An Apple patent filed back in 2011 describes a new system that could allow future iPhones to gain the ability of triggering the flashes of multiple mobile devices at the same time.
Professional photographers own multiple flash guns. They can also purchase accessories that allow them to link the flashes through wireless systems, so that they will be triggered at the same time for better lighting.
Apple files patent for “Illumination System”, allowing iOS devices to control the flashes of other iOS devices
However, such a system is not yet available on mobile devices. The first reason that comes to mind consists of security concerns. The system might prove to be just a security disaster in disguise, but Apple seems to have found the perfect formula.
iPhone users will be able to control the flashes of other smartphones or tablets. As it is very unlikely that Apple will share the functionality with its competitors, the system will presumably be available only for iOS gadgets.
Next iPhone could start a “master-slave relationship” with other iPhones
The patent description says that it will be very easy to initiate “a master-slave relationship” between the device which takes the picture and the other devices which will be used as strobe lights.
The system has been described as a “social camera flash”, thus opening up the possibility of a new kind of social networking.
It is believed that the technology would be ideal for smartphones or mobile devices in general, since their predominant LED flashes are too weak compared to the ones found in digital cameras.
This could well be the answer to all your smartphone lighting problems
Some mobile phones have Xenon flashes, which are a whole lot better than dual-LED, per example. Unfortunately, they are not enough in most cases. This is why the combined forces of multiple strobe lights will provide significantly better lighting.
This technology could be useful even for amateur photographers who do not have enough money to buy a strobe lighting system. Damaged iPhones are a lot cheaper than many professional flash guns and they only need to boot and to allow the master to input the settings.
Anyway, it is too early to think about the implications, so we are going to have to wait and see what the next iPhone will bring to the market.