Summary:

Apple’s new patent shows how the company can used pre-recorded or doctored images to make up for dropped frames in FaceTime calls.

Have you ever had a call over FaceTime when your network connection takes a hit and the person you’re talking with suddenly turns into a glitchy, pixelated mess? Apple is looking into a way to fix that, according to a patent published on Thursday and spotted by AppleInsider.

The patent – Video transmission using content-based frame search – describes how Apple can use pre-recorded or doctored images to account for dropped frames during a low-bandwith FaceTime call. It can do this by using the information from previously recorded frames, breaking down information in those images – like facial features, orientation and scale – into data points that may later be called upon when your connection suffers.

In addition to this, the patent describes a way of transmitting content in the background of a call at a lower resolution that the person you’re talking to.

If Apple can implement this technology into FaceTime, it would have a number of benefits. For one thing, pre-recorded images and a lower background resolution would dramatically reduce the overall data usage of the call, which is important across a capped connection. It would also mean the call is less likely to drop out in the first place, since less data is being transmitted.

Given that this technology is only in the patent stage, it isn’t known whether Apple will bring it to FaceTime at some point in the future. But with video calls becoming an increasingly popular form of communication, it could give Apple a real leg up on the competition.

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