In this illustration in the patent application, the concept is shown on a laptop but the dual-sensor camera design could help build thinner smartphones, too.

Having two distinct sensors in one camera appears to be the flavor of the week. HTC just launched the One M8, the first smartphone to feature a dual-sensor camera. At the same time Apple Insider spotted an Apple patent application that was published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application is titled: "Electronic device with two image sensors."

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It describes a camera design that uses two sensors, one for capturing color and the other for capturing luminance, or brightness information. The final image is then created by combining the captured values of both sensors. The idea is that each sensor module on its own can be thinner than a combination of the two, allowing for the design of slimmer device bodies.

According to Apple Insider, Apple also says splitting luminance and color capture between two sensors improves the signal-to-noise ratio and eliminates color reproduction issues caused by optical filters. There might be cost advantages in production, too. 

Via: Apple Insider