Apple is granted a patent for ‘zooming to faces depicted in images’

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,715,751) for “zooming to faces depicted in images.” It seems to be designed to improve the zooming and facial recognition of features in the Photos app for macOS and iOS.

The patent involves methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, are described for zooming into a portion of an image that is associated with a specified feature — for example, a portion of an image that depicts a human or an animal face. A user of a digital image viewer app such as Photos can provide manual input requesting the image viewer to zoom into an image displayed in a viewing region. For example, the user can provide the input by placing a cursor at a desired location of the image or by touching the desired location of the image. Upon receiving this type of location specific input from the user, the viewer application can zoom into the location of the image where input was provided by the user. 

In this manner, if the user then wants to zoom into other desired locations either on the same image or on other images that are concurrently displayed in the viewer, the user typically provides additional inputs at the other desired locations, respectively, in a sequential manner. 

As another example, the user can provide an input to zoom into multiple images displayed in the viewing region via a user interface control associated with Photos — e.g. a menu item, a control button, and the like. Upon receiving such input from the user, the app zooms into the center of the multiple images, respectively. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.