We heard a report in November that Apple was testing an iPhone 7 model with dual rear cameras, and a patent application published today not only confirms that Apple is indeed exploring the idea, but reveals some extremely exciting possibilities with such a setup.

The most basic of these, noted by Patently Apple, is effectively optical zoom. By fitting two separate camera modules behind the lens, and creating a single lens with both standard and telephoto sections, you’d be able to switch between two different focal lengths. For the first time, you’d be able to take a zoomed-in photo without cropping away pixels to end up with a lower-resolution image.

But the possible applications described in the patent go way beyond this …

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