Oh Barry Fox, does a week ever go by when you don't find a great patent or two? Today the intrepid Mr. Fox manages to dig up an application by consumer-darling Apple for an LCD display embedded with thousands of microscopic image sensors that would allow users to video-conference while looking straight into the "camera." Data accumulated by the individual sensors would be stitched into actual images using special software, which will probably be bundled into future versions of iLife. Since the patent specifies almost as many sensors per screen as there are pixels, some of those sensors could have different focal lengths, with a defacto zoom lens created by switching between them. Apple goes on to suggest portable uses for the technology, such as employing the displays in cellphones and PDAs, so you can add another item to the list of features we'll be expecting from the iPhone and Newton 2.0 when they finally hit stores.

[Via New Scientist]