resolution.
Notably, during his final months, Steve Jobs met with Lytro CEO Ren Ng to discuss the company's camera technology, according to the Inside Apple book by Adam Lashinsky. Also interesting, Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.com, claimed last year that Apple was working on a standalone camera - the third of three industries Jobs wanted to change.
The patent describes the camera as preferably being a portable battery operated device, small enough to be easily handheld by a user when capturing and reviewing images. It's thought that Apple could be looking to implement this type of technology in the iPhone letting users refocus their images after they've been taken.
More details at the link below...
Read More [via MacRumors]